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Max Payne 3: Gorgeous, Gritty, And Dumb - HH Reviews

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 13 2012 11:11 AM
Let's cut right to the chase. The first and most important thing you need to know about Max Payne 3 is this:  It's not a happy gamw, though its graphics engine sure is gorgeous. In the first Max Payne, you assumed the role of a deep undercover DEA agent tasked with breaking a massive drug ring. On the night of the worst snowstorm in New York's history, Payne finally breaks the case and avenges the murder of his wife and daughter three years earlier. Max Payne 2 was more morally ambiguous, but there was still a sense of being one of the good guys.

In Max Payne 3, you play a bitter, middle-aged drunk. Max remains unnaturally eagle-eyed and spry enough in combat, but there's nothing like vomiting into the sink after a night of binge drinking to kill your sense of accomplishment.

Max Payne 3: Gorgeous, Gritty, And Dumb

So no. It's not a happy game. If you're looking for that sense of righteousness brought on by being the rogue cop who delivers the sort of rough justice "the system" can't, you won't find it here.
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Manduh replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 12:14 PM

I always like reading your reviews, I usually have a good laugh or three while reading them. This one is no different!

The graphics look excellent (minus the cut scenes- I like realistic better), and the story line sounds pretty good. I'm not much of a gamer but I do like to sit down and watch the bf play, kind of like sitting back and watching a movie. This one looks like it'd be great to watch!

Thanks for the review

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Jun 13 2012 7:26 PM

Glad you like Joel's stuff, Manduh. We do too. :)

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jun 14 2012 12:15 PM

I'm not sure what you mean about the cutscenes. There are definitely realistic portions interspersed with the comic-book panel style. I think Rockstar handled the transitions well. I don't understand the TV-like vertical lines or the random word flashes, but that doesn't change the overall quality.

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Manduh replied on Thu, Jun 14 2012 12:20 PM

I guess I didn't word it right...sorry :) I didn't actually mean the quality of the cut scenes were bad, just that I don't prefer the style.  I like cut scenes that feel more like watching a movie. I think seeing the comic book style might take some of that feel away for me. If I was more of a player and not a watcher I'd probably like them. :P  

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"Now, it's possible that that in Brazil, "street gang" is code for "Three dozen young men with bullet-resistant T-shirts, sniper rifles, AK-47s, Uzis, and Special Forces training."

You should watch Elite Squad, - makes it a bit more believable

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karanm replied on Thu, Jun 14 2012 10:27 PM

Great review Joel, one of my good friends worked on this game here at Rockstar Toronto. I'll have to play the game now and keep some of your points in mind when I tell him how good/bad it is.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jun 14 2012 10:56 PM

It's not a bad game. Just a somewhat schizophrenic one. The chapters in New Jersey feel like the old Max Payne; some of the Brazil sequences have the hard-boiled / gritty feeling that characterizes the primary storyline, and then there's a random sniper shooting that *should* take your arm off (but doesn't), shooting RPGs out of the air multiple times, and just over-the-top sillyness that cuts against the grain of the realistic environments and serious take on Payne's life. 

 

 

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MMiller replied on Tue, Jun 19 2012 1:43 AM

Game is amazing, this review is garbage.

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I think the author was a bit too harsh, and focused too much on the shortcommings.

I'll start telling that I'm from Sao Paulo, Brazil. And a film-noir setting here would not work. We don't have those depressing snowy nights or empty backalleys where your murder can just walk away. This city is noisy all the time.

What we have that is opressive enough to fit a Max Payne game are indeed the favelas and that sense of helplessness caused by authority corruption. But favelas is the opposite of what is usual on film-noir; they're very lively, almost cheerful if not for the constant fear you can almost taste walking up and down the muddy paths. There are always people around, but you can't tell wolf from sheep, and should you get robbed, kidnapped, shot, or whatever, the whole community (as we sometimes call it) could be watching, no one will do anything about it (they won't even think of it as something odd).

In a favela, it doesn't matter the time of the day, and it's not like danger could be crawling behind your back, danger is always there, and the tension is caused by the possibility of being noticed or not (and Max shirt in that chapter is just like... wtf).

