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4.1 out of 5 stars
Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360)
Platform: Xbox 360Edition: StandardChange
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2014
I'm a bit late to this game, and I think like a number of others I was put off by the weird advertising decision to show Max Payne as a bald guy in a Hawaiian shirt, which led many to fear that Max Payne wouldn't be the same gritty action-fest they knew and loved…

…but man was I wrong to have my doubts! This sequel is expertly crafted with fantastic visuals, a dark and blood-soaked storyline, and fantastic gameplay that preserves many of the best bits from the previous games, while adding a solid cover shooting mechanic, and "last man standing" slow motion to kill an enemy before they deal the fatal blow to you. It feels refined and smooth, while keeping the gun-play very, very deadly.

Regarding difficulty, I've only played through on medium so far, and I found that pretty tough in places, particularly when there are frequent enemies ambushing you down seemingly deserted corridors, requiring fast reflexes to shoot dodge or find yourself gunned down with no cover to hide behind. It all serves to make the game very tense, requiring careful use of your slow motion bullet-time to leap to fresh cover and get those precious killing head-shots. There are also numerous set-pieces to keep things fresh, alongside "free aim" segments of slow motion challenging you to kill as many enemies as possible or else be stuck with hard odds after returning to normal. If I were to have any complaints about the game-play, its that the enemy seem to find it too easy to know where you are (so ducking around to another piece of cover doesn't take the heat off you for even a moment), and it can be difficult to know when you've killed an enemy, but otherwise the game-play is faultless, if very challenging at points.

In terms of replay value there are various "grinds" such as number of head shots, kills with particular weapons etc., plus a number of achievements (many in the free aim segments, which I seem to have failed to get any of!). There is also a series of "New York Minute" arcade challenges, pushing you to complete them as fast as possible, so there's some good content even outside of the main game. There are also two additional difficulty levels beyond Hard, though I'm not sure if I'd even want to attempt those without first grabbing more of the golden gun weapon upgrades scattered throughout the campaign. There's also multiplay, though I've yet to try this.

The campaign's story is as action-packed as you'd expect, though not quite as gripping a conspiracy as the first two (I had the villain clocked from the first level's cutscene). Not that that slows anything down as excellent, if a little cutscene heavy, direction, superb character graphics and animation and a few scattered extras to find in the levels tell the story well, and keep our favourite tortured cop as dark and disturbed as ever as he fights substance abuse as much as he fights waves of enemies. While I was initially disappointed by the change of scenery from the grim, snow-covered New York I loved, Sao Paulo manages to be every bit as dark in spite of its sunshine, as Max rampages through some of the worst areas in the city, but for good measure we do get a couple of flash-backs set in white-washed city fans are familiar with.

All in all this is a great game, and a very worthy addition to the series. I might even argue that it's better than the second game, and I very much want to see a fourth title in this great series.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2013
To say Max Payne 3 is a bad game is a bit harsh. It's a good game with many flaws.

Cinematically and narrative wise it's excellent, the story of Max really pulls you in all it's gritty, sombre glory. Though it has to be said that it's not the first time we've seen the story of a depressive alcoholic ex-cop, who's family have been murdered and has nothing to live for. Perhaps not hugely original, but very we'll written when all said and done and you can't argue with that.

The story is well supported by a montage of wonderfully detailed scenarios, and sharp graphics. Essentially they are all just A to B glorified corridors, but they are well rendered and add to the gritty feel of the game.

Unfortunately, great stories and good graphics don't make a good game. The finishing touch is always the game-play. And.... You guessed it, that is the failing of this game.
Firstly Max handles like he is running through treacle, hit sprint and he moves no faster. There is a standard cover system, but it's got nothing on the likes of Splinter Cell Conviction, Gears, or even R6 Vegas 2.

Another oversight is the levels and cut scenes, you are pretty much railroaded through the levels with very little time to look around for ammo and health.
Many times after a gun fight it goes straight to a cut scene into the next area, so often you end up facing 6 armoured guys toting assault rifles with nothing but a pistol and 2 shots, oh yeah...with no health. This is incredibly frustrating, sometimes if you're really lucky after a cut scene transition, you will loose the guns you've picked up and be left with just a pistol and a couple of mags.

If that isn't irritating enough, as the game progresses the enemies become almost invincible, taking entire magazines of rifle ammunition to kill. So you spend most of your time struggling in shootdodge or bullet-time trying to score head shots (which don't always kill them...), but when Max lands he's not exactly quick on his feet to get up, and you get shot to hell on the floor too.

