Max Payne 3 review - fans of Tarantino, The Sopranos should enjoy this violent film noir action game

Max uses special slow-mo moves to take out the bad guys

It’s been a few years since any of the Max Payne games were available on the Mac, so here’s a quick recap. Max is a former undercover cop whose family were killed by mobsters, leaving him with a seriously broody demeanour, a fondness for booze and pain-killers, and a habit of pumping bullets into bad guys in blood-spattered, close-up, slow-motion.

After a stint as a private eye in Max Payne 2, Max is now working as a bodyguard for the wealthy Branco family in Brazil – a job that quickly finds him drawn into a web of corruption and conspiracy that can only be resolved by shooting lots of bad guys in blood-spattered, close-up, slow-motion.

In other words, Max Payne 3 is a very violent and bloody game, and one that should definitely be kept away from the kids. It is, however, very stylish and well told, and will certainly appeal to fans of Quentin Tarantino. 

The main innovation of the original Max Payne was its ‘bullet time’ feature, which slows down the action and allows you pick off your targets in slow-motion. Max also picked up another move along the way, called shootdodge, which allows you to leap through the air in slow-motion in order to avoid enemy fire – while, of course, still firing off your own guns at the same time. 

Both moves are still present and correct in Max Payne 3, and they continue to add a cinematic flair to the action. The action may be appallingly bloody at times, but it does feel rather cool to hurl yourself across a room whilst picking off a couple of bad guys in mid-air.

The game’s detailed graphics and smooth animation also lend a cinematic feel to the action, while Max himself provides a world-weary voice-over that adds to the film-noir atmosphere. The story takes you to locations such as glitzy nightclubs and seedy hotels, along with the occasional flashback to Max’s life back in New Jersey, and will keep you intrigued throughout its roughly 12-hour running time. 

And though Max himself doesn’t pick up any new moves the game does add a number of new multiplayer modes that add to the fun. There are two Deathmatch modes for either eight or 16 players, as well as a Last Stand mode where you simply have to last as long as you can. Mind you, it’d help if the game explained that you need to sign up for its tedious social media ‘club’ in order to activate the multiplayer mode.

The game is also a whopping 32.5GB download, so you’ll need a decent broadband connection to download it. The 3D graphics also need a Mac with a fairly powerful graphics card, so check the game’s system requirements before buying.

OUR VERDICT

The graphic violence of Max Payne 3 won’t be to everyone’s taste, but the game is stylishly presented and will definitely appeal to Tarantino admirers and fans of TV programs like The Sopranos. The multiplayer modes are fun too, and will keep you playing long after the single-player story has ended.

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