Max Payne 3

What they kinda did with this one, was to change the setting. The problem with that is, that the setting in and of Max Payne is… Max Payne. There is really nothing else defining the series (one of the few things, strangely, that ties the 3 games together, is that Max Payne has a different face in every single one of them – this time he looks a lot like the voice actor). It’s not guns and not even the bullet time. So it’s very much unlike Star Trek, where it’s no big deal to have another crew on another ship and it can still be… Star Trek. There’s really more than just the long time period since the last game, that makes it a little hard to get used to this installment.

MP3 (no one is gonna be confused by this abbreviation, I’m sure) definitely was a big budget title, it’s hard to overlook but it still didn’t help to make it more endearing to me. Instead I couldn’t stop thinking about this.
While I wanted/was looking forward to this intense feeling MP1+2 gave me, I got a cut scene extravaganza with a very good voice actor who sadly merely says rather mediocre stuff. Besides Max, no major characters come to mind that I could call noteworthy. I can’t even say for sure who’s still alive at the end.
The story has Max trying to protect/rescue some rich folks, who mean nothing to him. There’s not one person among them, he really likes or I, as the player, liked a lot. It’s almost as if Max is only there, because he has nothing better to do at the moment. That’s not exactly the best motivation to play through hours and hours of this and keep anyone hooked until the end. So in absence of an involving storyline, one has to play MP3, almost exclusively, for the gameplay itself, which is hardly anything but shooting until the level ends, to start the next one, where the only action possible is to… The action isn’t bad and the game mechanics work, but it couldn’t be more repetitive. There are not many scenes, in which a slight spin on the usual is applied, like shooting with a sniper rifle from a helicopter (yes, shooting from a fixed location instead of shooting while walking around is the sole variation of gameplay in MP3). I don’t even know exactly, what made the constant identical shooting here so tedious to me, when this could be said about many action games of this kind.

The best part of it really was the art and level of detail many levels were decorated with. Whoever was responsible for this did almost everything any player could ask for. I especially liked the level in these back alleys. In this context it was almost wasted and makes it only more frustrating, that they couldn’t get more out of it. Potential it certainly had enough of.
So in the end it were the little things, that added to the experience, when the big budget failed to impress in the way it apparently was supposed to, like Max commenting the pickup of almost every single pain killer (it’s extreme, realizing that they wrote and recorded lines for almost every single one of these items), or taking one blurred the vision for a moment. Most levels allowed to collect clues connected to the story, I never found them all, so I don’t know if there’s any value in doing so, except for getting an (to me meaningless) achievement. Collecting golden gun parts at least has the effect to equip Max with a modified version of the original weapon, although I’m not quite sure what positive effects this adds besides the looks, if any.
This game leaves me behind wondering if this game series is now considered buried, or if there will be a MP4, with Max being frozen and reactivated somewhere in the distant future perhaps…

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Max Payne 3 Review


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