Review: ‘Max Payne 3′ – Part Video Game, Part Action Movie, All Amazing

Is Max Payne 3 a video game or a feature film? Sure, Rockstar Games’ latest gem has all of the requisites of an action/adventure title:  the rugged hero, guns and oodles of brutal, gratuitous violence. But for all intents and purposes, it has the veneer of a Michael Mann-directed crime flick with all the beautifully choreographed action of a Michael Bay product. Think Heat meets Bad Boys 2 and you’ve got yourself one heck of a game to play through.

Max Payne 3 (“MP3”) is, of course, the third game in the movie-spawning franchise (there’s some irony here that the game does a much better job theatrically than the Mark Wahlberg flick). It’s been 10 years since Max Payne 2 hit consoles and this game is appropriately set about a decade after the story of its predecessor. Our titular character is more cynical and world-weary than ever. You can probably tell by the game’s cover that he’s traded the dull and bleak backdrop of New York City for a more tropical location: São Paulo, Brazil. But Max isn’t vacationing; he’s on protection detail for a rich family that is the target of kidnappers.

Even though MP3 thinks story first, game second, gamers new to the franchise need to know nothing more about Max Payne than the fact that he is a self-destructing former detective who has an infinite tolerance for alcohol and robot-like accuracy when it comes to hitting a target with a gun (or two).

Most important is that, underneath the new slick settings, MP3 stays true to the franchise’s core gameplay. This means fun, fast-paced third-person shooting with its alluring shtick of Bullet Time. Newcomers will be in awe of this slow-motion feature, which allows Max to aim in real time while all his enemies move at a fraction of his pace. The game largely consists of endless swarms of armed thugs that Max will have to take out one by one. But Bullet Time must be used sparingly, as its meter only fills up as you take on new levels and kill bad guys.

Since Max is all about the guns, how robust is his arsenal? Weapon selection is definitely not the game’s strong suit; in most cases any gun with get the job done (excluding a few sequences where sniping is essential). Some of the weapons you’d think would be a bit precise (like the flashlight gun and the laser scope) turn out to spray wildly at times.

It’s also worth noting that the game is decidedly linear, unlike many titles in Rockstar’s suite of popular sandbox games. The narrative puts Max in some beautifully rendered environments, but there’s very little exploring outside of the current objective at hand (save the achievement-generating collection of golden gun parts). Depending on your appetite for exploration, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Again, the game’s story is a nicely polished affair and you’ll want to blaze through the bad guys so that you can see what happens next.

The mayhem only pauses for story-advancing cut-scenes, which, due to their frequency and variable length, may test a gamer’s patience. Some scenes will be seconds while others could be several minutes in length. It’s a curious choice as the game frequently takes away control from the gamer (some of these scenes can’t be skipped). Many will appreciate beauty of these scenes and the unfolding of this slightly complex story while others will be twiddling their thumbs waiting for the action to start back up again. This is nothing new; the first games employed a similar narrative strategy, though MP3 trades its predecessor’s comic book panel style cut-scenes for the aforementioned cinematic approach.  And due to the preponderance of these slick vignettes, the Xbox 360 version spans two discs to accommodate the extra storage required.

Max Payne is also rated “M” for mature for a reason. The amount of bloodshed in this is of Rambo proportions. To further glorify the gore, the game triggers a Bullet Cam when you shoot the last enemy in the room. This means that you see the bullet travel from the barrel of your gun straight to its destination. Once it gets there, it rips through flesh, spraying blood everywhere. You can even slow this view down and pump more bullets into your foe in sadistic fashion.

Depending on your choice of difficulty setting, the game won’t take terribly long to make your way through (8-12 hours for a hardcore gamer and slightly longer for a guy with kids like me). The campaign does find some replay value in unlocking difficulty modes and the fun “New York Minute” mode, which puts a countdown on the time Max has to complete each board (you get more time for killing guys). There’s also a series of “grunts,” awards for killing bad guys in certain areas of their bodies or killing with certain guys or even using Bullet Time.

On the multiplayer side, MP3 is also a ton of gory fun. It reminds me of the arcade style of the SOCOM series, another third person shooter that has fun multiplayer combat. However, little nuances like Bullet time make this much more of a specialized experience.

The multiplayer mode has a lot of customization options, allowing the gamer to increase rank with experience and customize their player. It also allows you to jump into a slew of different rooms, from Team Deathmatch (just what it sounds like) or Gang Wars, which is more of an objective-style match using elements from the campaign mode. The objectives change as the outcome to each match is won.

