Hello to all our readers. After a delay, we finally received our review copy of Max Payne 3 today. Luckily, I had some free time so I was able to have cram some of the campaign and multiplayer for you today in aid of the review.

The game is set 12 years after Max Payne 2. Max has not yet recovered from the drama of the first two entries to the series. Still using alcohol and painkillers to wash down his pain, Max is a troubled man who has been psychologically warped. His inner demons still haunt him and cause him a life of torture.

San Paulo in Brazil is the setting at the start of the game. Payne is now working for a wealthy Brazilian businessman and his wife, Rodrigo and Fabianna Bianco and their family. The Force is out of the way and the game bases around the protection of the Bianco family. Max works alongside old colleague, Raul Passos.

Fabianna ends up kidnapped by the Comando Sombra, a gang in Brazil, Payne’s demons return to him in full combat and he embarks to save Rodrigo’s beloved wife. If you haven’t played the previous games, you probably won’t understand most of what has been discussed thus far, it would be too difficult to fully explain, however, you will be able to enjoy the game without having played the first two.

Rockstar included a wealth of cutscenes which are fantastically implemented, the game transitions to and from cutscenes with perfection. One of the complements I must award the game is it’s spectacular easy of play. The game has virtually no load screens (other than the loading done while cutscenes play) and the game moves from one mission to another seamlessly and without any disruption to gameplay. The game is an exceptional addition to ones library.

To assist you in understanding the games plot, we have a helpful analysis from Rockstar

Escaping the traumatic events of Max Payne 2 and all of the corruption, betrayal, peril and pain of his existence as an NYPD detective, Max Payne breaks south – way south, to São Paulo, Brazil where he takes up a new gig working private security for a wealthy local family in Max Payne 3. As one might imagine, amidst the volatile disparity of towering wealth and profound, desperate poverty in São Paulo, this new job turns out to be not quite as cushy as hoped…

In addition to all of the intense technical development and meticulous game design being poured into Max Payne 3 to create an advanced and cutting-edge action-shooter gameplay experience – as always, painstaking effort has also been made by our development teams and internal Rockstar Research department to ensure that the vibe and presentation of São Paulo – touchstones like Paulistano culture, police, weaponry and other elements that will not only contribute to the game’s single-player narrative, but also the single and multiplayer environments and characters – are as authentic as possible.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be offering a glimpse into just some of the behind-the-scenes research and production design done over the course of Max Payne 3’s development, from information and asset-gathering trips down to São Paulo, to local casting for pedestrian types in all the game’s levels, to extensive study of municipal law-enforcement wings, weaponry and much more.

Fighting against the criminals, thugs and kidnappers in Max Payne 3’s São Paulo are the Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), a fictional special forces police unit much like similar counterparts featured in the documentaries Favela Rising and Bus 174, and feature films like Carandiru, Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) and its wildly successful sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Tropa de Elite 2). Real-life Brazilian teams include the GATE (Grupo de Ações Táticas Especiais, or Special Actions and Tactics), GARRA (Grupo Armado de Repressão a Roubos e Assaltos, or Robbery and Assault Repression) and GOE (Grupamento de Operações Especiais, or Special Operations Group) teams in São Paulo, and the feared BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) squad of Rio de Janeiro. Great care was taken to obtain research on the uniforms, equipment and weaponry favored by these Brazilian police—including domestically-manufactured assault rifles and a wide array of exotic firepower imported from the US, Germany, Italy and other gun-manufacturing countries.

Facing off against the city’s elite police squads are well-armed and highly organized gangs who rule São Paulo’s favelas. Even though Brazil has very strict laws on civilian gun ownership, the gangs benefit from a stream of illegal weapons traffic flowing across the country’s massive, almost unpoliceable shared borders with ten other South American countries. With access facilitated to some of the most powerful assault rifles dirty money can buy, the favela gangs boast intimidating firepower to wage war against rival drug gangs, special police forces, or anyone else brave or foolhardy enough to provoke them.

A few sudden events of difficulty can be experienced in the game. A few rare moments arise in which the game changes from easy to intense combat within a short number of seconds. One criticism of the game is the grenade launching mission and the boss who absorbs your bullets. These are classic elements from Max Payne’s past entries and were not liked by fans. Fans found it tarnished their experience of the game, however, these missions have still be replicated in this third entry to the series. However, it isn’t a major issue.

Max Payne 3’s multiplayer is also a spectacular addition to an already amazing game. The multiplayer functions very similarly to the campaign and will provide countless hours of fun after you have completed the 8 hour average campaign.

The RAGE engine used in the campaign is also used for multiplayer. Graphics are the same and so are the controls. Do not fret though, they are customisable to your own personal tastes. The multiplayer is not a cheap rip-off of the single player, it is a full 100% addition to the game and is most certainly a worthwhile component of the game.

XP and Cash is rewarded for multiplayer games. There will also be multiplayer events frequently. Crews, which will be carried over to GTAV, are an exciting component to the game which allows a gang to come together and play together with unique XP systems.

An ARCADE mode is also included as a bonus in the game. It allows players to replay missions with an objective to earn a good score. Overall, it’s a nice little addition to this jam packed mammoth game.

So, here are the individual components of the review;

GRAPHICS: Max Payne 3’s graphics are outstanding on the Xbox 360, and, presumably the PS3 edition too. The textures are beautiful, rendering is excellent and overall the visuals are next to perfect

GAMEPLAY: Gameplay has few faults. Some missions can be slightly irritating, however, they only slightly tarnish the overall experience of this game. You will not be disappointed.

SOUND: Personally, I love the voice acting. I think it is done wonderfully, Max is voiced perfectly once again and the voice of each character is a brilliant match for their personalities. Soundtrack is well composed and effects are good.

VALUE FOR MONEY: The game is great value for money with it’s 8 hour campaign, multiplayer mode and arcade mode and is most certainly bang for your buck!