The Great Return of the Fallen Clay - Max Payne 3 review

Author: Stranger
Date: 2012-05-19 15:03:00
The review was based on the X360 version. Also applies to the PS3 version

I am always happy to reflect on games that set new standards - a place in this honorable group certainly cannot be denied to Max Payne , who showed a decade ago how much the effect of slowing down time can revolutionize the game. Interestingly, the first news of plans to bring the famous series back to life did not meet with widespread enthusiasm on the part of players, because after seeing an elderly ex-cop in the blazing sun of the Brazilian slums, many were shocked, expecting a rather proven return to the classic. Over time, the mood fortunately calmed down and after thoroughly testing the final version, I can happily announce that the game, despite the change in the environment and the image of the title character, has retained its specific depressing atmosphere , which new players will love and the old ones will remember immediately.

The action of Max Payne 3 begins eight years after the last meeting with the hero and, similarly to the previous parts, does not present the events in a chronological sequence , moreover, spoiling its finale at the very beginning of the game. A new adventure begins shortly after Max finds employment as a bodyguard for Rodrigo Branco , one of the most influential Brazilian businessmen living in Sao Paulo. The Branco family soon finds themselves in the crosshairs of one of the local gangs and this is where the main character enters the game, trying to keep his employers alive. In addition to participating in current events at certain moments, we learn under what circumstances Max was recruited by his old friend Raul Passos, whom - by the way - he does not fully remember.

In my opinion, one of the strongest points of the game is the way the title character is presented. The former detective, since the second part, has practically hit the bottom , not trying to fight depression and addiction to painkillers and alcohol, and thus unable to maintain full sobriety even during working hours. Max has also become an even more cynical character and although his approach changes a bit later in the game, we know very well how much he has lost and how negative he is towards the world. Overall, the storyline is enjoyable - it's not overcomplicated, we have interesting political licks in the background and at least one nice twist. I also like the fact that it is mature, including the topics of the coexistence of various social groups in the same area and the richness' feeding on the poor. In fact, the only weaker element are the rather stereotypical silhouettes of some characters, as a result of which it was easy for me to select the "main villain" and guess what his real motives might be.

A solid story background is, of course, not the only advantage of Max Payne 3 . The core of the game, which is very good news, has not undergone major changes. As a result, the key to success is the skillful use of bullet-time, whether with the intention of making accurate shots from the spot or making spectacular throws, thanks to which Max becomes a difficult target and has more room for maneuver. It is not, of course, that the game is played almost without our participation, because the regeneration rate of the time slowing bar depends on the accuracy and effectiveness of our attacks . The gameplay itself is characterized by a fairly high level of difficulty, which made me happy. Even on the default settings, some clashes require several repetitions in order to refine the action plan and then successfully implement it. The degree of difficulty is undoubtedly influenced by factors such as the lack of auto-regeneration of health and the aggressive style of the game of opponents who skillfully hide, look for opportunities to flank attacks and use grenades willingly. Fortunately, the game is not completely inaccessible to "freshmen", because it is possible to turn on one of the two aiming assistants, and Max can save himself from death by repaying the character who shot him.

Rockstar has already got us used to the fact that it offers solid multiplayer in its titles and Max Payne 3 is a perfect example of this. The multiplayer mode turns out to be very playable , which is mainly influenced by well-designed and extensive maps and the successful implementation of slowing down time, which does not disturb the balance of the game. In addition to standard deathmatch games, gang wars have been prepared, in which we perform tasks for one of the fighting sides, including some kind of mini-chapters. My big favorite, however, is the mode called Payne Killer, in which two people play Max and Raul , respectively, having a clear advantage over the rest (good weapons, medicines, etc.), but having to reckon with the fact that other players will play are hunting. The multiplayer was clearly prepared for its long life, because experience levels and all the rewards associated with them (weapons, equipment, armor, avatars and a whole lot of other things) are gained relatively slowly. The very positive image of the whole is only spoiled by occasional lags, which I experienced most often while playing with the maximum number of players allowed, i.e. in a group of sixteen people.

The reviewed xbox version of Max Payne 3 fares really well in terms of graphics quality , proving that you can still get something out of the potential of the old console. Interestingly, due to his advanced age , Max moves with less grace than the heroes of many other shootings , but this does not mean that he is in a losing position. The animation of his movements and the effectiveness of his fights is a real world championship, which means that I approached each fight with great enthusiasm. I have already mentioned a considerable variety of places, but it is also worth praising the meticulousness of their implementation and creativity in their design. What's more, the elements of the environment are subject to nicely presented destruction (cars explode, windows break, plaster comes off the walls, and fire extinguishers limit visibility), and each battle leaves a real battlefield. The cutscenes are simply amazing, both those inspired by good action movies, and those that show the main character's not the best mental state in an interesting way. My guess is that various filters and image distortions will not appeal to everyone, but they absolutely do not interfere with the fun. In fact, the only major downside is the poor ragdoll effect , which causes a bitter smile more often than admiration.

Max Payne 3 has a very different musical setting from the previous parts of the series - in my opinion, the whole thing was well suited to the specificity of the places where the action takes place, successfully harmonizing with the events on the screen. James McCaffrey (again) as Payne is obviously in a class of his own , and the rest of the actors have been well matched to the roles played. An interesting fact is that most of the lines spoken by the Brazilians were not translated, forcing us and Max to guess what they wanted to convey.

Rockstar once again serves a very successful production. The title character not only reminded the world of his old tricks, but also learned some new ones. Every minute spent with the game is a lot of fun , and in addition, thanks to the modes encouraging you to repeat the solo campaign and a solid multiplayer, the whole thing should not get bored quickly. Max Payne 3 did not avoid a few errors, mainly related to the underdeveloped system of covers, but they do not significantly affect the very positive image of the entire product. Fallen Cop is back in style.