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First Impressions: Max Payne 3 [Game On]


Well, it’s been nearly 10 years since we last saw Max in action and now we’re finally able to see what’s transpired since we last saw everyone’s favorite hard-boiled action hero palling around with Mona. So how do I feel having waited a decade to see Max back in action? Read on.

 1. The Cover Mechanic Makes Sense

Let’s forget for a second that Max Payne pioneered bullet time (even before The Matrix) and think about how games have evolved.  Pop-and-stop gameplay is nothing new, but MP3’s (heh) implementation of it is certainly well done.  A part of me cringed a bit seeing one of my old favorites brought up to more modern convention as it does detract a bit from the challenge, but ultimately with as much action as this game throws at you it’s kind of a necessity.

2. Bullet-Time Looks Even Better

Slowing down time while you dive through the air, effortlessly dispatching a roomful of enemies before you even hit the ground was always satisfying.  But now?  Continuing the action after you HIT the ground laying even more waste to everyone?! Good LORD! @With the new physics it looks better than ever as Max’s dives are made more realistic thanks to the Euphoria engine.  Shoot-dodging has NEVER looked this good.

3. The Presentation is a Little Different Than You Remember

Max may have retired from the NYPD, but I guess a part of me expected to still see the graphic-novel style presentation I was used to, with James McCaffrey’s brooding delivery setting them up.  Maybe it was technical limitations at the time or a purely artistic direction, but I absolutely adored it.  Frankly, I’m sad to see it go, but the interactive cutscenes and the complete elimination of loading screens is a welcome addition so it’s a trade-off I’m comfortable with.  Still though, there is something more candy-coated about MP3 and that’s a little disappointing.  The world of Max Payne is dark and as much as the word nowadays sounds like parody, ‘gritty’.  That’s not to say there aren’t some tough moments in the story, it’s just that they’re more infrequent than I remember past titles exhibiting.

4. Multiplayer is Interesting, but Nothing to Write Home About

I appreciate shoot-dodging as much as the next guy, and providing crew integration between Grand Theft Auto 4 and Max Payne 3 is pretty neat.  However, maybe it’s because I’ve seen so many bullet-time-esque mechanics in the time since the original Max Payne pioneered it, but it’s not really gripping me.  Of course, to be fair I always liked Max Payne purely as a single player experience so it’s entirely possible that crotchety, veteran bias has crept up on me, leaving me unwilling to take to it in an old man, ‘get off my porch’ kind of way.  It’s not necessarily bad or anything, but it’s not bringing anything groundbreaking either.

5. Objectivity be Damned- I Want Max in New York

I’m sorry, but as much as it’s great seeing Max again and with the same stunning performance from McCaffrey, I just wish there were more New York scenes.  Something just doesn’t feel right seeing Max shoot his way through a tropical climate and I’m completely comfortable getting pouty and downtrodden about it because this is a first impressions piece after all.  I’ve talked on here before about being a ‘seasonal’ gamer and Max Payne was always one of my favorite titles for the dead of winter.  But, that’s just my own quirkiness polluting an otherwise (fairly) objective article.

What about you?  How does Max fair now that he’s stepped into the next generation?

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