Friday, July 26, 2013

Max Payne 3

After being promised that Max Payne would return at the end of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, we have been champing at the bit for another go as the slow-motion diving, pain killer popping, grizzled ex-DEA agent turned vigilante. When we last left Max 8 ½ years ago, he was mourning the death of his beloved Mona Sax, while still nursing the unhealed wounds caused by the death of his wife and child in the first game. What else is there left for Max Payne to lose? (As it turns out, not very much of personal value…mostly just New Jersey, but we view that as a plus.)
  • The load screen at the beginning of this game is so long that we were able to marinate 2 steaks, drink a beer, and steam broccoli and there was still 50% left to go. = -15pts 
  • For making an opening cut-scene (and every cut-scene, for that matter) that is reminiscent of a Tony Scott movie and thus eliciting that unwanted Domino flashback. = -5pts 
  • It’s disappointing that the game is not set in New York City, but Rockstar almost makes up for it, having improved and expanded upon the gunplay/gameplay and bullet-time effects. = +11pts 
  • The opening chapter is set at an elite party in Sao Paulo, full of booze, drugs, and last shots at redemption. = +3pts 
  • The swank lifestyles of the elite Branco family are quickly destroyed by Comando Sombra (CS) gang members, who shoot their way into the party and kidnap two members of the family in a grand display of why North America is better than South America. = +5pts (Mexico doesn’t count.) 
  • It only took 5 minutes of gameplay before Max Payne was called upon to find and protect Fabiana Branco. If there’s one thing Max Payne likes more than popping pain killers by the bottle, it’s protecting women. = +10pts 
  • After a hard day’s work, most men hit the bar for Miller Time (or maybe even some good beer.) Max Payne holes himself up in his apartment, popping pills and chugging whiskey until he pukes. = +4pts 
  • Nothing helps you recover from almost being kidnapped like getting wasted at the club. = -8pts. 
  • For having Giovanna and Fabiana officially getting kidnapped at the club. = +10pts 
  • Max Payne is hanging from a helicopter, shooting in slow-motion at RPGs that are being launched at him. This game has officially gone Die Hard 4. = +3pts 
  • The physics, blood, wounds, and environmental damage effects are so realistic that we feel the need to go to confession for the first time in 7 years. = +5pts 
  • Max is looking for Giovanna, trying to keep a low profile to avoid attracting members of the CS to his location. That is until he bursts through a door shouting, “Giovanna!!!” = -10pts 
  • Whenever you kill the final enemy in a given area, a slow-motion killcam highlights their death. Being able to fire extra shots into your enemy at this point is as satisfying as making late-hits in NFL Blitz 2000. = +3pts 
  • Voice actor James McCaffrey is slowly losing his control over the voice of Max Payne. It’s starting to sound more like Max Payne doing a poorly acted impression of Batman. = -6pts 
  • As we are introduced to Max’s backstory and how he ended up in Brazil, we are overjoyed when a flashback level puts us back in New York City, complete with torrential snowfall. = +15pts (for taking us back to the good ol’ days.) 
  • Apparently, we were too quickly overjoyed and didn’t realize that we were actually in fucking Newark, New Jersey! = -20pts 
  • Shooting the son of a New Jersey mob boss (complete with Pauly D. blowout) wouldn’t be as satisfying if Jersey Shore never existed. = +13pts 
  • For including a crazy neighbor of Max’s (who literally had newspaper clippings of Max’s story hung up in his apartment) that comes to the rescue with a well-timed shotgun blast. = +15pts 
  • How many people are on the DeMarco payroll? They keep coming out of the woodwork like cockroaches. Oh wait, we keep forgetting we’re in Jersey. = -2pts 
  • For adding a surprisingly well done cartoon version of Captain Baseball Bat Boy on a random TV, found whilst taking a break from shooting-up bad guys. = +11pts 
  • For making the cover system so well done that we forget bullet-time even exists +20pts 
  • For making the running feature so shitty that all we do is zig-zag. = -7pts 
  • In Max’s search for Fabiana, we find ourselves in an intense boat chase, shooting at the CS left and right as their boats swarm ours. Finally, our sights are set on the boat carrying Fabiana, but danger lurks ahead in the form of a wooden obstruction blocking our path. Passos floors it, ramping off of the structure-- our boat is flying across the sky as we enter bullet-time to pick off the CS gang leaders that are holding Fabiana hostage. We focus intensely upon them, pull the trigger, and immediately shoot Fabiana in the head, thus sending us back to restart the checkpoint. = -5pts ( for the unreliable auto-aim feature) 
  • For including this (paraphrased) line of dialogue:
    Boss: “You fucking idiots! How could you let them get away with Fabiana?!”
    Max and Passos: “Uh, we sure are sorry, Mr. Branco. We’re just trying our best.”
    Boss: “I know. I just don’t know what to do.” = -25pts 
