Well here we are! Nearly 10 years since we last saw Max Payne after killing his way through New York, leaving a trail of broken bodies and spent bullet casings. You would think the poor guy would get some slack. Fortunately (unfortunately for Max) we get another installment for a series which ushered in the bullet time gameplay mechanic and more metaphors than you can shake a scotch bottle at...
DEAR GOD! BAD JOKE! BAD JOKE!
Rockstar was able to take the torch and run with it, taking the series into a different direction rather than rehashing what has already been done. Some will find this a bad thing, as a fan of the first two? I don't.
The setting is completely different from what we're use to. We find Max in Sao Paulo, Brazil while in between jobs working security detail for the wealthy Branco family, he's popping painkillers and drowning himself in bottles of scotch. And for the record Sao Paulo is gorgeously rendered from the penthouses, to the slums and we also get to see a snowy New Jeresey told in flashbacks which is a nice change up from sunny Brazil.
The attention to detail is excellent, from Max's face looking weathered and worn to his suit wrinkled and hair unkept. Never has a character in dire straights looked this amazing. The game takes advantage of Dx11 so you'll be in visual heaven if you're running Windows 7 and a Dx 11 capable card.
The gameplay has evolved ever so slightly as well. While keeping true to its roots; we have bullet time making a comeback which will recharge after retiring armed thugs. The AI is pretty good even at normal difficulty, the shooting mechanics are tight and the weapons sound like they mean business. I did have to tweak the controls for the mouse a bit, turning off everything that could interfere with free aim, but once that was done I was dispatching fools with drunken justice.
A mechanic they did add was a cover system. I did use it so I could form a strategy in which I could fully utilize my bullet time. There was one level though where you are pretty much screwed into using it. Maybe I was sucking at the time or maybe it was the way the level was designed, but I just couldn't advance by bullet time alone. Heed my words when you make it to the favela. If you don't take advantage of the cover mechanic for this level you will enjoy getting brained over and over again.
With the single player clocking in at 8 hours, telling a story of man who gave up, hit rock bottom and he has to redeem himself by leaving a trail of broken bodies and spent bullet casings . This is Max Payne and he's back true to form.
*Multiplayer was not reviewed. But I'm going to make a factless assumption that it's neat.
Windows 7 Ultimate
4 GB RAM
AMD Phenom II X4 2.6GHz
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450