Max Payne 3: Gorgeous, Gritty, And Dumb

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Rockstar apparently built Max Payne 3 out of two teams -- one that wanted to make a gritty, hyper-realistic game with an amoral central character and one that wanted to make a serious Sam meets John Woo action flick. The resulting mess is a visually amazing sack of not-fun.

Gorgeous graphics don't make up for no reason to keep playing.

The over-the-top gameplay makes it hard to take Max seriously, while the story demands you take Max Payne seriously. Even on the lowest difficulty setting, you'll rarely have the health or firepower to walk away from an engagement having pulled off amazing feats of derring-do. That's fine, in and of itself -- until you have to shoot down an RPG with a pistol.

The one thing that a game needs to give you, no matter what the genre or style, is a reason to keep playing. Max Payne 3 completely lacks one. As a $19.99 sale item, or as part of a bundle with the first two at a steep discount, maybe. But for $59.95? No way.

  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Excellent characterization
  • Bullet time still lots of fun

  • Unskippable cut scenes
  • Ridiculous over-the-top gameplay clashes with serious elements
  • No sense of accomplishment.

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