Review by xNinjahz

"Max Payne 3, Rocstar's epitome of story telling through the medium of video games."

Max Payne 3 returns once again in this third installment and the first to be presented on the next gen consoles. Lead character Max Payne returns continuing his story arc but leads on a new refreshing take on the series moving forward and beyond the death of his wife and child. A introduction of new and re-designed game play elements fitting to the gritty noire look and feel that the series and fans have come to known. Rockstar has once again made a hit with few to little amounts of negatives.

Game play: The game play in Max Payne 3 is that of a third person shooter blended in with the fluidity of a first person shooter. The game controls very nicely. Simplistic uses of the controller easily allow the player to make more complex uses of Max Payne's Bullet Time and newly re-designed "Shoot Dodge". Players by shooting and causing havoc to enemies can build up a meter and rack up Bullet Time. It is here that the games core game play mechanic is used. With a simple press of the right analog stick you can enter the Bullet Time and take advantage of dodging bullets and improving your accuracy to land that perfect head shot. Not only can you activate Bullet Time manually you can initiate what is called Shoot Dodge to have Max Payne jump through the air and automatically enter Bullet Time to dodge bullets and have the one up on your enemies making each firefight a fun and hectic one. This comes with the risk as along with the games difficulty. Landing in the circle of enemies will surely be a hard battle to come out of and might be your demise. Enemies will flank you and provide covering fire for other allies to move up on your position. Forcing you to take advantage of the newly integrated cover system but at the same time have to keep moving yourself. This game is hard, no doubt. But not overwhelmingly so. You may die a couple of times in a level but only to have yourself learn and adapt to the situation to the point where there's just the right amount of challenge. Making that one especially hard fire fight satisfying to overcome. The only downside to the controls are its sluggishness. Moving in and out of cover you may experience some delay in the animation and in some cases can be your death. Other than a short downfall in controls the core game play is very much out weighed by positive, fun, and challenging gameplay aspects that blend into a perfect concoction of a third person shooter.

Story: This is no doubt one of the best stories that the series and Rockstar themselves have constructed. Complex layers of character development and writing takes you on a dark gritty narrative that grips you from its opening scene to the explosive conclusion. The story is told with effective use of game play and cut scenes. Clever editing and direction showcase Max's dark monologues and metaphors as he deals with his problems. James Mc Caffrey returns as Max Payne in this story depressed and as a raging alcoholic still dealing with the loss of his wife and daughter. Payne moves on over to Brazil working as a private security detail for the rich. A lifestyle that plays a large part in the story in contrast to the poverty stricken favelas. The story revolves around Max's grieving and moving on as he deals with paramilitary kidnappers that have a more insidious agenda. As an additional note to bear in mind is that this game as a lot of cut scenes and dialogue. But the story is so compelling with the addition of phenomenal voice acting that it will keep you wanting to know what happens next as each cut scene blends seemingly into game play. Each part of the story is paced well, from level to level, to scene to scene. Both in it's game play and story Max Payne 3 shares a fluidity in both areas.

Graphics and Sound: To start off the graphics in this game are a great piece of eye candy. From the detail of a rotating bullet exiting the muzzle of a gun to its target highlighting the grotesque bullet wound in grizzly detail. The areas in the game are made with much detail. Looking at the poverty stricken favelas in Brazil's slums to the upper class night clubs. Each level is highly detailed with clarity according to their respective surroundings. Character models are very up par if not surpass today's expectations. Max will take a beating throughout the game and from each fire fight. Bullet wounds, cuts, and scrapes are all added in real time with detail and care. With the addition of superb visuals the sound is also great. Artists from Brazil and around the world make the game's musical cues a spectacle during game play and cut scenes. Voice acting is top notch as characters evolve throughout the story to bring us a cinematic quality that is not common to a video game but that of a movie. To the subtle rippling of Max's clothes to the blast of numerous pellets from a shotgun hitting an enemy. Everything is greatly put together to showcase the game's dark undertones.

Playtime and Re playability: The single player portion of the game will last around about 10 - 12 hours providing a bunch of fun and additional re playability. After you defeat the game you unlock a mode called "New York Minute". This mode will allow you to replay the single player levels of the game through timed intervals. Each kill extends the time allowing you to progress through the level to rack points and scores that track on leader boards. Also through out the single player are clues and golden guns. Clues add additional dialogue and story to the game that further Max's experiences and feelings as the game progresses. Golden guns are separated in three parts per gun. Collecting three parts of each gun unlocks a golden skin for your gun and also adds additional rounds to the magazine. Unlocking the golden guns in single player also unlocks the guns in the multiplayer portion of the game. As an additional and new mode to the series this portion of the game is well crafted with added exp earnings, grinds, leveling up, customization of guns, perks, avatars. All provide for an addicting experience and further extends the games playtime.

In conclusion Max Payne 3 is a phenomenally crafted game that stands as a prime example of story telling and Rockstars consistent ability to provide grade A quality games for entertainment. This is a game that you will want to buy for it's amazing single player, collectables, arcade mode, and a well put together multiplayer as a bonus to the game.

Final score: 9.5

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/29/12

Game Release: Max Payne 3 (US, 05/15/12)

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