The game also suffers from a lack of variety when it comes to weapons. Ammunition, and health are always in very short supply. There's challenging, and then there's facing down 8 invincible enemies with only a rifle, twenty bullets and just enough health to remain standing. This is on medium difficulty by the way.

There is an aim assist, but that sometimes won't target the closest threat, or will aim low on an enemy behind cover. Sometimes it misses the guy standing six feet away altogether.

Basically put; many of the times you suffer an untimely death will be because of the controls and how the game handles. Or because a cut-scene dumps you in combat with no ammo or health - not because you suck.

So to sum up:
Pros: The story is really good, perhaps a little cliche in places, but you gotta love Max's gritty dry tones, and subtle humour. The levels are really detailed and the graphics are sharp. The game is involving and can be fun to play and to watch.
Cons: Controls are a little slow, level design lacks imagination in direction of play, never enough health or ammunition to keep the play smooth and flowing. Enemies become almost invincible later on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2012
I feel that I had to write a review about this game (this is my first review) as I really enjoyed it. I feel that firstly it differs greatly from your COD and military shooters as it has a different story and different setting. Brazil looks great and the environments are fantastic. The story really engrossed me. I feel that players need to give this game a go. Its fun, its different and its MAXimum realistic.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2012
I was looking forward to Max Payne 3 for a long time before I bought the game. I have a deep rooted love for the first two installments and had every faith Rockstar would eventually deliver another tounge-in-cheek, neo-noir, stylish-death shoot-fest that I would love just as much.

And they did it.

I read a lot of negative reviews before I finally decided to just give the developers the benefit of the doubt. The majority seem to complain about the very things that make the series great. I'm so grateful Rockstar didn't just cop out by making a Call of Duty clone that would have pulled in the mainstream gamers - they stayed true to what the series has always been about: self-conscious noir storylines with gameplay that promises endless satisfaction through shooting people in the face whilst in awe of the way your balletic violence is conveyed.

I haven't even tried the multiplayer yet so will update review in due course.
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on 2 April 2014
I went into this game not knowing what to expect and was surprised with an intelligent, mature third-person shooter from the legendary Rockstar Games. I'd never played the first two games on PS2 or Xbox but after later buying those I realized that they're not for everyone. This game could be called the same but in a very different way.

Max Payne 3 concentrates on the titular character 8 years after the death of Mona Sax (his lover) at the end of the second game and even longer after the death of his wife and baby girl in the first game. He is now a wreck who chooses to drown his sorrows in booze and painkillers. Unable to regain control of his life he accepts a job as a private security guard for a rich family in Sao Paulo. The wife of the man he is protecting is kidnapped and this slowly sends things spiraling out of control and only Max can fix it all.

The Max Payne series originally gained fame for its revolutionary Bulletime mechanic. This allows Max to slow down time and hit enemies faster than they hit him, "Matrix Style". Another thing that the series was famous for was the comic book style storytelling but for Max Payne 3, Rockstar, who bought the rights from Remedy Entertainment, have ditched this idea for a much more cinematic style of video game. A bold move and one that has paid off greatly. Throughout the game you will see the world through Max's dazed and blurred vision like a motel T.V. screen. A split-screen effect is utilized to show things from different angles (much better so than Ang Lee's 2003 film "Hulk"!). Max Payne 3's voice acting is solid and James McCaffrey's performance as Max Payne is unstoppable. But the gameplay is really what it is all about. Max Payne 3 is a solid third-person shooter (the best I've ever played) with a reliable cover system and more than competent enemy A.I. The Bulletime and Shootdodge elements allow the player to choreograph chaotic shooting sequences that might end up resembling scenes from a John Woo film which is an obvious source material from which Rockstar lifted. The game is 10-12 hours long depending on what difficulty you play it on. There are five ranging from Easy (a stiff challenge) to Hardboiled (hell in a game). This promotes lots of re-playability.

Although at the time of release the multiplayer was a lot of fun despite being pretty standard it isn't really worth talking about because either the servers are down or no-one is playing anymore. That being said if you are lucky enough to find anybody online then definitely check it out.

All in all Max Payne 3 is one of the best games I've ever played and is perfect for a film fan who likes their cinematic games.
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on 12 October 2013
Let me start off by saying that I absolutely love this game. Rockstar have, once again, outdone themselves with this beautiful gem of a game. However it is not without its faults...

