This article may contain spoilers.
In July 2001, Remedy Entertainment and Rockstar Games released Max Payne, a third-person action game. Max Payne set itself apart from other action games by introducing the first successful use of "bullet time" in a video game, and drew serious consumer attention with its noir-like presentation and monologues. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne released two years later, changing the landscape and standards for action titles through its use of the Havok physics engine, again to much praise.
On May 15, 2012, nine years after the release of its predecessor, Max Payne 3 landed on PlayStation 3, reviving the series' popularity and high standards. Developed by Rockstar Vancouver, Max Payne 3 is set nine years after the events of Max Payne 2. The game follows Max on his quest to save the wife of a real estate mogul after she is kidnapped by the Comando Sombra street gang. On his quest to save her, Max uncovers an assassination plot, human organ trafficking, and a corrupt police force. Staying true to its roots, the game's story is brought to life by Max's inner monologue and stunning cutscenes. James McCaffrey reprises his role as Max Payne, delivering a disheartened, yet sometimes humorous, performance.
Rockstar delivered in full on the gameplay front, optimizing the genre rather than changing the landscape altogether. Even after bringing back the Bullet Time that made Max Payne famous and implementing the system into its own Rage engine, Rockstar's attention to detail is noticeable. From debris of walls tearing apart during firefights, to seeing the blood and gore of a bullet entering a man's skull, Max Payne 3 is truly a beautiful, immersive game. These scenes can be enjoyed as Rockstar sends players from the rooftops of New York to the streets of São Paulo and Brazil as Max searches tirelessly for Fabiana and confronts her kidnappers.
The level of detail achieved by Rockstar is breathtaking. Max Payne's adventures take a severe physical toll, and the game does not ignore this. Gunshot wounds that Max sustains early in the game remain visible throughout, his shirt slowly becomes torn, and sweat stains appear on Max's shirts after moments of intensity. These are just a few examples of Rockstar's dedication to creating a AAA experience.
To meet modern demands, Max Payne 3 also introduced a comprehensive multiplayer mode, featuring common game types such as Deathmatch and a team objective mode called Gang Wars. Additionally, players can earn experience points that allow for character upgrades, new weapons, and useful equipment. Allowing gamers to use Bullet Time against opponents and put wagers on one another, Max Payne 3 sets itself apart from cookie-cutter models for multiplayer.
Max Payne 3 has a Metacritic average of 87 and has been nominated for Best Voice Work, Best Original Score, Best Shooter, and Best Animation. According to Take-Two Interactive, Max Payne 3 has sold 4 million copies since its release. PSU gave Max Payne 3 a 9.5 out of 10, highlighting the game's great storytelling and challenging shoot-outs.
Although Remedy Entertainment didn't develop Max Payne 3, Rockstar Vancouver proved that it was up to the challenge. With its unique storytelling, a believable main character, and exciting shootouts, Max Payne 3 is a prime example of Rockstar's dedication to create the best AAA titles. Although it doesn't radically change the action-adventure genre, Max Payne 3 subtly redefines it, paving the way for future shooters with excellent storytelling and superb animation.
Max Payne 3 is just one "game of the generation," so stay tuned to PSU as we showcase more of what we considers the best titles PS3 has to offer. If you agree or disagree with our synopsis of Max Payne, let us know in the forums or comments below.