I adore the character models in MP3, they just show such amazing attention to detail. Max's beard grows as the story goes on, but his beard looks like real life stubble growing instead of the dark shading most video game characters have. And it isn't just some kind of generic stubble tech Rockstar developed; every single character in the game has a different kind of facial hair, different thicknesses and patterns. Max's hands don't just look like actual hands, they look like the kind of strong, coarse hands your Dad has. And that face of his, from the animations to the lip-sync to every little wrinkle... Gawd, that's a great looking game.
It think it's tied for the best shooter of the generation with Vanquish. There's just nothing out there with the same feel. I played the PC version, and I just felt like a surgeon with my dot reticle. I didn't just have to settle for headshots, I could choose exactly which part of a face to put a bullet into. I can't think of any other game where the shooting system works just as well in tight corridors and small rooms as it does in open environments. While I didn't shootdodge nearly as often as I used to in the old Max Paynes, I didn't necessarily miss it, either. Max isn't as nimble as he once was but that measured pace brought about a different way of playing. I rarely used cover, I just never stopped moving. When you just click into bullet time you can see all the bullets passing behind you as you run through an area killing ten guys with ten bullets.
I just wish the game would let me walk through a door myself. You never get more than a few minutes of control before Max has to go and do something on his own, and that sucks. I generally want to be in control of my character at all times, but I can accept cutscenes for things I couldn't do in gameplay. Max Payne 3 just takes control away at random, though, and it spins the camera around or teleports you to a different area so often that there's no feeling of cohesion to any of it. You can't form a good mental map of where you're going and where you've been when someone keeps blindfolding you and spinning you around. And so much of the gameplay is rail shooting or plain old turret sections. MP3 is one of the few shooters where I think the basic gameplay is good enough to deserve padding out with extra waves of enemies, but it never happens.