Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android

Max Payne 3  

Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more

11:00 AM on 10.06.2011
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo

This year is just ridiculous. There have been so many huge titles released in 2011 already and there are still many more on the way. I have a hard time trying to keep track of all them so you'll forgive me if I haven't really given much thought to the games of 2012.

That was until last week, when I got to see Max Payne 3 in action. As a fan of the series, I can easily say that fans have nothing to worry about when it comes to the next chapter in Max's troubled life.

Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360 [Previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)
Developer: Rockstar Vancouver
Publisher: Rockstar Games
To be released: March 2012

I'm first shown an early level, where I witness an older, more cynical, and distraught Max who is visibly haunted by the events of the first two Max Payne games. Otherwise, he looks like the Max you more or less remember (a head full of hair with a really bad taste in ties.) Several years have passed since the events of the last game and Max pretty much has nothing to live for. He's just waiting for that bullet to the brain to end it all while abusing alcohol and painkillers.

Lucky for him, an old acquaintance from the police academy days, Raul Passos, offers him another chance: a job in the thriving field of executive security protection in Brazil. High-profile Brazilians are easy targets for kidnapping and being a bodyguard is a perfect job for an ex-cop like Max.

Max doesn't have much time to think the proposal over, as Anthony DeMarco pays a visit to Max's apartment in New Jersey. Max had just killed Anthony's only son prior to meeting with Raul, and the prominent mobster has brought his whole crew with him to get revenge.

The game then seamlessly switches from cutscene to gameplay as Max and Raul try to escape the apartment with their lives. Some gangsters are already in the corridor on Max's floor, but they don't stand much of a chance as Max's bullet-time kicks in. The Max Payne series started the whole bullet-time craze and it wouldn't be a Max Payne game without it. I genuinely felt a wave of nostalgia when I first saw Max do his signature slow-motion dive while shooting off his gun.

Speaking of the slow-mo dive, I thought it was pretty cool when Rockstar demonstrated that Max can remain prone on the ground after a dive. In fact, you can roll Max onto his side or even on his belly. Aiming your weapons will be pretty fluid as you move your gun's reticule all around no matter what your stance is. Rockstar promises that there will be multiple aiming methods to choose from to please different play styles -- everything from complete free aim to some form of target locking.

As Max rounds a corner, a cutscene begins in which we witness a mobster knock Max onto the ground and point a shotgun at our hero. Before he can pull the trigger, the mobster is gunned down by a crazy hobo who bursts out of his apartment. The Max Payne games have always had elements of the surreal, and this one won't be any different. The hobo starts talking crazy hobo speak as he goes off to take on more mobsters down the hallway. Max gives chase and peeks around the corner to witness the hobo on his knees and surrounded by three mobsters. The hobo continues on with his crazy talk and finishes his sermon by uttering the phrase "cleanse in fire!" and detonates the bomb that was strapped around his waist.

From here, Rockstar guides Max into the hobo's apartment, where he finds a bottle of painkillers. Max Payne 3 doesn't use the regenerative health system that has become standard in games today, so you will need to find painkillers to fix yourself up. The bottom right of the screen shows a silhouette of Max that fills up with blood to show how much damage you've taken. You will also see a number within the silhouette to indicate how many bottles of painkillers you have. To the right of that is a meter that shows how much bullet-time you have and below that you will see how much ammo you have for your guns.

Max can carry up to three weapons at a time, one slot reserved for a two-handed weapon (like a rifle) and the other two slots reserved for single-handed weapons. You can dual-wield single-handed weapons (for instance, a pistol and a submachine gun). Max also has contextual melee attacks, so if you're up close to an enemy and pull the trigger, Max will perform an automatic melee kill.

This section of the demo ends with Max exchanging fire through the windows of a hallway with gangsters on a roof across the street. Here I see both the cover mechanics in play and get a small taste of the game's destructibility. First off, don't worry about the game turning into some sort of cover-focused shooter. While you can shoot using cover by poking your head out or blind-firing, the focus is still on the run-and-gun mentality you would expect from Max Payne. Plus, the destructibility will prevent you from any sort of cover abuse -- cover will get torn to shreds as more and more bullets are laid into it.