Pros:
-Looks absolutely gorgeous, even for a current-gen game
-Tight controls, everything feels how it should
-Classic Bullet Time is once again brought back
-Excellent voice acting, as usual
-Heavily story-based, with an amazing story at that
-Some hilarious social commentary in parts (but this IS Rockstar so nothing new there)
-Plenty of replay value, in the golden guns and extra challenges in Arcade mode
-Multiplayer that ISN'T just a tacked-on mode added on at the end of development, but a well fleshed-out game mode with an interesting use of Bullet Time.

Cons:
-AI are sometimes a bit unfair with their tactics, I've been killed several times because one enemy ran up behind my cover and just melee'd me to death
-Sometimes the AI are incredibly accurate and get headshots from a far distance, instantly killing you
-The video effects in the cutscenes are a bit distracting and bring you out of the immersion somewhat.

All in all, this game is excellent, and I can forgive it for the sometimes unfair AI tactics. I mean, if you get shot in the head in reality you die, so, why wouldn't die in a video game? The story this time around actually makes more sense, and the characters and voice acting is much more realistic (in my opinion, at least.)
If you enjoyed the original Max Payne, and want to know what happened to the guy after all the crap he's been through, I would definitely recommend you buy this. It's the next chapter in Max's messed up life, and it feels just like the old Max Payne games, just looking a hell of a lot better.
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on 17 June 2013
Lush, beautiful and colorful graphics, varied settings, from gritty dark NY to wonderfully designed brazilian favelas. Perfect voice and sound work, imersive, delightful Max and NPC character dialogues.

It's another thing of beauty, with a much deserved quasi happy ending for Max in another quest for redemption (no link to previous games story, except the emotional toll that brings us a somewhat even more gloomy and cynical Max, and what unexpected dialogs and insights this allows!).

However please bear in mind that this is not the usual shooter. Absolutely loving this game I reckon that many aspects will detract players, so beware:

. It's story driven with a lot of cutscenes, although this is great in terms of character development.

. Linear path (always).

. Striped down weapon management.

Shooting mechanics is excellent and well adapted to gamepads, with optional aiming assist.

The brazilian portuguese voice work is brilliant (no second grade accents, simply perfect).

One feels the great care with detail, the wit behind the story, the developer devoted work to provide a great gaming experience.

If you hate relinquishing control during cutscenes, linear path, no or little weapon customization, small replay value, average multiplayer, then probably you should avoid Max Payne 3.

Otherwise if you love great storytelling with some nice twists and very well implemented slow motion gameplay, do not care about a profusion of cutscenes (although very relevant), then you should not miss it! You'll certainly enjoy the ride!
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It's been ages since Max Payne 1st blew me away with the introduction of bullet time and it's gripping dark story and atmosphere. The sequel then managed to improve on the 1st game whilst keeping the essence of the first. After a lengthy break, Rockstar have taken over to bring Max Payne into the next gen world and overall, they've done a superb job.

The graphics are phenomenal. We now get superb cut scenes instead of the comic book narrative which are well voice acted and fun to watch. The bullet time remains the focal point of the game and has also been given a next gen update with the kill cam that follows the bullet (usually used for last enemy or last man standing) and the last man standing mode I love, where if you reach full damage when you have pain killers left, the game goes into bullet time mode and you have to kill the enemy that last shot you or die.
The storyline is a big change, but I personally really enjoyed it and it's now like being part of a movie. Brazil as a setting made it a lot more vibrant, detailed and colourful, aswell as bringing some excellent levels such as the favellas, party boat and police station. I can't say the story is an improvement, but how do you improve on max payne 1's story. It wasn't going to happen and I never expected it to. There's a lesser feeling of purpose in max payne 3, as he's committed to a job rather than revenge, but it was a brilliant move from rockstar to introduce flashback levels in new york where you play as the old max in leather jacket.

So why only 4 stars? Max Payne 1 was pioneering as a game. Max Payne 3 isn't. The break has meant that the series has had to fall into line with next gen law. The cover system is an absolute must nowadays with 3rd person shooters. It took me a while to get used to it as I tried to play like the old games using the dive primarily. I can't say I didn't enjoy the cover system, but it has taken over. A lot of the levels are a bit cramped in places with objects everywhere and bullet dive is quite often the wrong choice, so it isn't the main element anymore. The game has focussed on taking cover and using bullet time from cover. I used to love diving into a room in bullet time and taking every1 out, it's not really there like it used to be. So essentially, it doesn't feel like the pioneering max payne anymore, it's max payne that has fallen into line with next gen. It's a minor complaint because it's still so highly playable, but there was something about the game that didn't quite grip me as much as the 1st. I can see gears of war fans saying it's not as good, where as max payne 1 had nothing but praise for being completely different.
A gaming hint here: The game tries to rush you through the levels at times, but make sure you don't do this and explore, as there are hidden golden gun parts to be found aswell as pain killers/extra ammo you will need, as the game can be very challenging in places, even on normal setting.

