phatmac's Max Payne 3 (PlayStation 3) review

Max Payne's Return.

It's been a while since we've last played a Max Payne game. If you remember, Max wasn't in a great situation at the end of the second game. This is still apparent as Max is even more depressed and frustrated at his poor life that keeps getting worse. After certain events that are covered early on in the game, Max ends up in Sau Paolo, Brazil with a new opportunity. Max's story can best be described as a stranger in a strange land mixed with the movie Max on Fire. The main crux involves a deep conspiracy and many more secrets that are yet to be uncovered. My main gripes with the story are a few plot holes that are never addressed. Also, Max is just too damn sad all the time. Each cut scene and interaction with Max gets more depressing as the game progresses that it almost seems comical at some point. For me to care about Max's struggle, I need an arch of some semblance of humanity or at least a smile once in a while. This contrasts greatly as should find some fun in diving over obstacles for great John Woo-like kills. I know that if I'd been in the same situation, I would be gleeful after killing guys with bullet time. Bullet time returns and it works great. Moments like jumping out of a window in slow time work so well. Unfortunately it seems that Rockstar would rather you play behind cover. Enemies are usually far away during most combat segments, so you'd be in danger if you go out and bullet time your way to victory. In my playthrough I mostly spent my time in cover while wishing for a chance to use bullet time. This isn't the Max Payne experience that I want as it is stuck in a limbo between having older game design and having newer game design. One big problem that I have is the cover system. Like in GTA 4, the cover system felt to stick on walls without giving you much wiggle room. Another problem is after you use bullet time, you'll usually be on the ground. When you get back up, Max slowly gets up and just stands there without a care for the world. While in a firefight this made me die more often than simply waiting in cover. Max Payne shouldn't be a cover shooter, yet I played this game like it didn't have bullet time. I just didn't have a lot of fun with gameplay, even if MP3 has all the tools to do that. The soundtrack is great as it sets the mood perfectly. An ending song near the end is especially memorable. Max Payne 3 is a solid game, but it is ultimately disappointing after such a long wait. It's well worth a rent.

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