Max Payne 3 - Thank you, and rest in peace, sweet prince.

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#51 Posted by Sayishere (1840 posts) -

Replaying the game as we speak, played 1 (hasnt aged that well). Playing 2 right now, and man, its still fucking amazing. I loved it when it first came out, and those feelings havent changed playing it again.

Roll on Max payne 3!

#52 Posted by jillsandwich (760 posts) -

You sir, are a damn good writer.

#53 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

@TRSJabber said:

Excellent article, Ahmad. I just finished the game last night and have to say I agree with you on all points. The action level with the song "Tears" was fantastic. It was a perfect song for that scene. Rockstar have done a great job of that with their past couple of games. There were two scenes in Red Dead Redemption where they used a particularly poignant song at an unexpected time to create a beautiful, cinematic moment. It is an effective technique that I hope they continue using in Grand Theft Auto V.

Ohh man you reminded me of those perfect RDR moments with the music.. I really need to get a DVI/HDMI adapter so I can hook up my PS3 to my monitor and play RDR again.

@jillsandwich said:

You sir, are a damn good writer.

Thank you! Really appreciate it.

#54 Edited by squirrelnacho (332 posts) -

I disagree, but this is a well written post.

This game is a wild action story instead of the dark and harrowing journeys they were before, and that Remedy does so well. They completely ignored the ending of Max Payne 2 where Max resolves his problems, and instead decided to make a wild action journey where he's constantly miserable yet pulling off stunts far beyond anything in the first two games. They wanted to make Man on Fire: The Game. This game has the sorts of characters and plot points one expects from the new developer, and they feel out of place. They are good for GTA, but not for Max Payne. The way the writing is going, one can only imagine what sort of zany adventures Max would get into in the next game.

Again, your post is well articulated. This new game does have it's moments, with good gameplay on the PC.

Max Payne, at its best, concluded at Max Payne 2.

#55 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@squirrelnacho said:

This game is a wild action story instead of the dark and harrowing journeys they were before, and that Remedy does so well. They completely ignored the ending of Max Payne 2 where Max resolves his problems, and instead decided to make a wild action journey where he's constantly miserable yet pulling off stunts far beyond anything in the first two games. They wanted to make Man on Fire: The Game. This game has the sorts of characters and plot points one expects from the new developer, and they feel out of place. They are good for GTA, but not for Max Payne. The way the writing is going, one can only imagine what sort of zany adventures Max would get into in the next game.

I both agree and disagree. 
 
You see, you're right. You are absolutely right. The game is not the dark and cold experience that I was expecting. It's not even in the same league with Remedy's work when it comes to atmosphere and narrative. Remedy codes that compelling and harrowing experience into their games' DNA and make them grow into the dark masterpieces they've made. Rockstar only does anger and explosive action. 
But that's exactly the thing here: This is Max Payne after nine full years of the ending of MP2. The thing that turned this game in my eyes from a trainwreck to a believable and exciting new chapter in this man's life is the fact that people change. That time gets the best of you. And that after having your wife and baby, your lover, your friends and even your colleagues all die around you, you turn into the miserable alcoholic man that Max has become. 
 
When it comes to the action, hasn't Max Payne always been an action game? Bullet-time, shootdodging, an arsenal of all kinds of weapons including grenade launchers and molotov cocktails, chasing sequences, sniping levels, exploding barrels, a little bit of environmental destruction, etc.. I bet if Remedy had the budget and technology to do the stuff done in MP3 they would have done them, because Max Payne was always a Hong Kong action movie in game form. 
 
 
Sometimes I wonder if I'm lying to myself just to make believe that I'm happy with a game I've anticipated for so long. But then I see my hate for Battlefield 3 (pre-DLC) and Crysis 2 and tell myself, no, when I hate, I can hate. I actually felt all of those Max Payne emotions come back during the game. I felt Max was the person speaking as I walked across hallways and rooms in the dark, and I felt the same thrill of clearing out a room without getting hit. 
My satisfaction is real and it really saddens me that you couldn't try to see the game from another, more realistic perspective. 
#56 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1811 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: Sam lake is good at his job, and I'm really saddened to hear that Max Payne 3 doesn't have that Remedy magic that Sam has brought to games like Alan Wake.

