Max Payne 3, Video Game Review

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I’m a little late to this game. But after finally finishing it, I wish I would have bought this when it was first released. The story is all there: Gangs, Corrupt Police, Organ Harvesters, Max dealing out punishment and trying to survive. Rockstar created another memorable game.

Somewhere mid-game I had an epiphany: Was I really playing an ex-cop bodyguard for some super rich Brazilian family? Or a serial killer? I’m pretty sure throughout my gameplay in Sao Paulo I murdered half the country. Enemies just keep coming wave after wave. But it’s the cut scenes and story lines that set this game apart.

Max Payne is back again in this third entry. This time in the bright city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has been contracted to be a bodyguard for the Branco family. Older brother Rodrigo, a real estate mogul; middle brother Victor, the politician; and then there is Marcelo, the youngest. Rodrigo’s wife, Fabiana, is the catalyst that takes his bodyguard role from being just a drunk to full on mass murderer after she is kidnapped, setting off a huge chain of events and the beginning of an awesome story.

This game’s location is a break from the dark streets of New York, but if you’re looking for that, it does reappear. The occasional back story transports us back to the Big Apple to show how we made our way here. After looking at constant shanty towns and night clubs, it was a bit of fresh air to be in a snowy graveyard in New York battling the Mob. In the back story, Max was drunk and minding his own business in some dive bar in New York, when in comes the son of Anthony DeMarco; a powerful crime boss with an apparently endless supply of hoodlums at his disposal. A simple conflict escalates into a shootout with them and in comes Passos to the rescue. After taking down the entire mob, he convinces Max to come help in Brazil. 2,000 people shot down in a graveyard would make me want to flee the country as well.

The game play is slightly repetitive. Always look for cover, pop out to shoot then duck back in before you get shot. Once you find the right ratio, it becomes pretty easy. The only real strategy comes at the end when battling the 2 cop bosses, but even then it’s rinse and repeat. I found myself just blazing through the game to get to the next cut scene … I almost put it on easy just to get there quicker, but a game with no challenge is just a movie.

The visuals were impressive, but only in 720P. I long for a game of this scope to be in 1080P. From the nightclubs to the shanty towns and back to the US in the graveyards and clubs of New York. Everything had its own vibe and feeling. This wasn’t your normal Max Payne where the world is dark; this movie popped with color. Especially his hideous tropical shirt.
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At one point I thought about how hopeless it is to be Max Payne. Nothing in the first 75 percent of the game goes his way. He continues to fail at being a bodyguard, with all the family members falling, one by one. He has few people to help him. There is Passos, his partner, who shouldn’t be trusted. And he meets the only good cop in the entire city, De Silva. This man keeps feeding Max info and pointing him in the right direction towards his goal or death. A goal which starts as protecting the family and ends with full-on vengeance.

The cops and enemies have bullet proof vests, Max has pills. Every time you get shot down to no health, the pills (gathered throughout the levels) kick in, giving a bullet time slowdown effect to kill the person who killed you so that you can get a reprieve and pop back up again. This effect is cool but sometimes when I got shot my gun I would be facing the other way so there was no chance I could kill the enemy, which had me throwing the controller because I was stocked up with pills and couldn’t use them. I also went so far into the game before realizing I had a bullet time counter where I could slow down time and get those accurate head shots. I probably would have beat this game last week had I known that. But then again, I haven’t played Max Payne since the first one debuted on the computer back in 2001.

This game was awesome, although I wouldn’t play this around kids. Plenty of nudity, I even walked into a brothel and saw some craziness I have never seen in a game. Also, there are plenty of graphic death shots. I’m not a kid, I’m 34, so I was digging the vibe. A friend of mine once said he has a rating system for movies. He didn’t care about substance, he had a 3 star rating: if it had Guns, Nudity and Car Chases it was an awesome movie. Well this is a game with all 3 and an awesome story to follow along.

Luckily, folks, this game has been out for a while so it can be picked up on the cheap side. I would have spent the $59.99 on this game if I would have known it was this good. Check it out, the story is engaging and well scripted. Now I’m going back to DMC3, which I stopped playing once the story line in this game hooked me… An addiction not unlike Max and his pills.

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