Max Payne 3 may be the one game in the series not fondled by Remedy, but it’s not evident. Rockstar has a firm grip on the franchise, and my hands-on time with it was proof.  Payne returns with a modern approach to cop-thriller noir; which may turn off fans of the gritty, rain-soaked NYC alleys of old.  Modern in the way Rockstar does best.  

Seems the exemption of an open-world helps push Rockstar’s work to beautifully detailed heights; the amount of attention to detail in MP3 is heavy, giving an added since of realism to everything in the game.  Every bullet leaves a hole or chips a wall; Max even properly places rifles when searching his over-coat for another dose of medication – in my demo, he smoothly arm-pitted a shotgun with his right arm to free up his left.

Granted, nothing I saw on screen screamed “Max Payne” aside from all the bullet-time action, which personally is not a problem with me being more of a fan of change in my games, than not.  I did notice a problem with controls needing to be more sensitive, with many of my shots fired missing due to lack of aim precision. These type of things are usually late game tweaks and typically easy fixes in retrospect. 

My time with Max Payne was short and condensed into action sequences as expected, with little to no plot on display. Payne did have hair in my play time, so I’m assuming the sequence I played was pre-head shave and Brazilian tan. Seeing as the game is looking to be one of Rockstar’s more plot-linear titles, I’m sure a greater emphases on story should make it a memorable one. 

I have full confidence in Max’s return to consoles in new hands, especially Rockstars.  If they can twist together some memorable moments and characters to top off the bullet-time sundae, we’ll be in for a treat it seems. Put away the worries caused by early screenshots, Max Payne is looking as good as it ever has…and hopefully without the crap dream-sequences. 

Release: May 15, 2012
Platforms: PC, PS3, 360

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