Joystick: “Max Payne 3” a solid follow-up

“Max Payne 3”

4/5

Rated M: 360, PS3

Genre: third-person shooter

 

—Fun action game brings interesting bullet graphics and amazing storytelling to light.

—Plenty of action, bullet time.

—Somewhat shoddy graphics, slow button responses mar fairly good gameplay.

 

“This place is great. Really comfortable.”

That’s the beginning of “Max Payne 3,” one of the most anticipated games of 2012. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case in the latest, arguably greatest iteration of “Max Payne.”

Rockstar’s poster child for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is back in third-person shooter action as the story opens in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Max Payne has retired as a police officer and earns a living as a hired gun for a wealthy, connected family.

Much of “Max Payne 3” will feel familiar. You run and gun as a tweaked-out killer using slowed-down time as your primary means of dispatching enemies. Aside from bullet time, there’s using cover and a last man standing mechanic where if you have painkillers (read: a medipack) and get shot, you have to kill the guy who shot you or else you die.

There’s a lot to like in this game. It’s structured like modern-day action noir films like “Payback” and “Snitch,” though there’s enough originality to keep players interested. One of the best aspects of the game is Max’s constant narration. Even during intense firefights, at times Max will opine on the situation at hand or offer more context on what’s going on.

Yet there’s a few rough patches in “Max Payne 3.”

Aside from a long install period, the game occasionally froze on me during important cutscenes, which shouldn’t have happened. In addition, the limited move palette can lead to frustrating moments, as Max tends to remain in certain positions (laying down when he should be running, for instance), which needlessly complicates the game play. The gunplay sometimes bugs out as well, as there were a few times I would point my gun at a bad guy only to fire shots into the air.

Despite some of the wonky gameplay, “Max Payne 3” is a treat for older gamers looking to sink their teeth into a good action game. While the difficulty may be a little advanced for some, “Max Payne 3” only got better with age.

 

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