Max Payne 3 is not to be played; it’s to be experienced. Rockstar took the core elements of this franchise and enhanced them for this generation of consoles. On top of that, they created a cinema-style production that is captivating for both its storytelling as well as its fun, albeit gory gameplay. This game is a must-play for newcomers and Payne-fans alike.

Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 - XBox 360
Genre: Action / Adventure
Platform: XBox 360 (Also available on PS3, PC)
Developer: Rockstar Studios
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: May 18, 2012

Rating:

9 / 10

Rockstar Games Reveals $90 Price Tag for Full Content on Max Payne 3

Just fifteen days before the release of Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games has announced seven downloadable content packs that will be released throughout the year.

Instead of buying each DLC pack separately, gamers can buy the Rockstar Pass for 2400 Microsoft Points or $29.99 on PSN. This effectively raises the total price of Max Payne 3 to $90 before its actual release. Typically, game companies plan for DLC but keep the news regarding the quantity and cost a secret until after the game is released. Rockstar has decided to jump the gun and reveal its full hand to gamers, letting everyone know that if they want complete access to Max Payne 3’s content roster for 2012, they will have to pay $90 up front (which includes the Rockstar Pass) or pay over $100 by buying each content pack separately.

Here’s the list of multiplayer packs announced for 2012.

June 2012
Local Justice Map Pack

Summer 2012
Disorganized Crime Map Pack
Deathmatch Made In Heaven Mode Pack
Hostage Negotiation Map Pack
New York Minute Co-Op Pack

Fall 2012
Painful Memories Map Pack
Trickle Down Economics Map Pack

At the least, you have to commend Rockstar for its brazen honesty. The veil of secrecy has been pulled back. DLC is planned and players will have to ante up if they want to get online. The days of the $59.99 game are already drawing to a close. If you don’t already expect to pay more than $59.99 for a single-player game with online multiplayer, you should start now.

Max Payne 3 PC Specs Released, Plus New Max Sneak-Attack Screens

Rockstar Games has just released the PC specs for Max Payne 3:

max payne 3

Operating System:
Windows 7 32/64 Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 32/64 Service Pack 2, Windows XP 32/64 Service Pack 3

Processor:
Intel Dual Core 2.4 GHZ – i7 3930K 6 Core x 3.06 GHZ / AMD Dual Core 2.6 GHZ – FX8150 8 Core x 3.6 GHZ

RAM:
2GB – 16GB

Video Card:
NVIDIA® 8600 GT 512MB VRAM – NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 680 2GB VRAM / Radeon HD 3400 512MB VRAM – Radeon HD 7970 3GB VRAM

Sound Card:
100% Direct X 9.0 compatible – Direct X 9.0 compatible supporting Dolby Digital Live

HDD Space:
35 GB

Also here are two additional screens. The first shows Max and Passos plotting a surprise attack and the second screen features Max getting ready to invade the Brazilian favelas.

max payne 3

max payne 3

Max Payne 3 – Wicked Bullet Time Featurette

Rockstar Games has just released a new Max Payne 3 gameplay trailer that’s more like a feature film mini-documentary, right down to the voice over.

While bullet time is nothing new, especially to the Max Payne world, this video lets you revel in 3-minutes worth of awesome slow motion kills. Bullet time replenishes based on risks you take, level of skill and the precision of shots. The video also shows off Max’s ability to shoot dodge, which expands his range of movement and makes him one of the best human weapons in South America.

Check out the latest gameplay trailer below for a wicked in-depth look at Max Payne bullet time:

Max Payne 3 will be available on May 15, 2012.

Max Payne 3 on PC

Max Payne 3 on Xbox 360

Max Payne 3 on PS3

‘Max Payne 3′ is Looking Sweeter and Sweeter

Now that Mass Effect 3 is out, the AAA gaming season is officially underway. And, one of the next big titles to look out for is Rockstar Games upcoming May release (this company loves dominating May, whether it be Red Dead Redemption in 2010 or LA Noire in 2011), Max Payne 3.

It’s difficult to get excited for a game when a company releases box art, but in the case of Max Payne, we can give him a little leeway. The newly released box art gives gamers a warm taste of the sweet danger that lies ahead in Brazil. Max’s head overlooks two sides of a beautiful city. On one side is the local militia and gangs, while on the other side awaits an attractive woman – just as dangerous as an AK-47.

