Max Payne 3: Gorgeous, Gritty, And Dumb

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Unskippable Cutscenes, Heroic Suspension of Disbelief

CUT!  Someone hold the cutscenes please -
The cutscenes in MP3 are animated, but display in a manner reminiscent of the original game's comic-panel presentation. It works well in and of itself, though we don't understand why Rockstar shot horizontal bars through everything or why the panels randomly print phrases of dialog. This last goes on randomly throughout the entire game, as if the subtitling was handled by an eight year-old with a horrific case of ADD.

All of the above is simply a bit annoying. What's a tad more frustrating is the fact that most cutscenes can't be skipped. This is extremely annoying if you're playing in Arcade Mode, hunting for collectables, or trying to improve your mission times. No matter how often you've played, you're stuck watching the same movie.

Most of the time, attempting to hit Enter to skip a cutscene will be met with a "Still Loading" response. Pressing Escape at such moments doesn't return you to the game menu, it just pauses the scene. Some scenes can be skipped after a reasonable (5-15 second) period, others will continue to return "Still Loading..." for several minutes.

Whether this is a bug or an artifact of the game's Xbox 360 heritage is unclear. In most cases, it's literally faster to alt-tab, force-close the game, restart, and choose the next Checkpoint manually rather than sitting through the movie for a second time. Choosing to start from the first checkpoint in a chapter invariably means watching the entire intro movie again as well.

A Heroic Suspension of Disbelief -

Something tells me we ain't in Kansas anymore.

The other problem is the CoD-style enemy encounters. There aren't many boss fights; most encounters involve overwhelming numbers of badly-programmed enemies. This, in and of itself, isn't a problem -- but given the setting, the number of enemies Max encounters strains suspension of disbelief past the breaking point.

At one point, Max stumbles across a street gang's hideout and alerts them to his presence. This kicks off a major firefight across an abandoned factory with at least 30 enemies. 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." If so, I'd like to formally recommend that no one, ever, under any circumstances, invade Brazil.

In addition, the developers of this game were serious about keeping you on the straight-and-narrow during the inner city missions -- there are several points where leaping over railings into what look like accessible areas results in immediate death.

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