This has been a long awaited game that has been on my mind for over a year now. The original Max Payne had a tardy looking character, but with the only game that had BulletTime(TM), it fared really well. The action sequences on the original one was almost the same all the time – follow the thugs, kill them and proceed – but the storyboard as cut scenes made up for a lot of it. The end was a toughie and I’ve spent hours trying to pop those cables on the electric tower before the helicopter flew away (sigh!).
Max Payne 2 came with the Rockstar logo, and after the GTA series, I guess I was expecting a little more out of it than what I got. The character upgrade was minimal and the story felt shorter than it was before. The challenge, however, remained the same – thugs, kill, proceed – and though I played it devotedly, it was just to finish the game. True, the game had made improvements to the story, but the overall experience failed to incite interest.
With the onset of Max Payne 3, I have finally seen the boost that the game needed. The trailers of the game made me think of GTA in myriad ways, but with BulletTime(TM), the entire game transforms itself. Slow motion shooting has never been more attractive. The controls on this one are slick and at some point of time too many. I’ve had a hard time remembering what does what, but as you proceed they get simple enough, as with all games.
SOUNDS – 5 / 5
I was thrilled to hear the voice of Max Payne as I remembered it from way past. The same throaty voice with almost a sense of despair heard through it gave a sense of deja vu and brought you back to the way of Max Payne. The guns had their own quality sounds and the echoes while in the hallways was amazing. The surround effect gave a pretty good idea of where you were being shot from too if you didn’t care to look around too much.
GRAPHICS – 5 / 5
The game has improved in its graphics a lot more than in any of the previos instalments, and if I may say so, even better and smoother than the GTA versions too. I played it in full HD and the characters looked perfect. The scars on the faces, the coarse skin, the slick hair and the amazing details in all other aspects was brilliant. The guns had a shine to them and all of them even looked like their real life counterparts. The environment details were no less. Shadows, textures and the general look of the structures looked great. What amazed me more than anything was how I managed to play the game on full HD with the highest texture quality and yet, all it took was around 750 MB of my 1GB graphics card, and was smooth throughout with no noticeable lag at all.
GAMEPLAY – 4 / 5
I admit, that as compared to the previous releases, this one has far more action and a much more realistic shooting experience.
Let me sum up the additions to the gameplay. Max Payne now has a set of melee attacks too. If he gets too close to an enemy, he can perform manoeuvres with his hands too. The style of encounter differs from where the enemy approaches him. I have even managed to kick an enemy to his head to kill him while he had fallen down. Another addition is the last man standing ritual. This one is a superb addition: it allows you to kill the enemy, who shot you to get you on the edge of death, and regain your health back, and all this in free BulletTime(TM). There are also some side-missions(??) called grinds which basically needs you to say shoot a thousand bullets or get 100 headshots or similar stuff. And finally, collectibles like parts of golden guns. I am not sure if I will be able to use these golden guns in the actual game or if they provide any improvements to the original ones once all parts are collected, it is still fun.
Now to the tiny parts I didn’t like. Both the earlier versions allowed me to carry a whole array of weapons. Now, maybe because Max has grown older, or to toughen the gameplay, I am allowed only two handguns and one heavy gun. The two handguns combine to give me a dual weapon, but I feel the need for a bigger arsenal. Also, grenades seem to be missing. I’ve only managed to play to reach chapter three so far, and maybe they come in later, but my gut feeling says no. And if they don’t I feel bad because I don’t get to kill a whole bunch of people at once then. Painkillers seem to be really hard to find and that ain’t any good for me. I’ve always liked holding on to them for a quick refill when I hit a barrage of enemies.
The cons don’t kill the gameplay much, but it would be good to know that I had more weapons with me.
OVERALL – 4 / 5
If you haven’t played the earlier games, this one is definitely worth playing. It is a huge improvement over both of them and the graphics are stunning. If you have played the earlier games, this one is a definite must-play for you to realize the improvements that have been made in the game. I can say that I had expected a lot less than what I actually got in the end. Give it a shot, it is well worth the time you’ll spend on it.