Initial release : May 2012

Studio: Rockstar Games

Available on : PC, Xbox 360 and PS3

I had no intention of playing Max Payne 3 game before launch, no interest in another generic third person shooter, I told my friends. Just looks like every  corridor shooter on the market, not even worth my time. Well then I played it. Never have I been so happy to eat my own words. ( They were quite delicious.) Max’s story of redemption is captivating, an expertly written journey of a man who’s been left battered through the trauma of losing all those close to him. It really cleanses the palate after that awful, awful Mark Walberg movie. ( Just the thought of it fills me with disgust. )

So what’s Max up to lately?  Since we last left Max he’s been doing okay, well if binging on drugs and liquor are classed as being okay. He’s living in Brazil, working security for the Branco family, just your average Kardashian-esque airheads. Which in all honesty makes it hard to really care about them when things go sour. Oh boy do they go sour. There’s really nothing happy or hopeful about this game, our hero is a broken human being, mental and cynical with age. This is where the writing truly shines. Max attempts to understand everything around him but through the tragedies in his life he’s left burnt out and pessimistic. ( I’m not gonna spoil the first two games, but needless to say some crazy s*** went down.) Max’s running commentary  throughout the game really paints a picture of his character and we learn just how tumultuous his journey has been. With cut-scenes in between each mission usually set in his apartment where our (anti) hero pops pills and drowns his miseries in bottles of whiskey, we learn quickly that things aren’t sunshine and rainbows with Max.

The premise for the game is that Max is working as a bodyguard for the Branco family, hoping to protect them from kidnappers and thieves in Brazil. As you’d imagine things don’t stay so simple, right from the kick off Rodrigo Bronco’s daughter is kidnapped and Max ends up in a life changing journey to track down those responsible. ( While maybe trying to redeem himself in the process, you’ll just have to wait and find out)  

This game borrows heavily from Tony Scott’s “Man on Fire” ( Denzel Washington and that adorable Dakota Fanning) , where Washington’s character must track down Fanning and bring vigilante justice to Mexico, while also redeeming himself following his troubles with alcohol. Actually no, it doesn’t borrow heavily… it outright rips pages from the script of the film. There’s no parody here. Normally that would be something that would completely ruin my appreciation of the game, but this time Rockstar treated the game and story with such care and attention to character details that I can’t help but love it. The story’s not mind blowing by any stretch, but it’s fantastically executed and at times a tongue in cheek jab at capitalism and the American idea of excess.
In terms of action, Max Payne 3 is no slouch, with a constant bombardment of slow motion shootouts set in a variety of locales around Sao Paulo.

From neon decked Nightclubs to run down favelas,  Max will probably have to fight his way through hoards of private army henchmen on his path. The game may be a straight up corridor shooter with little variation in gameplay, but in this case the combat sections are so expertly crafted that it’s impossible not to enjoy reliving your slow motion Matrix fantasies. Even in its age, the game is stunning at times with beautiful vistas and great character design, Max Payne 3 is beautiful to look at, with every bald head and Hawaiian shirt a joy to behold. My favourite aspect of this game however, has to be the soundtrack. Rockstar brought in HEALTH, a relatively small noise rock band from LA score the game,a decision that paid off immensely.

Being surrounded by enemies while this synth and drum heavy score thumps in the background and fighting your way through the bullets is really something special. With their song “Tears” used to elevate the action and pump up the adrenaline during a specific airport shootout that may just be one of my favorite video game moments of all time. So if you’ve never experienced a Max Payne game or you’re a veteran who didn’t like the look of it, give it a try. The game can be picked up for a rather wallet friendly price and will definitely not disappoint. Drop by and give Max a friendly hello, he could probably do with a hug.

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