#57 Edited by Th3_James (2579 posts) -

I am almost done replaying it on old school. It fulfilled all of my wishes and thought it felt great on pc with keyboard and mouse. People having grips with the game having a cover mechanic ruining the game just don't know how to play the game. I went through max payne 3 playing just like I did in the first 2 games, run and gun. If you make every shot count and think about where you want max to move you can jump and roll around while taking out everyone.

Also: Game is stunning @2560x1600 maxed out

Edit: Before the PC patch that allows for disabling mouse acceleration I had to change my mouse to 5600dpi and set other values to max to make the game playable. Now everything if fine, but I wouldn't be able to finish the game with mouse acceleration turned on.

#58 Posted by Deranged (1859 posts) -

The song at the ending fits beyond perfectly. I had the biggest chills ever when I heard them.

#59 Edited by squirrelnacho (332 posts) -

I agree that most of the gameplay is very much like the original games, and they brought back a lot of the enjoyable mechanics. That's a good thing, and it was to be expected. Also, there are some story moments that do feel similar to moments of the original games.

However, taken as a whole, the story, writing, secondary characters, and atmosphere just aren't as engaging as the first two games. It feels like a different game with the Max Payne voice acting added to it. It's like they had new a direction that wanted to take, and they made contrived reasons as to why the story is where it's at. At first, they were not even going to try to get the original voice actor. Unfortunately, the game still feels very different. They changed the unique tone, and the tone was a crucial part of original games. It feels forced in Max Payne 3.

Again, I'm not saying the game is terrible. There are definitely a lot of enjoyable parts thanks to the gameplay mechanics.

Overall, it just did not really that close to an ideal sequel to the first two games, and some parts did not feel like a Max Payne game at all.

#60 Posted by JEC03 (919 posts) -
#61 Posted by Oni (2114 posts) -

I have complex feelings towards this game.

Max Payne 2 is one of my all-time favorite games and has flat-out the best script/writing of any game ever, in my estimation. First off, I love tragic character arcs, so you can see why I'd love Max as a character. It's for the same reasons I love Batman, and Casino Royale (the Bond film). Add to that the fact that Max Payne 2 is an amazing blend of homage and parody of the noir genre, an insanely tricky balancing act to pull off, and you have something that's just right up my alley.

Most of my issues with Max Payne 3 come not from the writing, though there are a few missteps (Rockstar characterization is generally not very subtle, but I'll get to that later), but with the flow of the game. Especially early on, it's just a constant parade of clear room, open door, cutscene, ad nauseum. It takes control away from you far too many times and suffers for it. When Rockstar finally lets the action breathe around mid-way through the game, it can settle into a very satisfying rhythm, as you've said. I find they've made shootdodging almost completely useless, sadly, which may be in keeping with Max's more fucked up state in this game, but it's detrimental to the overall game. It puts more emphasis on needing to take cover, and I just aint down with that. This is Max Fucking Payne, and regardless of how beat up he gets, he aint taking shit cowering behind a chest-high wall.

Thematically, I'm bummed that they moved away from noir and went more for the gritty revenge feel. Most of the time it works, but the one chapter where the franchise's noir roots really came back up (the cruise ship), I found it so much more enjoyable. However I do like the theme of 'nothing changes for this guy', Max is just destined to be a whipping boy. Not sure I feel about him being a total dumbass right after he decided to 'take back control' and just stride into that block party and getting his shit fucked up, though. Max seems smarter than that.

Then there's the writing. Like I said, I think most of it's actually pretty good as it relates to Max, but in typical Rockstar fashion, most supporting characters are painted in overly broad, stereotypical strokes. There's no subtlety to any of the people you're protecting, especially the younger brother guy and Rodrigo's wife. Where it also lacks in subtlety, and this is probably intentional but I still found it a little off-putting, was Max's dependancy issues. In the second game, there were some truly great moments where Max's problems are referenced by characters around him like Bravura, or given through the environment (the call Max makes to a phone sex line with a girl named Mona). I couldn't help but laugh when I first saw Max down pills, drink booze and throw up. Characterization as blunt as a hammer. Same with all the constant quips whenever you pick up painkillers. I get it.