The city feels right, the favela feel right... the voice acting is sometimes a bit awkward, but overall good, and at times dialogues feel too much like Elite Troops (Tropa de Elite) movies, and the disco at chapter II, as well as the music and people in it feels more like Rio de Janeiro, but I guess Rio is in fact Brazil's face for the rest of the world.

As far as character goes, I do like the progression through this game. At sometimes I just felt like if I died at some point it would be part of the story, and like Max, I was surprised how that never came to happen. I confess I was a bit tired of playing a character that was indeed someone special, despite past ghosts and regrets, and w/e bs writers come up with. I dont think Max was ever about getting around his past as much as accepting the idea of dying, and just refusing to simply die and not shoot back.

Shooting RPGs down I aggree is silly (but looked awesome with a punchline in R.E.D) but we're talking about a guy that can distribute a glock's full clip among 6 people's head in one dive, and that part, we all love.

Anyway, thinking about it now, this review is utterly shallow, and while I understand I inherently have a better understanding of the setting, author could have went deeper into the elements criticized.

Btw, the multiplayer is awesome. The idea rockstar had to deal with cheaters is gold (not sure if it'll work, but the concept is brilliant).

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MiQ replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 4:26 PM

This is one of the worst review I’ve ever read.

I am so glad I didn’t come here before buying the game or I could have missed on one of the best action shooter ever. It ain’t perfect, but it sure is miles ahead of any other action shooter out there. The core gameplay is addicting and the story is great. Also, it is one of the most beautiful game on the market. Saying this game isn’t worth any more than 20$ is beyond stupid and a proof of how retarded this review and whoever wrote this garbage is.

This was the first, and needless to say, the last time I come here for anything game related.

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 4:48 PM

Sorry you feel that way. MiQ. This is just one man's opinion of the game and he didn't totally trash it, just that it wasn't a hit like it could have been.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jul 12 2012 4:55 PM

Vince,

I stayed away from commenting on the favelas precisely because having never seen them (and not being native to any part of Brazil), I couldn't speak to how accurately they captured the environment. I'm glad they got that part right. I was torn regarding the Portuguese -- I, like Max, had no idea what anyone was saying for most of the game -- but I wish there had been an option to enable English subtitles or dialog after the first playthrough at the very least. That was a decision that simultaneously enforced realism but made it harder to get into the game.

(Collectible books that taught you the language as you progressed? I'd have been all over that).

I don't mind that the game left film noir behind, so much as I felt jarred by pacing and sequence construction. The scenes with Max sneaking through the favela, I thought, worked really well and speak to your "can't tell friend from foe" statements. But then I walk into a garage and find it full of 30+ punks, all of whom have sniper rifles, carbines, and act like Special Forces? That breaks the atmosphere the previous segment built.

Also, I agree with you on Rockstar is doing with cheaters. Great idea. I hope it works (or produces some really interesting content).

MiQ,

I'm glad you liked the game. Don't worry about not coming back. If your response to disagreeing with someone over a video game is to grab your toys, hurl insults, and run home like a cranky toddler, you aren't the sort of reader I'm interested in interacting with -- and I won't miss you.

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JMcBride replied on Wed, Jul 25 2012 8:48 AM

the first Max Payne was a LOT better than the second one. The third entry has been delayed a few years after I expected it so I don't really have high expectations and am holding off in a purchase until a few friends I trust give me their opinions on whether or not it is even worth the bother (thinking of Duke Nukem Nevermore)

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JMcBride replied on Wed, Jul 25 2012 8:50 AM

yeah I don't see Maxie in a favela setting. He could not talk to anyone without a translator.

Unless at his age he retired and took over for Tony Bourdain and is there to review some of the great food in which case he may just stay and eat all the time

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Yeah, this game is pretty bad.

Bad mouse/cursor control(in a variety of ways), crosshair disappears at times when you need it, can't duck in cover mode and even changing directions is glitchy, can't tell when getting hit - you just die all of a sudden, annoying forced walk at times, movement is sluggish and overall control of character is poor, annoying in and out of control(for preset scenes), sometimes graphics look nice sometimes look shitty, excessive gore, half of the game is cutscreens, pretty unenjoyable game overall.

Metro 2033 was $5 on steam and is a much better game.

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