Max Payne 3 PC Review
Max Payne, the first game in the Max Payne series by Remedy Entertainment, had a sense of a fresh beginning for Hollywood action blockbuster-esque third-person shooters. Max Payne 3, the last game in the series by former Rockstar Vancouver, has a great sense of finality. It provides a more engrossing and personal story, a fantastic script with an amazing voice cast, more intense action sequences and good gameplay mechanics. However some crucial aspects of the game bring it down from being amazing to just great.
The game starts with your typical tutorial level where you learn the basics of the now familiar but still enjoyable as ever Max Payne gameplay. Bullet time and Shootdodge have the same essence as that in Max Payne and Max Payne 2, and are maybe a bit too similar, with no improvements made in this regard over its 8 year old predecessor. Its a solid mechanic which is not very common in games but it would have been nice to see some innovations in this regard.
Now the question arises - why would you buy a game for the story? Well that is something I can't give a satisfying answer for to every person, but for those of you who watch movies and enjoy a good book you would know what a big difference the story and script can make. That makes us come to another point - the script. The fantastic script. Max Payne is witty even if his actions are dumb and the game has a lot of crude humour to it. The acting is mature and the animations are well done. The other major characters - Da Silva, Raul Passos, Victor Branco - all have fabulous acting and dialogues which coupled with the strong characterization give a feeling of it all happening in reality.
The gameplay mechanics are strong and the game is on the tougher side. Even on easy you'll be dying a few times and on medium you'll be dying a lot of times. Its not a run n gun shooter but one that requires patience and good use of bullet time and shootdodge mechanics. That said it still won't be easy at all and enemies will sometimes appear from behind while an encounter is already going on which can be annoying.
Pacing is an issue. Cutscenes can sometimes feel too intrusive and some encounters can feel overwhelming. Level design is a little restrictive for the most part, but the encounters are intense and enjoyable. The later levels in the game are fantastic while the first three are mediocre. The middle levels are good. Its not what you typically expect from a Rockstar game. There is little room for exploration.
The action sequences are amazing. Yes. Amazing. Not only in terms of the sheer scale and scope, but also how well they are integrated into the story and gameplay. They range from headquarters of billion dollar company going boom to shootdodge where you have to kill armed policemen.
The graphics are good. Even on a low-end GPU the game looks good. I played it at 900p60fps on my GT 730 1GB and other than minor framerate drops during heavy scenes it ran butter smooth. Graphics range from mediocre to great. The action-sequences look great so do some of the levels including both chapters that take place in New Jersey as well as the slum area of Sao Paulo and Airport Terminal. Some other chapters pale in comparison graphics-wise. Characters are beautifully rendered and animated.
+ Engrossing story
+ Great script
+ Action-sequences are cool
+ Amazing voice cast
+ Strong gameplay mechanics
+ Challenging gameplay
+ Good graphics and well-optimised for PC
+ Lengthy campaign
- Poor pacing in some areas
- A little restrictive level design
- Enemies attacking from behind your field of view
Score: 8/10 Great