All that said, this is someone else's take on the character, and for the most part I found they held true to the things that mattered, even if I didn't always agree with the tone and execution. I was compelled by the story, jarring as the pacing was in spots, and kept playing for long stretches. I still don't think that this was a story that truly 'needed' to be told, given the beautiful ending of Max Payne 2, but I feared a lot worse, and ended up being mostly pleasantly surprised.

#62 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Oni: I envy you for your ability to perfectly articulate your thoughts and feelings towards this unique game/series. It's been difficult for me as long as I remember because a big part of it is about emotions and the game's brilliant subtlety. 
Not to mention that you make such great points. 
 
I'll think about it and get back to you!
#63 Edited by Frag_Maniac (107 posts) -

I thoroughly enjoy it too, though I have to disagree on the shoot dodge being too restricted. Much of what makes this game great is how they accurately portray Max as being older, heavier and rather out of shape and wasted compared to his former self. They immerse you with that feeling in everything from his hard breathing to the dialog. The only thing I find strange in that regard is he breathes harder when moving crouched than when sprinting at length.

The first two installments of the game allowed too much slow mo spamming, esp MP2 with it's auto regenerating bullet time. In this one there are many times when you're caught in a bit of a panicked feeling deciding between taking quick cover, going prone and luring them in, or attempting to chain shoot dodges together safely by jumping from cover to cover. The think on your feet immersion is refreshing.

What's nice as well is they vary the map layouts enough to not force you to use one tactic so repeatedly that you become bored with it. The latest patch also ramps up shoot dodge and prone mouse sensitivity somewhat, so you can in fact swing around faster while in a shoot dodge now. It's still not super fast though, nor do I think it should be, partly because of Max's age and condition, and partly because the first two were too arcade and easy.

I also have to disagree on the song played at the airport terminal. I've played the game through on Easy up through Hard (currently halfway through on Hardcore), and by the time I got to that part on hard, I was compelled to turn the music completely off. If there's one thing we agree on though, it's that the game has fantastic replay value due to it's excellent level design, AI, many visceral battles and well scaled difficulty levels.

I also feel the game has excellent core art and level design, although I really don't care for the flashy colored effects and random dialog words onscreen. Bad enough they flood the mostly unskippable cutscenes with them, but the gameplay is laced with them as well. Last Stand is also WAY too buggy for a AAA title release. It needs serious fixing. Currently I'm finding ways to get through Hardcore with minimal painkillers and no Last Stand, since it's buggy and Old School doesn't have it, so I need to prepare for that.

Graphics wise I suppose in a way they needed a completely different type of effect to convey a noir setting that is, and rightfully has to be, somewhat different than the post tragedy and romance of the first two. He's in a bit of a midlife crisis in this one, but at the same time trying to make a fresh start to forget the past, almost like a jet setter trying to relive his youth. Still though, I think they could have used better effects, or just limited it to the split images.

#64 Posted by OfficeGamer (1086 posts) -

Just beat the game on my 360 and I thought that airport bit was freaking legendary!

#65 Posted by TheHT (11829 posts) -

It was ok. After the favela escape, things go down a steep hill of stupid.

#66 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3998 posts) -

Great read man. I missed this earlier.

Glad you came around on it. This was my GOTY last year and as someone who has found Max Payne 2 as his second favorite game, I loved this game. Different, certainly, but still true to Max and amazing. I love that Rockstar had their own take rather than half assedly copying Remedy. And the gunplay is the best ever to me.

I played it on 360 first, just replayed it on PC again, and it also looks incredible on PC and controls so well. Playing it on hard was great fun.

Also the soundtrack is fantastic. HEALTH did such a great job.

#67 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3998 posts) -

Oh and you put your favorite line, definitely a good one, this might be my favorite:

"I had a hole in my second favorite drinking arm, and the only way we were likely to get Fabiana back now was in installments."

After getting shot by the sniper in the stadium. So awesome.

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