Max Payne 3: the final verdict
Well, it’s been 24 hours. 24 hours mainly consisting of me jump-shooting people in slow motion.
I even found time to play Max Payne 3 a bit, too.
(A note before we begin – I took some actual screenshots, as if I were some kind of professional or something. Only I used my mobile phone. I think the mild blurriness of the final result would win the approval of the wankers who decided on MP3’s art-style.)
Anyway, I have now made it through much of the game. As such I feel much better qualified to actually make some conclusions, and I won’t save the verdict until the end.
MAX PAYNE 3 IS STUPENDOUSLY AVERAGE
There you go. That’s a quote that’ll never get on the box.
The swearing I mentioned in the First Impressions only gets worse later on. I’m no prude, but I don’t recall much swearing in the first 2 MP games. Rockstar have upped the swearing to levels bordering on parody. I heard “shit,” I heard “fuck,” I heard “motherfucker” and I even heard “cunt” on a few occasions.
The combat is great fun, when it works. Max is jittery, and he occasionally gets stuck on the scenery. He’s also terribly fussy about what he’ll attach himself to for cover.
Oh, did I not mention the cover before? That’s because the opening’s pretty easy and I was naively assuming that Max could shootdodge his way through the game like the last two games. But no – shootdodge is a one-way ticket to deathsville on the later levels, so suddenly Max is no longer diving and shooting in slow-motion, he’s snapping to cover and popping out to shoot people. It turns into Brown 3rd Person Cover-Based Manshoot #47839887 and it robs the game of its personality.
There’s weird difficulty spikes and the checkpoints are almost randomly scattered. Sometimes you’ll fight for 10-15 minutes without a single checkpoint, and then you’ll go through 3 in a couple of minutes.
The game’s generally pretty stable, although one bug where a man I killed started floating skywards while body-popping was pretty amusing. Collision on the other hand is not perfect. Enemies can shoot you through scenery, but at least you can return the favour.
But overall the whole experience is solid but unspectacular. It mostly works fine, and you can grind your way through the irritations and have some fun popping skulls with hollowpoints. But it never really rises above second gear, and that’s the real shame. Every time the game gets a bit of pace going, either the level drags on for too long or you have control taken away for a long, unskippable cutscene. As a result the game never really grabs you by the throat, and for a game the gaming world has been waiting for for the best part of a decade, that’s just not good enough.
Max Payne 2 ended with Max and Mona in one another’s arms. That was a fitting ending to the Max Payne story, and for any MP fans out there, I’d recommend they don’t buy this game and remember the characters the way they were.
Overall, is it worth buying? Here’s a rule of thumb – are you too young to play it? If so, you’ll fucking love it. If not, you may be old enough to remember the previous, better games and you may well hate it. Your choice.