How ye goin’ cobber? I reckon since the bloody yanks have their own collection of reviews, it’s only fair dinkum that we do a wrap up of Australian reviews? You reckon?
Okay. Enough of that. Writing like an Aussie is exhausting. Point being every time we have a big release, I’m going to collect some of the Australian reviews for you guys to check out. We’re going to kick things off with Max Payne 3!
If you’re a local Australian writer and want to feature in the Australian reviews, shoot me an email here.
If there’s one thing Rockstar has nailed with Max Payne 3, it’s tone. From the game’s outset the team nail the feel of a Max Payne experience, without ever once looking like they’re trying to recreate Remedy’s magic. In fact, like most Rockstar games, Max is an inbred evolution, if such an oxymoron could ever exist, but for this team, it probably should.
I say inbred because this feels like a Rockstar game. So if you’ve never played Max Payne before but have played the likes of Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, you’re going to be right at home here. I also say evolution because Max Payne 3 takes all of what made the previous Max efforts so engaging, and contextualises them in a modern way, while maintaining a sense of action and narrative throwback I can only find evidenced in one other videogame: Mass Effect, with its dizzying lens-flare and unrelenting synth (of which Max also dabbles, successfully in).
It’s super-stylised – much of the design could have emanated from classic Brit mag The Face – combined with attention to detail that can stop you cold, awestruck; occasions usually rewarded with a swift bullet to your scone in what’s very much an on-your-toes cover shooter. Gung-ho = cactus. Also, duh, there’s ‘bullet time’ stuff (a registered trademark of Warner Bros!) which adds immeasurably to the wondrously, mindlessly excessive gruesomeness of it all.
Max could be Bruce Willis, or Jason Statham – even if looking more like Walter White as you progress. You’ll be enthralled, you’ll be frustrated when you’re so caught up in the action you forget that you’re a bullet’s burp from death and have to do it again – and, often, again – but you’ll never nod off
Max Payne wasn’t ever about making the player feel like an action hero. It was about taking the player on the downhill ride that was Max Payne’s life, it was about reminding us that no matter how bad things got – they could always get worse. And it was about how Max Payne was a man who would always get back up – especially when he shouldn’t. That’s actually a pretty good formula for an action hero – but prior to this game the closest we ever got previously was with slow-mo diving.
Max Payne 3 makes you feel like the man with a very particular set of skills. With a good story, jaw-dropping action and fantastic graphics, it’s a must-experience game. It’s an homage to some fantastic movies, it’s a step forward for Rockstar games and it’s a satisfying continuation of the Max Payne saga.
Max Payne 3 is extremely polished. It’s easy to say that it’s a great looking game, but the graphics are a real stand out and it’s amazing to me that the 360 is still able to pump out games that look this good. The combination of extremely detailed levels, amazing looking backgrounds and skyboxes through to excellently animated bad guys all add up to make the game one super slick looking shooter. Rockstar’s Euphoria engine handles the animation system and as you’re blowing away bad guy after bad guy you’ll see them react to the bullet impacts realistically. They’ll also interact with the environment – while alive and looking for cover, as well as when you’ve put a 9mm round through their eye from 100 metres away and watching their corpse tumble off a rooftop into the alleyways of a Favela. But make no mistake, while the game has the looks, if you were forced to analyse and explain it down to its most basic form, it would be described as an ‘awesome looking shooting gallery’ as the progression is linear and your next single objective is always dictated.