Max Payne 3 PS3 preview and screens
The one word that comes to mind during my latest look at Max Payne 3 is ‘polished’. And I’m not referring to the protagonist’s giant shiny bonce – he isn’t even bald in the level we’re seeing – but rather how detailed and accomplished the noir shooter is so far ahead of its May18th release date. Call me shallow, but in a demo full of slaughter it’s the looks that kill quickest of all.
Max is powered by the RAGE and Euphoria engines – engines designed to power huge open-world games like GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption. So strapping that horsepower to a linear, level-structured shooter is a bit like using a nuke to blow up a caravan: it might be a case of excessive force, but it sure produces spectacular results.
I’m following Max during the early part of his stint in São Paolo, on the hunt for Fabiana – the wife of his current employer, wealthy retail mogul Rodrigo Branco. It’s dark, Max is alone and he’s lurking in the shadows of a goon-infested dock – a typical Payne setup.
Also happening is some of the prettiest rain I’ve ever seen, splashing off the concrete and plinking (yes, plinking) into the nearby body of water with almost disturbing realism. But Max, bearded and furious (his default look), isn’t one to stop and admire the weather, no matter how aesthetically pleasing it might be.
After all, there’s killing to be done.
Two nearby henchman are unloading a truck on the slipway, gabbing away in Brazilian (about the relative merits of Romário vs Ronaldinho, if my translation skills are to be trusted) and needing to be made dead as soon as possible.
Here one of the gameplay decisions that litter levels becomes apparent, as there’s a block behind one of the truck’s wheels. Shooting this with Max’s suppressed pistol sends the vehicle sliding back into the water, taking out the pair (who presumably can’t swim) silently and without alerting any other guards in the vicinity. But this is hardly a game about being subtle, so going loud is the order of the day: with the duo quickly dispatched, a fresh set of bad dudes come charging in – only to also fall foul of Max’s quick trigger finger.
These options for advancing through levels are hardly divergent or deeply meaningful – this is a linear gun-’n’-run blaster, not Deus Ex – but they do add variety. You’ll almost always find yourself out-gunned, so situations become about using Max’s skillset to give you a helping hand, and there are plenty of these environmental triggers that will enable you to do this. Progressing, another key mechanic – the key mechanic – comes to the fore: bullet time.