Max finally makes his way to the roof and ends the first part of the demo. Rockstar then takes me into a later part of the game where Max is in Brazil. Max has obviously taken the job offer from Raul and the pair work together to protect the Brancos, a wealthy Brazilian family with strong political and social ties to the city of São Paulo.

For the demo, we're taken deeper into the game where a now bald-headed Max is on the run from a right-wing military group hunting him and Raul's girlfriend, Giovanna, somewhere in São Paulo. The scene is first setup to the player in classic Max Payne noir fashion, but with a modern-day twist. As Max gives his monologue, we witness multiple camera angles displayed on the screen in the same way you would see it on an episode of 24.

While watching this in-game cutscene, I couldn't help but have goosebumps as I heard James McCaffrey lend his voice once again to the iconic character. Not only has James returned as the voice, but Rockstar felt James would be the perfect body actor and he did full motion-capture work for Max. In fact, all the characters in Max Payne 3 feature full-motion body capture. Hundreds of hours were spent in order to bring life-like characters to the game.

Sets were even built to scale in order to capture the in-game environments. So when you see Max and Giovanna in the next scene climb over some barricades into a bus depot in order to hide from the pursuing gang, you know that the motion-capture actors actually climbed over that obstacle in real life. Advancements to NaturalMotion's Euphoria and the RAGE engines have given us some of the most detailed and realistic characters in a Rockstar game to date.

Max and Giovanna are catching their breath in a broken-down bus, but it doesn't take long for a few of the gang members to start searching the area. The pair can hide within the bus, but eventually the gang will flush them out as they patrol the area. Enemies aren't just brainless idiots and will use a variety of methods in order to take out Max. They can fire behind cover, use flanking tactics and so on. I really like the fact that you can't understand what the enemies are saying -- unless, of course, you speak Portuguese. As Max is a foreigner who doesn't speak Portuguese, there won't be any subtitles for the players when the language is spoken.

So Max takes care of the situation the only way he knows how. Once there's only one guy left, the end of each of these encounters is marked by the camera switching to a slow-mo killcam perspective, which follows your bullets as they finish off the last guy. You have control over how fast or slow these killcams go, which is nice as I'm sure this will get old fast.

Each of these encounters, based on what I've seen at least, seems to be a pretty self-contained struggle. Once you've taken out the varying number of enemies in each encounter, a cutscene takes place moving the story forward before the next section's firefight. If there's one thing I can see that will bother players, it will be the constant switches from cutscene to gameplay.

Personally, I didn't mind the regular breaks; I want to see the story, since that's what is most important to me in a videogame. At the very least, the switch from cutscene to gameplay is pretty seamless and natural and won't pull you out of the immersion too much. There was even a moment where I thought I was still witnessing a cutscene only to realize it was actual gameplay happening on the screen. It also helps that there are no load times from the start to finish of the game.

Watching Max and Giovanna work together in the cutscenes reminded me a lot of the relationship between Monkey and Trip from Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Max would help Giovanna get through a fence or climb through a window in order to open up the pathway for Max. At the same time, Max would have to protect Giovanna in the gameplay sections. Don't worry, you won't be stuck doing any sort of babysitting duties. For the most part, Giovanna hangs back while you clear a room and there were just a few moments where Max had to come to her rescue.

Finally, the demo comes to an end with Max and Giovanna stealing a bus. While Giovanna struggles to drive the bus away from the gangs, the player is left to focus on shooting at the enemies. After several minutes, Giovanna loses control of the bus and plows into a building. The two survive and make a run for it just before the screen turns to black, ending the demo. 

The only real concern I have at this point is in regards to the multiplayer. Rockstar wasn't ready to talk specifics, but they did at least state that they feel that the multiplayer "will fit alongside" the single-player. As history has proved, multiplayer modes that have been added to a series known predominantly for its single-player have often failed. However, the multiplayer in Red Dead Redemption was pretty well-received so there's a chance we can see something good from Rockstar.

Otherwise, I am so floored that Rockstar has been able to stay true to the fundamentals of what makes Max, Max. Rockstar even has the full blessings of Remedy, the original developers of the Max Payne series. Max Payne 3 is looking like one of the biggest games of 2012.

Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo
Max Payne 3 is everything I hoped for and more photo

Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*]   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.

timeline following:
Max Payne 3

6:00 PM on 05.02.2014
Plenty of great games for $5 during the PlayStation Store Flash Sale

Looking for a new game to play well into the weekend while I hit up Chicago for the Queens of the Stone Age show? You are? Boy, do I have a sale for you! Hit up the PlayStation Store this weekend early for some sweet deals, i...more

12:00 PM on 07.30.2013
See how GTA V's combat is similar to Max Payne 3

YouTube user datarace1 took some of the gameplay footage from the last Grand Theft Auto V video and compared the combat mechanics against Max Payne 3. There's a lot of similarities, which isn't really surprising as there's a lot of elements from past Rockstar games all implemented in different ways here. Ultimately, this is good news for those that never liked GTA's combat in the past.more

6:30 PM on 06.21.2013
Bringing the Payne! Max Payne 3 now graces Mac

One of my favorite games of last year was the exceptionally-crafted Max Payne 3. From its dark and moody story to the pulse-pounding action moments, it all combined to create one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences from ...more

4:45 PM on 02.14.2013
Greenmangaming offers dirt cheap Max Payne 3

Max Payne has hit rock bottom. Now, so has the price for his latest game! Greenmangaming is offering a 48 hour sale on the PC version of Max Payne 3 which ought to turn a few heads. Using a coupon code (GMG20-P4DLK-...more

6:00 PM on 01.31.2013
Impressions: Max Payne 3's Deathmatch Made in Heaven DLC

Rockstar has released the newest -- and last -- downloadable content pack for Max Payne 3, Deathmatch Made in Heaven. The DLC contains a new co-op mode, weapons, items, three additional multiplayer modes, and a single-pl...more

8:00 PM on 01.21.2013
Max Payne 3's 'Deathmatch Made in Heaven' out tomorrow

Deathmatch Made in Heaven, Max Payne 3's final piece of downloadable content, will launch tomorrow in North America -- marking the fulfillment of the DLC schedule that Rockstar laid out several months ago. As w...more

3:00 AM on 01.11.2013
Health details how they made the Max Payne 3 soundtrack

The Creators Project sat down with band Health to talk about how they made the woderful score to Max Payne 3. The band details what they did to create the score, including watching early video captures Rockstar would send th...more

1:00 PM on 11.27.2012
Max Payne 3 patch addresses multiplayer issues

Fresh off the announcement of the Painful Memories DLC, Rockstar has just pushed a patch that will fix a number of multiplayer issues with the game; most notably the fact that some people would get stuck in cover, or turn inv...more

3:30 PM on 11.26.2012
Max Payne 3 'Painful Memories' DLC out December 4

Rockstar has announced the release date of the next batch of content for Max Payne 3, a new multiplayer pack called, Painful Memories. Included in the pack are four multiplayer maps, "Marty's Bar," "Canal De Panamá," "...more

2:30 PM on 10.18.2012
Max Payne 3's 'Hostage Negotiation' pack teased some more

Originally scheduled to launch in September, Rockstar had Max Payne 3's Hostage Negotiation Pack pushed back to sometime "later this fall." Sure, some of us were a bit upset but I was too distracted with the free we...more


7:00 PM on 03.24.2015
Uh, maybe don't walk toward that ominous light in The Evil Within

The next DLC episode of The Evil Within, The Consequence, picks up on April 21, 2015. Like The Assignment before it, Bethesda is starting us off with an extra brief teaser trailer. Somehow, the delivery of the sorta-out-of-c...more

4:00 PM on 03.24.2015
Senran Kagura brings exploding clothes to Dead or Alive 5: Last Round

Senran Kagura and Dead or Alive have started a new life together with costumes that, well... they explode. What else did you expect? This relationship between the two properties -- which is purely platonic -- has spawned 16 ...more

1:00 PM on 03.24.2015
The Talos Principle bringing more deep thoughts with Road to Gehenna expansion

Players who took the time to really explore The Talos Principle might recognize the name Uriel. Though the base game is seen through the eyes of a particular simulation participant, evidence of others exists in the form of QR...more

View all DLC

Back to Top

All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more