Also there's a criminal lack of explosives. Where are the molotovs and I never had a hand grenade once. Instead it was a 1 off grenade launcher (apart from last level) and a law rocket launcher that was used to take out the tank. It's now all guns, although the enemy still use molotovs and hand grenades now and again? Why take this element away, it's such a big negative on a fantastic game.
The game also feels a lot more linear now. Go through the door, it locks behind you, take out the enemies, next section. I used to get annoyed with max payne 1 backtracking and getting lost, but at least it felt a lot more open world than 3. I also miss the little fantasy touches like the nightmare levels and the junkies rocking about talking to themselves, things like that. I guess Rockstar want this game to feel like you're playing a hollywood action blockbuster, so all reality based and fairplay, it does feel like you're playing an action film.

Still, even with its flaws, it should be one of the best 3rd person shooters you've played next gen, I can't see how it wouldn't for the majority. I loved playing it and would rush out to buy max payne 4
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on 18 April 2013
I only bought this game on a recommendation from a friend (and because it was relatively cheap). Firstly I would like to say I generally prefer games with a lot more freedom, such as assassins creed, gta and saints row. However I was pleasantly surprised with this game.
The graphics are phenomenal considering the sheer amount of locations. As well as this there is a great diversity of locations, one of the first missions is in a nightclub, but you end up in the Brazilian favela slums, cruising down rivers in speedboats, in football stadiums, offices and even in a graveyard and many more. But the detail that has remained is great, you can shoot pen holders off desks, water bottles over in the gym, there is very little that the designers seem to have left out. Coupled with some great first person shooter action and the useful 'bullet time' you can really have a lot of fun. This is a game that can take a while if you want it to (particularly if you put the difficulty on hard which I would recommend) they had to put it on 2 discs, presumably because the one disc couldn't handle the awesomeness. The storyline is rich and interesting, it begins very positively but becomes a little boring in the middle, only for the end to just blow you away.
Of course there are some negatives in an otherwise unblemished game. You seem to be pushed through each level without taking any time to appreciate the funny posters and messages the programmers have added for the gamers amusement, with Max drivelling on about "I needed to hurry if I would get out in one piece.. blah blah". A lot of people have been complaining about the lack of ammo, this isn't actually a real problem, so long as you don't get too trigger happy, but admittedly if you do run out of ammo you are basically screwed unless you can quickly get another weapon. The cut scenes are occasionally long and boring, often just of Max drinking himself to an early grave for about 10 minutes, which can get a bit old (considering this is the third game now) however if you really are that bothered you can just skip them.
Overall I would say that this game is well worth the buy particularly due to its low price. Another job well done Rockstar!!!
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Let's be clear. This is not a game that kids should play. It features graphic violence from the outset, and there are mature scenes of a sexual nature, as well as drug use and very bad language.

But despite (or perhaps because) of that, this is a beautiful game for the grown ups.

The graphics, even on the Xbox 360, are fantastic. OK, there is a lot of corridor navigation, cutting down the freedom to roam somewhat. But this allows the designers to pack the game with texture and detail, and it's expertly done, with oodles of variety. The production values in this game are right there to see on the screen.

The story is the strongest of the series, bearing more similarity to other Rockstar games than to the previous games, but in this case that is no bad thing. There is a gruesome, unfolding plot, backed up by a character driven narrative, where the good guys don't always win. Quite refreshing!

Of course, the game is all about Max, and if he didn't work the whole game would fall apart. Desperate though Max is to blot out his sorrows with alcohol and pills, he still retains an unerring sense of humour, and his commentary on the situations he finds himself in are hilarious and poignant by turns.

The game is quite tough for casual players, but checkpoints are frequent, and a little planning and a calm head will help with the trickier parts. Some reviewers have criticised the controls, and the way it feels to move Max around. I loved the control system, and I found the solidity of Max reassuringly human. All of the characters are animated wonderfully, and behave just right.

The closest reference point for this game in recent times would be Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days, but Max Payne 3 just has more to offer.

If (like me) you missed this game when it came out in 2012, now is a perfect time to pick it up cheap. If you like the Die Hard movies, and fancy a shot at being John McClane, then Max Payne 3 might be the game for you.
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