Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Max Payne 3: Worth the hangover?

It's been almost nine years since the last Max Payne game, is "3" worth the wait?

Arriving just in time to distract you about BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider being punted into 2013, Max Payne 3 marks the latest Rockstar Games release since last year's ambitious L.A. Noire.
Max Payne is a franchise deeply rooted in PC gaming territory, so I took it for a spin on a Xbox 360 to see if the old guy's still got it.

Oh, Max. You drink excessively and pop pills like it's nobody's business. So then why are you so damn likeable? I'm not sure I have the answer to that, but the videogame world's answer to John McClane has once again found himself amidst an incomprehensible amount of gunfire and bad guys that want him dead.

Luckily for you, Max wields the secret weapon of bullet-time, a brief few seconds where he can slow time and mow down enemies in what can only be described as a gory ballet. The Max Payne series gets credited with thrusting bullet-time into the mainstream, so while I was worried the effect would come off a little stale, Max Payne 3 compensates with an impressive array of realistic physics, body movement, and fantastic attention to detail.

Max Payne 3 (screenshots)


It's all the little things that separate Max Payne 3 from the average third-person-shooter. Just pause the game mid-action and look around a bit -- you'll see what I mean. And while it does feel a bit gratuitous at times, the last enemy camera -- which triggers when you've eliminated the final foe in an area -- gives you free range to slow down time and needlessly pump bullet after bullet into a flailing corpse. I'm not ashamed to admit it, it's devilishly fun and doesn't get old throughout the course of the entire campaign.           More