vostokone's Max Payne 3 (PlayStation 3) review

A cut-and-paste job that loses the soul.

I waited patiently for eight years to experience this game. Remedy formally leaving the franchise for Alan Wake was a blow to me that I thought tragic. If only younger me knew of the greater tragedy: actually playing Max Payne 3. In an almost meta-aware move, Rockstar made the actual Max Payne 3 experience a hard-boiled tragedy for the player, assuming they were a long time fan of the series. Initially, the game starts of great, but the obnoxious Tony Scott style visual effects, self-loathing dialogue without the flair or self-awareness of Remedy's writing, and the movie-of-the-week plot slowly dragged this game down into the gutter. Max Payne 1 and 2 were defined by the personal tragedy of the story, Max is constantly dragged through hell but he keeps fighting on. This story pulls him in like he's a stock character, and eventually, he becomes one. It has nothing to do with him as a person and develops him in no significant ways. What a terrible, terrible waste of a terrific character.

What offends me the most, however, is the game design. Truly abysmal. The bullet time element was always a flashy selling point, but it had its practical use as well. Diving into a room, guns blazing, was often the most strategic way to play Max Payne, using slow motion at tight moments where you weren't sure where enemies would be. In this game, the cover system and horrific checkpoint system make bullet time completely pointless (in fact, the only reason to use it is to get headshots, apparently the only way to kill people). The game gives players more ammo after a few restarts because of such poor ammo and health placement and awkward checkpoints that can leave you defenceless. Awful, just awful. The combat has lost all finesse by implementing the auto-lock function of Red Dead Redemption, so you just hold and shoot and you'll clear a room in an instant. That made sense in Red Dead, to simulate the blink-and-you'll-miss-it showdowns in the mythic old West. It makes zero sense in a pulpy noir. It's just another case of Rockstar copy-and-pasting elements from one franchise to another which is an on going problem with their games in general.

Finally, Max Payne looks terrible, the character and the game. This extremely straight-forward, linear shooter has horrific load times masked by excessively long cutscenes. Glitches cause scenery to cut in-and-out, audio going out of sync or dropping altogether, and other specific and irritating issues. The standard issue Rockstar defence has always been that the scope of their games makes it impossible to fix everything (this is the Open World Game manifesto). That excuse isn't applicable to this game, and yet, the problems are more prevalent than ever. It hints towards a troubled production and constant delays, and yet it's baffling for a studio with such resources and accessibility to talent.


Other reviews for Max Payne 3 (PlayStation 3)

    Max Payne 3: A Bullet In Time 0

    The origins of everyone's favorite pill-popping time manipulation aficionado slash ex-cop trace back to the rise and subsequent reign of the PlayStation 2. Our introduction to Max Payne's tragic universe begins with a punch to the gut with the immediate death of his wife and baby daughter. The perpetrator of their murder was a band of drug-infused psychopaths, and the substance they took in was being produced under the name "Valkyr." From then on, Max sets off on a case to locate and halt the pr...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Rockstar Ruins Max Payne's Heart and Soul 0

    As a huge fan of the originals, so I was a bit skeptical when I saw that Rockstar was going to develop their own Max Payne game. I loved the noir and the grittiness that Remedy crafted with the first two Max Payne games as well as the Matrix-esque bullet time gameplay. I have also loved most of Rockstar's own developed games such as the GTA series and Red Dead Redemption. Finally got around to getting Max Payne 3 when it was super cheap, and boy was I glad I got it for as cheap as I did. I will ...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.