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It’s been nine long years since gamers took control of former New York City detective Max Payne and solved the murder of his wife and child. Besides the awful live-action adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg, nobody has heard from Max until Rockstar Games recent revival of the fallen hero with the release of Max Payne 3. Could the company recapture the fire that the Max Payne franchise once had?

That’s what we here at Nerd Bastards wanted to find out. So we picked up a copy, jammed it in our magic gaming boxes and played for several straight hours in both single player and multiplayer campaigns. Let’s get to the results shall we:

Single Player

Picking up eight years after the events of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Max has been hitting the bottle HARD since his move to São Paulo, Brazil. Now working for a private security firm guarding members an exclusively rich family, Max is eventually drawn back into the deadly world of firearms, pain killers and the forever remembered bullet-time. From that point on it’s classic Max, but with a few new editions to the gameplay.

As in most next-generation games cover is your new best friend, and in Max Payne 3 it’s no different.Taking queues from games like Mass Effect and Gears of War, Max Payne 3 will have you shooting from cover and blind firing to keep the baddies at bay, but with a subtle difference. Known to some as the improved “shoot-dodge”, this gaming mechanic takes the classic bullet-time introduced to franchise veterans in the first Max Payne and throws it in the air – literally. With the simple tap of a button, either from behind cover or out in the open, you’ll propel Max through the air in slow-motion, mowing down enemies till your bullet-time meter expires or you hit the ground. You’ll be doing you best John Woo impressions before you know it.

Other then that, if you’ve ever played a Max Payne title before the controls are all still there,with a few real world rules thrown in. Max won’t magically pull a shotgun out of his ass anymore, as you can now only hold 3 weapons at a time, meaning if you have a pistol and you want to use a rifle, your going to have to sacrifice a hand. Duel-wielding is still part of the overall gameplay, but at a cost of reducing aim and making yourself a bigger target. One key factor for new players however is the concept of the “Last man standing”, Max Payne’s second chance if you will.

If your about to die and you still have one painkiller in your possession you instantly have a chance to kill the AI that shot you, and if you do your back in the fight with more more chance at redemption. For you new players it’s going to be a godsend cause your going to die more then once.

As for the overall single player experience, it’s fantastic. It’s like picking up a game you haven’t played in months and instantly knowing what to do. The action is solid and seamless, with cut scenes are interwoven into the campaign with almost no notice and the story is solid. Taking Max from the fallen hero and giving him new purpose in life, this is the Max Payne movie that should have been, but instead of watching the experience you get to play it.

Multiplayer

A first in the franchise, multiplayer brings a whole new realm of game play to players by introducing squad combat and the ability to form “crews”, gaining not only experience for yourself, but your team as well. All the multiplayer modes are there, from the standard team deathmatch to a game type called “Payne Killer”, in which the first and second players become Max and his partner Raul Passos. Players earn points by staying as either Max or Raul for as long as they can, and as players kill those in control of the two they will become the next Max or the next Raul. A little confusing at first, but as the rounds go on it’s quite fun.

A key factor to multiplayer however is it’s customization, which you have little of at the start. As time progresses and you get either xp or complete certain requirement in single player, new choices will open up for you to enj0y and allow you to customize to your hearts content. Unlike single player however, the concept of bullet-time is different, with so many players at once not everyone will slow to a snail’s crawl. In multiplayer bullet-time is a line of sight deal, if you see you target and you activate the matrix-like effect it will only occur in your and your target’s vision. And with multiple targets at once in any game type it’s literally going to be every man, or woman, for themselves.

The only gripe this reviewer had with the multiplayer was the introduction of Gang Wars, taking key moments from the single player experience and turning them into multiplayer deathmatches was a bit of a turn off. Sure, it counts as almost a second campaign to some and outcomes can change based on who wins, but it feels almost forced. Still, it’s worth a play through since it nets you those precious experience points and cash to purchase upgrades and weapons.

Final Verdict

Max Payne 3 by definition is the final game in the trilogy craze Rockstar Games started way beck in 2001, but it is far from the end. Besides the only downside being that the PlayStation edition is one disc and the X-Box is two due to size, there’s not much to go after when Max Payne is as smooth an experience as it is.

A must own for any gamer looking to substitute a few boring hours a night with some Hong Kong action mixed with a little danger and explosions. This might even be the beginning of a sequel or reboot to the franchise is a few years, but until then Max Payne 3 will fit comfortably in your system for the weeks and months to come. You gave Max the final hooray that he deserved Rockstar Games, we look forward to what you have in store next (GTA 5, wink wink).

Agree? Disagree? Let hear your thoughts.

Category: Featured, reviews, Videogames

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