  • Max becomes so distraught by Rodrigo Branco’s death, Fabiana’s and Giovanna’s kidnapping, and the wake of death he is leaving behind in his search for them, that he pulls a G.I. Jane and shaves his head, swearing off booze and vowing to press on sober. So, you know, pretty much the opposite of Miley Cyrus. = +8pts 
  • Let’s be clear about something: Max Payne does not wear a fucking floral pattern shirt! = -30pts. 
  • Max immediately refers to his shirt as “ridiculous”. Sorry for doubting you, Rockstar. = +30pts. 
  • We’ve officially experienced our first glitch of the game, causing Max to fall off the building into what appears to be a Michel Gondry film. = -1pt 
  • OK, here we go again. We are thrown into bullet-time (per usual) as an RPG is shot at Max. We dive backward and lock onto our target. The trigger is pulled, and the auto-aim feature once again fails us as we blowup into a million pieces. = -3pts 
  • “Sniper in the graveyard” was always our favorite childhood summer game. = +5pts 
  • Max finally finds Marcelo, Giovanna, and Fabiana surrounded by gunmen. He doesn’t want to do anything stupid and alarming, like running into the room, screaming and waving his gun in the air. Jesus Christ, why did he just run into the room, screaming and waving his gun in the air? Now Fabiana is dead. = -10pts 
  • These rent-a-cops in Brazil are like mall security on PCP = +2pts 
  • During a flashback to Max’s first job for the Brancos in Panama, he finds a newspaper reporting on the events that occurred in New Jersey with the DeMarco family. The headline reads: “Looney Goons.” Never have we wanted an M rated Looney Tunes game until now. = +5pts 
  • We encounter the longest shoot-out of the game so far. Max is running up a flight of stairs; the pirates that hijacked the ship clearly have the advantage. Finally, we shoot our way out after dying 10 times. It’s too bad we didn’t have backup….wait….Marcello and Passors were by the ship the whole fucking time!? = -15pts 
  • For the scene where Max jumps onto an enemy that is fleeing via zip-line and uses him as a human shield. = +30pts 
  • Max fastens a water bottle to his gun with duct tape to create a MacGyver-level silencer. = +50pts 
  • Oh, hey! A really important document is just sitting unattended in a deserted room full of junk. = -6pts
  • Hearing, “I had no choice but to press on,” is another one of those Max Payne phrases that makes us long for the old days. = +12pts 
  • Max discovers that the Unidade de Forcas Especiais and the Cracha Preto vigilante group are working together in a massive organ harvesting ring. It’s a good thing this game isn’t set in the UK; the tissue receivers wouldn’t want to be hit with an unwitting horse organ scandal. = +7pts 
  • For having Max plant C4 throughout the building, threating to end the lives of the Cracha Preto by killing everyone within proximity, including himself. = +16pts (For sheer bravery and big nuttery.) 
  • We’re pretty sure Max has done more damage to his liver from pain killers than getting shot repeatedly has to the rest of his body combined. +8pts 
  • We finally get to use an RPG…in the 2nd to last chapter = -18pts 
  • “I killed more cops than cholesterol.” = +35pts 
  • Once again, very important information is lying aimlessly in the middle of nowhere -8pts. 
  • We understand that this is just a videogame, but not only did we just shoot a guy twice in the chest, he was also shot in the neck, and twice in the head. WHY IS HE NOT DEAD?! = -5pts 
  • For including a scene where Max bullet-time jumps onto a rolling cart and rides it to the end of the room, shooting enemies along the way. We seriously thought Max was just flying the first time we played this scene. = +4pts 
  • We don’t mind botched graphics when they work to our advantage, especially when it means that Max sticks his arms through his chest and shoots an enemy through his back. +16pts. 
  • As we approach the final showdown, we are swarmed with more enemies than the bullet-time feature can handle, but the silver lining is that when we are able to finally power through, we are treated with a high-speed chase after Victor Branco’s plane. After Max blows up the plane with a grenade launcher, Victor Branco lays on the ground at his feet, vowing to walk away a free man in court. Max Payne, not being one to deal with jokesters, immediately snaps Victor’s leg in two, telling him, “If you’re going to walk, then walk with a limp,” thereby fully delivering a maximum amount of pain. = +25pts 
Total Score = +190pts
Available on: Gamefly, Mark Wahlberg's porn room

Even though Sam Lake was absent as the writer of this installment in the Max Payne franchise (he was merely a consultant), it’s still a solid game, with a storyline that keeps you engaged and entertained. Kudos to Rockstar for adding an impeccable cover system, as well improving the gunplay and weapon selection menu—keep an eye out for similar features in the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto 5. Although we were longing for the snowy, windswept desolation of New York City, Sao Paulo, Brazil turned out to be an enjoyable vacation spot to wreak havoc upon the locals. Hopefully, this is not the last we will see of Max Payne.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The soundtrack was pretty baller, too.]

Score Technician: Ryan VenHuizen

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