It has been a long time since Max Payne waged a bloody vendetta against organized crime but after eight years in development, one of gaming’s greatest tragic heroes has returned to the PC.
The gaming industry has changed since 2003 but Max Payne 3 has a solid game play experience while holding on to its fundamental aspects.
Set eight years after the events of the last game, Max Payne has retired from the NYPD and has hit rock bottom with a drinking problem while continuing to be haunted by his personal demons. In an attempt to start a new life, he takes an offer to work as private security for the Branco family in São Paulo, Brazil.
Unfortunately things don’t go well when a street gang called the Comando Sombra kidnaps Fabiana Branco, the wife of Payne’s employer. Payne and his partner, Raul Passos, make several attempts to rescue her only to end in failure. During the course of the game, Payne uncovers a series of political corruption in São Paulo that put him at odds with a right-wing paramilitary forces and the police.
The first thing fans will notice is the absence of the graphic novel panels that had narrated the story in the previous games. The graphic novel panels have now been replaced by cutscenes, but the cutscenes are so well written with rich dialogue that they make up for the panels loss.
Like with its predecessors, Max Payne 3 has taken the gritty tone that is affiliated with the film-noir genre and infuses it with the choreographic action that has become synonyms with the works of John Woo.
The plot is both the most well written for a video game and one of the darkest works of film-noir. To avoid spoiling it, all one needs to know is that what Max uncovers will make you question the value of human life. At the same time it’s so well intertwined with the series that those who are new to the series can easily understand Max’s background.
Yet one also has to admire the challenge of making a film-noir set in sunny São Paulo as oppose to the cold darkness of New York City. Max Payne 3 was successful in keeping the film- noir tone without the natural elements of the genre by maintaining the ominous tone in a tropical setting. Added to this gritty nature is Max’s narrative that guides the gamer as if they were Dante Alighieri being led by Virgil through the nine circles of hell.
Gamers will obviously realize this is not the same Max Payne. The first game had a revenge-fueled character who has nothing lose while the second game has a character who is looking for a purpose in life. This time gamers will take on the role of a Max Payne who has hit rock bottom and is looking for a personal redemption.
New to the series is the multiplayer that will allow players to establish private groups with up to five friends or join public groups. Players will have to work together to complete tasks and earn XP points.
Max Payne 3 has indeed lived up to the expectations of critics and gamers but the PC version is truly superior to the console version.
Gamers have been waiting eight years for Max Payne 3 while PC gamers had to wait an extra two weeks but in the end it was all worth it, because Max Payne always has been and always will be a PC game.
Final Score: 9/10
Disclaimer: The game used for this review was purchased on Steam.