Check out the box art below. Max Payne will be available for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on May 15, 2012.

Check out the latest screens from Max Payne 3, click thumbnails to enlarge and browse the gallery:

The Story:
For Max Payne, the tragedies that took his loved ones years ago are wounds that refuse to heal. No longer a cop, close to washed up and addicted to pain killers, Max takes a job in São Paulo, Brazil, protecting the family of wealthy real estate mogul Rodrigo Branco, in an effort to finally escape his troubled past. But as events spiral out of his control, Max Payne finds himself alone on the streets of an unfamiliar city, desperately searching for the truth and fighting for a way out.

Featuring cutting edge shooting mechanics for precision gunplay, advanced new Bullet Time® and Shootdodge™ effects, full integration of Natural Motion’s Euphoria Character Behavior system for lifelike movement and a dark and twisted story, Max Payne 3 is a seamless, highly detailed, cinematic experience from Rockstar Games.

In addition to an expansive single-player campaign, Max Payne 3 will also be the first entry in the series to introduce a thorough and engrossing multiplayer experience. Max Payne 3 multiplayer brings the same cinematic feel, fluid gunplay and sense of movement of the single-player game into the realm of online multiplayer. Using the fiction and signature gameplay elements of the Max Payne universe, Max Payne 3 features a wide range of new and traditional multiplayer modes that play on the themes of paranoia, betrayal and heroism, all delivered with the same epic visual style of the single player game.

Max Payne 3: Get Ready for May ‘Payne’ – Max Takes Aim in New Screenshots

The countdown to May ‘Payne’ continues.

Rockstar Games has released three new PC screens from its upcoming shooter Max Payne 3. If you’ve seen the recent trailer (shown below), these pictures won’t be anything mind blowing but they’re still great to look at.

The first screen shows off Max with his new bald, tough guy look:

This second shot has Max squinting; he’s probably getting ready to dive into bullet time. He’s got a uzi in his right hand and a glock in his left.

In the final screen, which looks like it takes place before Payne ends up in Brazil, Max is pinned down with a bloodied left arm. Don’t expect that automatic rifle targeting him to take him out so easily.

Check out the latest trailer for Max Payne 3:

Max Payne 3 hits Xbox 360 and PS3 on May 15 and PC on May 29.

Max Payne 3 on PC

Max Payne 3 on Xbox 360

Max Payne 3 on PS3

Max Payne 3 – Enter the ‘City of God’ Trailer

Get ready for Max Payne meets The City of God.

In the latest trailer for Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games reminds us once again that next-gen gaming has more to do with creating engrossing story lines and less to do with tossing in the latest motion-gaming peripheral.

This trailer shows off more of the character stories found in Max Payne 3 and the reasons for Max’s trip to Brazil. It also shows off some powerful shotgun action down in the heart of Brazil’s favelas.

Bullet time returns this May.

Check out the new trailer below:

Max Payne 3 on Xbox 360

Max Payne 3 on PS3

Max Payne 3 on PC

‘Max Payne 3′ Screenshots – It’s Time to Bring the ‘Payne’ Once Again

It’s time to bring the ‘payne,’ once again. It’s hard to believe that a whole decade has passed since the 2001 release of Max Payne, which was followed by two years later by Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and later by a largely forgettable Mark Wahlberg movie. After a long time in the development pipeline, which was peppered with delays, the release of Max Payne 3 finally draws nigh.

Check out some screens from the upcoming Max Payne 3. Max has fallen from grace since the last time we saw him, no longer a cop and drowning his sorrows in alcohol and painkillers. This time around, things will be set in Sao Paolo, Brazil, with Max now working a private security detail.



Official Game Synopsis

Max Payne 3 is set eight years after the events of the last installment. No longer a cop, Max is close to washed-up, drunk and addicted to painkillers. Without a job on the force, Max has left the greater New York area, and he finds himself in Sao Paulo, Brazil, working in the burgeoning field of private security.
Max’s latest assignment sees him protecting the family of Rodrigo Branco, a wealthy real estate mogul and his two brothers: Victor, a local politician and the youngest, Marcello, a party-loving Eurotrash playboy, along with Fabiana Branco, Rodrigo’s trophy wife, and Giovanna, Fabiana’s sister.
The story of Max’s descent from vengeful, leather-jacket wearing detective roaming the alleys of New York to the broken, shaven-headed man out for justice on unfamiliar streets far from home is at the center of Max Payne 3.