An incredibly satisfying shooter experience.
It's been some time since the last Max Payne game and the franchise has since swapped hands, going from the folks at Remedy over to Rockstar. I know more diehard fans of the series have had concerns about what Rockstar has done with the game, but as a more casual Payne enthusiast I've got to say they've made what I feel is a spectacular action game.
Rockstar has something of a tradition of poor quality gunplay in their games, which I think they started to fix when they did Red Dead Redemption but I feel it near perfected in Max Payne 3.
Everything about it feels right to me. The guns sound suitably loud, the blood sprays liberally, the actual feel of the handling is about perfect. It took me some time to get used to the free aim admittedly. You're given the option of using a softlock feature ala Red Dead or GTA or free aim. It didn't feel right at first, but after some hours with the game I'd agree free aim is the way to go.
New to the Max Payne series is a cover mechanic.
I've heard a lot of grumblings that it's made the game too easy, not perhaps I just suck at it but I found the game to be quite challenging even on Normal difficulty, cover or no. I think there was also some concern that the cover mechanic kind of renders the bullet time feature moot, but I still found it to be quite useful - especially used in tandem with the cover system.
Also new to Max Payne is multiplayer, which appears to have a great deal of work put into it.
It doesn't feel tacked on for the sake of it. Naturally it has loadouts, perks and all the other things you'd expect of a modern multiplayer shooter. They've also managed to sneak in bullet time in multiplayer, which works on line of sight - putting everyone in view of the person who triggered into bullet time, which works quite fine.
They have the usual multiplayer modes but the big one they've pushed is Gang Wars, which kind of just ties all the other modes together and tries to give it something of a narrative.
A good idea in theory, but in practice it doesn't really do anything too great with the story. At the end of the day it's just a bunch of gameplay modes tied together with some brief before match cutscenes.
The game knocks it out of the park visually, though diehard fans will miss the graphic novel styled cutscenes.
The game has Rockstar all over it, you can tell just playing through the game and watching the cutscenes that this is wholly there project and personally I like what they've done on that front.
Sound design is also great. Voice acting is solid. The soundtrack I scarcely even noticed except towards the end, where they ramped it up some and it was pretty rad then. Props on the gun sounds though. Again something I feel like Rockstar has a tradition of screwing up, but has been getting better on starting with Red Dead.
About the only complaint I have in regard to the sound has to do with Max's inner monologue.
It doesn't shut up. And sometimes it offers cool insight into what's going on in the dudes head, but often times it's... I'm walking to the door! The door opened! I had to go up the stairs! I'm walking up the stairs! The guys up the stairs shot at me! Just feel like they could've toned it down.
I admittedly don't have a lot of history with the franchise.
I finished the first one in anticipation of this, played part of the second but got distracted by other things.
Then this came out and kind of made me regret not having fully experienced all the Payne I possibly could, but whether you're a long time fan or this is your first jaunt with the pill-popping action hero I feel like Max Payne 3 is a terrific shooter and well worth some attention.