Generally I do not enjoy third person perspective in multiplayer games, for me the perspective is better for storytelling due to your ability to interact with others and your surroundings but gives limitations on shooting so I did not have huge expectations for Max Payne 3. I came into the game having never experienced a Max Payne game before meaning I had no way of comparing this title in terms of visuals or gameplay to previous titles. However as this is the first time a game in the series has a multiplayer component added, I was as much in the dark as everyone else on starting the game. The best thing to greet me on putting the game in was the lack on an online pass. For what is essentially a new multiplayer IP adding a pay barrier for playing would be detrimental to the game growing as an entity within the online community. This is something I will applaud Rockstar for I know developers say the secondhand market is hurting their sales so this extra revenue is needed and I can see their point. But I would say make a great multiplayer and people will stay loyal to your product or at the very least allow a trial of 24 hours or a level cap of 5 so people can get a taste. This would at least allow you get an idea about the gameplay. The other option which I think a lot of companies may now be embracing is a full demo close to release I think this at least allows players a get to know you session of the multiplayer before purchase. Its also a good advertising and promotional tool.
When entering the multiplayer just like in single player you can chose the aiming system that best suits your play style. In multi-player you have two options these are free aim or soft lock, each choice puts you into a separate lobby system. Each Aiming system has its advantages and disadvantages but the choice is a nice touch to allow you to feel more in control of your experience. The main downfall of this system is the way it dilutes the available players. At times for example trying to play Deathmatch with free aim brought up very limited matches with only one or two other players. This makes the experience no where near as much fun as it is when playing in a full lobby. This may just be due to the added difficulty inherent in the Free aim as I had no such problems with the soft lock choice.
When starting out you are given a Rookie playlist in which to learn your trade. I think this is a great entry device for games as it allows you to learn the game mechanics and maps without the risk of getting owned by top ranked players. It also shows the developers are thinking about new players and are helping them to become invested in the experience. The Rookie playlist last for 100 kills and then a new option is opened this is the standard playlist, the advanced is freed up at 500 kills and hardcore is freed up at 5000 kills. However this is another way that the game dilutes the available pool of players. Having to progress to a certain level means that the playing experience when trying to interact with friends who are a lot higher level may not be possible. I appreciate them trying to give you a progression in the play-lists but again it dilutes the player base available. I think a way to remedy the situation is to just have rookie, standard and hardcore modes and bring the hardcore level down to 1500 kills this way you are maximising the numbers available to play while still giving that carrot of extra playlists.
The starting game type themselves are pretty standard affairs you have Deathmatch or Free for all if you prefer and team Deathmatch both these game types are available on normal and large servers, meaning more players on larger maps. Payne Killer and Gang wars are where the multi-player comes into its own. Gang wars is very reminiscent of Killzone’s warzone., in that you have scenarios added into the game on a random rotation from a base list of twelve objectives. The scenarios and objectives are based on whether your team won or lost the last round this then creates a mini story within the multi-player. The difficulty with this game is it was very rare to fulfill a whole game with a team still in tact it was probably people dropping out when the going gets tough. If you are playing in a communicative group this game type can be the best in the multiplayer. However my favourite game type is Payne killer, it’s Max Payne’s take on King of the hill. Two random players are selected to be Max or Passos (the main antagonists from the single player) the rest of the players are in the opposition team. For the opposition the name of the game is to kill one of the two main characters and then you take their persona Agent Smith style and then can fight against the rest of your former teammates. This goes round until the end of the match. Its great because Max and Passos have powerful loadouts and Payne killers so they do not die too easily so by becoming them you can pound on the opposition. The beauty of the game is you spend the game teaming up and then shooting your former teammates in the back, if you are the one lucky enough to get that killer shot. Its a great game type and don’t forget looting Max and Passos is a great way to rank with extra XP. This mode along with the two types of deathmatch have a ten minute time limit which makes a change from the usual score based ending to these types of modes it usually results in an all out slug fest towards the end of the game and can help to reduce the camping a little bit.
Patience is a virtue and the Lobby wait times can certainly test even the most zen like players. They just seem to drag with nothing to look at but who you are playing and a few objectives you are close to achieving. This said the game runs smooth while in play with amazing visuals and voice overs drawn from the single player. If this is the reason for the waits then I’m ok with it but its still annoying. Going back to the visuals you will find the textures rich and vibrant with no screen tear this is a truely wonderful place to stand and look around. The Character models are really good as well the way the charcters look and move has a very authentic feel.
Max Payne’s other main problem is its issues with cover. This generally works really well but at times when you are in cover and press to ADS and shoot you just shoot in the air give away your position and generally end up dead. Due to the fact the system usually works well when it doesn’t its really annoying.
I think Max Payne makes no apologies for its dodgy to say the least spawns. Instead its made it a game mechanic called vendettas. If a player kills you twice in a row you can take out a vendetta against them and if you get the kill you get extra XP but if they kill you they get the extra rewards. This is especially true in Deathmatch as you will find yourself being killed or killing the same person over and over again. Basic rule after you make a kill turn around and you will probably catch someone trying to pay you back. I don’t find this a problem it makes Deathmatch fast paced but could be irritating if you can not relax about it. The map design does help with this with multiple lines of sight and entrances to building. The maps are nice to look at and feel lived in so that you can accept the premise that the game its based in the real world.
The loadouts are an interesting way to customize your MPC’s to fit your play type. The rushers out there can chose SMG’s with no body armour and they will have faster movements. For the campers out there fitting a LMG, body armour and a helmet can make you as much use as a Sherman Tank on a battlefield. These customizations allow each player to make choices that can dramatically affect their experience in play and that’s a key factor that makes this game more fun. Guns and equipment will cost you cash that you earn within the game. The customization also gives you the usual weapon attachments and you can also use Golden guns found in the single player and equip your MPC with a bit of bling. A slight downfall is no altering the Default classes and no class alterations allowed within the game. To cover this you have a maximum of five default classes with which to play. These are not all unlocked straight away but come in as you level up.
The game tries to push a social element with the use of clans as well as the ability to look at your stats compared to friends on different systems. Its a nice touch as the game is whats most important and the system is a secondary point of interest. The clans will apparently link in with the up coming Grand Theft Auto title and if this game is anything to go by then GTAV looks like being a belter.
To sum up Max Payne is a great Third Person shooter I had to dig quite hard to find faults (this is something I am quite good at). Coupled with an excellent single player I can highly recommend this game my only reservation is the limited game types and whether they would become stale over a prolonged period.
Game available on PC PS3 and Xbox360
Buy It/Don’t Buy It = Buy it
Will you play it 12 months later? = With extra game modes added and new maps then yes.
Photos courtesy of Google Images.