The Max Payne franchise spans a number of years, with the first title released to PC in 2001, and spawned a sequel Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, two years later. Gamers then had to wait nine more years before the third title, Max Payne 3, would see them tackling crime again.
The entire franchise had a unique way of telling a story, driving it along with gritty visuals and a strong plot. The narrative style is what the series of titles became popular for, and it is something that filtered through to the latest iteration.
But the new game sees a much older Max Payne – battered and bruised from all the years of fighting the people who have wronged him along his boozy path in the quest for justice. He is visibly tired, and it comes across in the title, but even though he is growing tired of dodging bullets and smacks to the head, it is clear that he is ready to make his last stand.
Max Payne 3 follows a plot of murder, vendettas and generally bad things, but ultimately involves the kidnapping of a wealth businessman’s daughter, who Payne and his friend Russo was tasked with protecting.
Naturally the story will involve Payne travelling to various destinations to rescue the trust-fund daughter, and meet some unsavoury characters along the way. The manner in which the story is presented is slightly different to what Max Payne fans will be used to. During the cut scenes, the graphics have an occasional multi-coloured distortion to it, and while some players have complained about it, it really brings a feeling of disorganisation to Payne’s life to the fore.
Developed by Rockstar, the mechanics will be instantly recognisable to any player who has dabbled in a bit of Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, as the characters all handle in the same matter – which is not a bad thing.
But there is the odd occasion when the controls do not exactly react the way gamers expect them to, resulting in Payne taking cover on the wrong side of a wall, or failing to emerge at all. With the current mechanic, it is also difficult to make sharp turn while running, which is a bit frustrating when dodging sniper fire.
In terms of graphics, the visuals are superb. They have been designed in typical Rockstar fashion, while still keeping the authenticity of the Max Payne franchise. Many aspects of the title are highly-detailed, which makes for a more enjoyable title.
But not everything is designed as it was intended, as the multiplayer lacks the drive and replayability from the single player. Gamers will be able to enter a multiplayer segment from the main menu, which includes your standard game modes of Team Deathmatch, Deatmatch and various others.
Being very similar to Bethesda’s Brink, players will have to gain XP and money in order to unlock different weapons and purchase abilities. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, but it’s just not as engaging as it could have been.
A majority of the weapons are over-powered, leaving new players at a serious disadvantage, but with skill and time they too will be able to mow down unsuspecting new players. As players progress, they will be able to unlock mode game modes, widening the scope of a little bit, but the entire multiplayer experience is ultimately forgettable.
Max Payne is as good as the franchise will ever get – and that goes a long way. The graphics are fantastic, the sound is superb and the popular shoot-dodge mechanic from the previous games has been retained.
With no loading screen throughout the entire title, players will seamlessly transition from action sequence to cut and back – which is good thing as gamers wouldn’t want to miss a single second of this highly action-packed title.
Our score: 8.9/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor