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Max Payne 3 is a bad game [very long rant]

Messofanego

Banned
Oct 31, 2011
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Just finished it on Hard. Well, actually not finished because I couldn’t care to get through the last boss battle and just youtubed it. Because this is such a CINEMATIC game, you can’t use the airplane mobile stairs to get the drop on the boss until the game lets you. If you go even slightly forward of the other enemies, insta-death. You HAVE to clear out those 20 other dudes or then it’s an insta-death whatever else you do. When you do the laborious chore of taking out everyone else, THEN the game puts you in a cinematic where Max jumps from those same mobile stairs and shoots out the grenade launcher of the boss to blow him up. Play this game exactly how the designers meant you to goddamnit, not make your own way and shorten down the boss to 5 seconds. Godawful level design coupled with the bad cover system and sluggish movement controls makes this one of the worst bosses in AAA games of this generation.

Max Payne 3 is awful from top to bottom. Not many people have said it’s an outright bad game, so I’ll be the first. It’s right up there with Assassin’s Creed 1 as one of the worst highly-rated AAA games I’ve played this generation.

People saying it's a worthy successor are lying through their teeth. Some people on NeoGAF have even said “it’s the best in the series!”. Maybe he didn’t like noir New York and the interesting characters as much and is more into suicidal, pathetic assholes who rip off Man on Fire.

I just don’t understand how the few that have played it call it one of the best shooters. Maybe if you judge shooters by just enemy hit reactions and like to stare at animations. Yes, the Euphoria animation engine is great in some ways, but not in others.

Animation Priority: The Game

Putting Euphoria on the main character instead of just on the enemies like the sensible Star Wars Force Unleashed did, is one of the worst decisions Rockstar has made with their games this generation. Movement all around is sluggish, rife with that input lag and animation priority that I hate in cinematic games. This same kind of clunky movement is also in RDR and GTA 4, so it’s not like Euphoria is being used here as in-game characterization. Does this mean Euphoria is only fit for middle-aged characters? So I should only expect old people as protagonists in future Rockstar games? Well, there go any chances of Bully 2, then.

It makes shoot-dodging an even less viable strategy because you're knocking your head into walls and bits of cover in the already claustrophobic level design, where you’re then forced into a stun loop while you clumsily pick yourself back up. This process of getting back up takes exactly THREE SECONDS.


It's made the worst when in "Last Stand" you’re dealt a lethal shot, the camera jerks around sluggishly and you can only shoot that one person who shot you. You can't just kill anyone in your vicinity like the "Second Wind" of Borderlands games. You can’t even RELOAD, so if you ran out of the clip before or during, you’re shit out of luck and have to wait unceremoniously to slump over into death. You tell me how that makes sense. Last Stand is a straight up broken mechanic, and I’m surprised it wasn’t fixed in testing.


Oh, but sluggish Max Payne makes sense because he’s old, right? No. It’s inconsistent. Max does the most insane maneuvers here compared to even previous games. He dives from a collapsing water tower to jump across a whole rooftop, takes a sniper shot to the arm and just wraps it, or grabs onto a railing and crashes through a stadium’s window knocking out an enemy in the process Rainbow Six-breach style. And even bigger drops from huge heights with zero repercussions unlike in Max Payne 2 where it served as a big dramatic moment to highlight his downward spiral.

Movement is so outdated. How many times did you use the "roll" button and not just as a cool animation for picking up a gun? I would only ever roll if when I ended up on prone, the distance was too far from cover to just press Q. If you’re too far while prone, expect to be mashing “up + roll + cover button” to get back to safety. You can't even round covers, which should be a feature in every cover-based shooter (Mafia 2, Hitman Absolution, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Uncharted 2, etc).

To Slide Or Not To Slide Into Cover

People have actually said it's possible to play the game without ever using cover. Throwing around overly exaggerated numbers like 99% or whatever high number that fits your argument. The whole second half of the game with the favelas, Panama canals, and the rest of Sao Paulo, is just not possible to bypass cover because the level design gets even more constricted as you progress. Suppose you could in New York Minute or some other mode, but that means you have to memorize the enemy placements and level design by heart and have to do a second playthrough (who would do that with unskippable cutscenes?). If you can't play the game naturally on first playthrough without using cover for even 90% of the game, that means you have to use cover. It’s an essential feature.

The game would incentivize you if you could bypass the cover system, like Vanquish does. Give you an achievement for not using cover for a whole level. I thought "Old School" difficulty would mean the game disabled cover, but nope. They designed the game around cover, so just accept it.

Maybe Remedy would implement a cover system in this modern age if they did Max Payne 3, but it’d be a hell of a lot more effective.

You can tell Rockstar has never made a linear cover-based shooter. Or at least a competent one. The cover placement points make NO sense! You can not dive from cover to cover efficiently without scrambling to hit the cover button as Max takes his sweet time to get up. Sometimes you can’t even dive forward from cover or this glitch business happens:


I got some shaking/stuttering game-ending cover glitches too.

The cemetery sniper bit of moving from one tombstone to another, the last boss battle, and many other places have really badly placed cover points. The level design is just not fit for moving from cover to cover. As evident in this gif:


How is this “one of the best shooters” when the only thing it gets right is enemy hit reactions but not player movement, monster closet enemy spawns, level design, cover systems, last stand, and having trite turret/sniper sections? I only liked the cinematic shooting moments because I didn’t have to move Max’s slumbering ass at all.

Unskippable Cutscenes

Presumably if you haven’t played Max Payne 3, you’ve still heard about this. There’s way too many of them, they ruin the pacing and flow of the game, they look awful especially on PC with the jarring shifts from pre-rendered to in-game cinematics, and are pointless to be unskippable. No, they’re not loading the game. Yes, they’re a dealbreaker. This is so because it affects gameplay and replayability. A second playthrough is completely ruined, and the arcade mode doesn’t do enough to bypass these issues. BTW, the checkpoints are also awful in that very modern way of making you replay a previous enemy encounter before where you died.

How it affects gameplay is because for some reason Max looooooves single-handed weapons and especially pistols for the very worst situations, so you end the cutscene with the least effective weapons. After every single cutscene (except for the very last one in the awful boss battle where he finally uses the double-handed weapon like my G6 Commando), I have to switch to either dual weapons or the rifle before I continue the fight. In quite a few fights, Max’s proclivity for single-handed weapons will lead to cheap deaths. It’s a nuisance.

The awful Tony Scott (RIP) effects over them are just obnoxious and probably dangerous to photosensitive or epileptic gamers. Worse than Man on Fire, it’s taken to 11 without much context. They don’t even make sense. Again, you think they’re there for narrative sense because they highlight Max as an alcoholic. But they still show up in the same frequency after you go sober and bald in the latter 3rd act. They would be fine if it was for a poignant moment, but they’re all over and not fun to watch. Even poor neogaf users like pa22word and Jubbly tried to fix this, but it wasn't successful. Rockstar never added this as a patch ala Dark Souls/Durante either.

You can't even access options during a cutscene when you pause it to maybe turn on subtitles, like the majority of games in existence.

Why are there fucking cutscenes for opening doors or climbing ladders? There are literally cutscenes just for these actions. Can’t let me do those actions myself? Remedy only ever put cutscenes in their games for long conversations between characters or moving from one level to the next. Not for having Max doing mundane gameplay actions. OH WAIT I JUST FIGURED IT OUT!

As a joke, I would say going through doors are the actual enemies to Niko Bellic (GTA 4) and John Marston (RDR) because they hardly can get through in a clean sweep if you weren’t just walking. Rockstar (or Jason Bone, the lead designer) thought, “man Euphoria fucks up movement through doors”, so “let’s just dump cutscenes instead!”. You can only walk through doors that don’t have enemies on the other side, but no fuck you for deciding to go through yourself and plan a course of action like in previous Max Payne games. In previous games, you could see all the enemies in an area and had barely any monster closets like what Call of Duty and modern shooters go for nowadays. You could decide what you would want to do, how to take out those fools on the bottom in the amusement park of Max Payne 2. Here (outside of some parts in the favelas) they just pop out, and makes the world feel more game-y than lived-in.

Stop Telling Me To “HURRY UP, BRO”

The majority of the game, you’ll have either Passos or some other person always telling you to hurry up to get to the next part of the level. It’s Escort Mission: The Game. And they’re dumb AI who never help you as evident in this clip and gif:

No exploring allowed on the job! There are even unspecified timed fail states to these. One fail state is so bad in the Cemetery that if you don’t go into bullet time, Passos automatically dies. And yet the game has clues or collectibles throughout the levels, so what do you want me to do, Rockstar? I like golden guns, can I at least explore? I don’t think even Call of Duty has this many fail states for idling.

The writers went to the trouble of writing 6-7 lines of idling from your escort NPC which while cool in its weird OCD way, is just plain overwriting to a point where I actually killed Passos, the IT guy, and Giovanna from time to time to shut them the fuck up. Max Payne also monologues about the idling, so yeah if you thought Nathan Drake was chatty, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Max narrates clues that you're examining, with again unskippable cutscenes! You're forced to stare at some texture, instead of having Max narrate it while you're still playing like any game that does audio diaries or narrating expository bits of the world or even just previous Max Payne games.

Uncharted: Among Assholes

Max Payne isn't Max Payne here, he's a Rockstar character. He’s an asshole among many assholes. Passos, with his overuse of the word “bro” only becomes likeable at the end in a cutscene because he exits the game never to bother the player ever again. Too little, too late. I love how Marcelo, easily the most hateful of the lot, is made even more hateful with a flashback after he’s out of the picture. There’s a sub-plot where he loves some other woman (someone other than Daphne?), but it never goes anywhere. Max Payne’s gullible errand boy kind of character makes game-sense in an open world of being an errand boy for quest givers, but here he seems like a dickless pussy where characters constantly shout at you for taking your time and not getting to some objective marker fast enough. It’s so weirdly out of character compared to him in previous games where he was likeable while being sarcastic, self-deprecating, poetic, and full of dark comedy. Here, even his jokes sound like insults. I don’t even get this line at the start:

"Very funny... Ha ha... Yes, that is a fake laugh, you jerk."

Is he talking to me, the player? To Passos? Is this the only bit of 4th wall breaking that was a staple of previous MP games? Is this a framed narrative where he’s talking to someone while reminiscing the entire game? NOPE. He’s just an asshole.

Even more, he's a self-hating sad sack of shit who drinks a lot. He acts more Man On Fire than Max Payne. I know Rockstar loves them some movies, but it’s so blatant and character-breaking here.

The writers want to shove it in your face in case you forgot every 5 minutes that he’s an asshole and an alcoholic. There should be AA(A) meetings for his kind. Oh, and he’s constantly suicidal. Seriously, where is the suicide button? I just want to put him out of his misery. The ending doesn’t even make sense in context to all this self-loathing. There are games where assholes as protagonists fit, Kane and Lynch for example. But Max Payne wasn't a douche to everyone in previous games, he made jokes and while self-deprecating he didn't keep on moaning. Previous games weren't as one-dimensional in their tone, thanks to Sam Lake's script. Here, Dan Houser brings all his typical social caricature, pop references, and modern cynicism that makes Max Payne more out to be the whinging grandpa in some sitcom that you just want to shut up.

The writers making the character an alcoholic feels so tedious. He's always fucking up stuff because of drinking. You're a bodyguard, your job is to protect people, and yet you're getting drunk on their time and money. Even Denzel Washington in Man on Fire only did that back in his apartment, not on the job. Making Max Payne out to be an unsympathetic person feels like such a cop-out to let him do stupid shit in service of the plot. Maybe James McCaffrey was just happy for the voice acting gig rather than questioning the continuity-breaking characterisation. He does some pretty contrived shit back in New Jersey so the writers can set the rest of the game in Brazil.

I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more Remedy!

One of my favourite bits about Remedy’s Max Payne games were the funny conversations enemies used to have to themselves. I love enemy chatter in NOLF, Riddick, the Darkness games, or many stealth games like Dishonored. Brings a certain level of believability to the world and at least you get a laugh from such violent games. They’re hardly here, or if they are only Brazilians/Spanish gamers will get to understand them.

Hilarious how Take Two/Rockstar owns the Max Payne IP and yet still couldn't get the classic locked door sound effects of previous Max Payne games. Remedy even put them in Alan Wake as a signature touch for fans.

There are only two tv segments and they’re so disappointing. Even GTA 4 had better. Nothing comes close to Dick Justice, Address Unknown or Lords and Ladies. Max Payne’s calls to a phone sex worker. Those little touches made Remedy’s work more notable, and made me love exploring every nook and cranny. There’s no identity to this game. It just rips off Man On Fire.

Why Does Max Payne 3 Exist?

[/IMG]

The ending is so out of tone, almost Scooby Doo-ish, for a Max Payne game and even for his asshole, suicidal, drunk character in this game. I don’t think the writers had even anything to say other than “yo, gringos are dumb and angry”. The only canon ending for Max Payne I’ll accept is the one in Alan Wake with “the late goodbye”. That was clearly Remedy’s way of ending the character, and is more fitting than what we get with Rockstar’s Max Payne 3.
I can see why Rockstar was forgiven for being outdated in the gameplay for GTA 4 because it's a big open world and there was loads more to do than just combat. Red Dead Redemption had the hunting and exploring a western world, with a good story.
But here it's a linear shooter, and it's again outdated in its mechanics. Any new mechanics they added to the Max Payne formula like “last stand” and the cover system were badly executed. Heck, Spec Ops: The Line is better in this regard. Sleeping Dogs did more with its bullet time than Max Payne 3. Vanquish. Oh man, Vanquish. You get the jist.

Why does this exist? For Rockstar to have a game set in a creative new setting in Sao Paulo? But Call of Duty already did that with the favela levels. What was the spark here? To see a bald Max Payne? But we already had that trend with Splinter Cell and Breaking Bad. Or maybe Take-Two bought the Max Payne rights and hadn’t done anything with it since 2004, so they just pumped out a sequel to get some returns. It sold horribly though, so I doubt a sequel will come. At least with Sam Lake’s ending of the character, I’m fine with no more of “dearest of all my friends” Max.

It’s not that the design decisions (unskippable cutscenes, cover system, Euphoria, asshole protagonist, a suicidal alcoholic Max)are bad in themselves. It’s that they’re executed in the worst possible ways. When I can’t even appreciate the shooting mechanics, the one thing a lot of people praise about the game, what else is there? It was just no fun of an experience for me in any way. I don’t even want to move Max! So yeah, if I can't appreciate the fundamental gameplay of a third person shooter, the story of a usually story-driven franchise, and this being an awful Max Payne game, I have to call out the game as bad.

I did enjoy spinning around Max to the tune of Kylie Minogue.


Who knew strippers in Max Payne 3 feared water? *NSFW*
 

Oddduck

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Jan 1, 2012
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Don't worry, the game had mediocre sales so there probably won't be another Max Payne game for a long time.
 

Eggman

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Apr 6, 2011
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All those gifs look like your stupid mistakes. Don't play the game on Hard if you want to play it like other Max Payne games. Hard makes it into a cover shooter.
 
Feb 5, 2009
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Havent read OT long post entirely, but i'll comment anyways. Maybe later i'll revisit the thread.

Playing out right now. Not a bad game by any means, on the contrary quite impressive and a showcase on how tech can enhance a game.

It is far from perfect and has some bad desicion taken.
 

Zaventem

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Jul 6, 2012
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Max Payne 3 is a good game it just isn't Max Payne.Btw... i didn't read anything you posted but the header because ignorance and wallotext.
 

BadAss2961

Member
Mar 21, 2012
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Seriously though, I can understand people complaining about the cutscenes and the change of tone from the first two games. But you lose me once you start ragging on the gameplay. It simply doesn't get any better as a straight up third-person shooter.
 

Eggman

Member
Apr 6, 2011
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I can understand someone disliking the cinematic style of the game, and that's fine. Saying the gunplay is atrocious though? That's just dumb.

Those flashback missions are fantastic.


^ Lebrick, my man.
 

McBradders

NeoGAF: my new HOME
Mar 26, 2007
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It's a bad Max Payne game, but a pretty good game where a dude shoots other dudes in the face and stuff.
 

iNvid02

Member
Aug 16, 2009
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the biggest problem with the cinematics is that you can't skip them. lol
true, but they hid the loading. and the seamless transitions from cutscene to gameplay were very slick

i preferred them to a black loading screen, but on a replay having to watch the whole thing again was too much.
 

Eggman

Member
Apr 6, 2011
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You guys wanna know a game with a shitty cinematic style and shitty TPS gameplay?

Kane and Lynch 2. My god, I'm trying to play it right now and it's fucking unplayable.
 

pakkit

Banned
Feb 19, 2008
10,913
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Richmond, VA
Max Payne 3 is not a cover shooter. It's a run and gun game with cover. I only used cover in a few sequences. After beating the game once, I was able to replay and play Max Payne 3 beautifully, and when it works well it's an all out action movie/game hybrid. The environments are stunning (and it's worth noting Rockstar's environments are usually taken with an architect's eye instead of a game designer's), and the Euphoria engine makes sure death always looks beautiful.

I absolutely loved it, even if the story failed to be clear.
 

imotep

Neo Member
Mar 9, 2010
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I enjoyed the game while I was playing, but having an unskippable cutscene every 15 seconds ruined it for me.
 

REV 09

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May 14, 2005
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One of the best games of 2012.

Edit: here we go again. Most of the mid-mission cutscenes ARE skippable....at least on PC. All intro and exit cutscenes are also omitted in Arcade mode.
 

Exr

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Oct 1, 2008
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The shooting itself felt great, but I agree with the OP on every point. Really liked Max Payne 1 and 2, but 3 was definitely a letdown for me.
 

Phoenixazure

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Mar 11, 2010
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Far and away the best shooting experience I've had the pleasure to play. Nothing captures the destruction and carnage of a hollywood style shootout than this game. Bursting through the double doors into the cubicles. Once I learned not to rely on cover, the game just became infinitely more enjoyable as it was all about meter management with painkillers and bullet-time and swapping between different weapons on the ground.

Also helps it has one of the best soundtracks in recent memory. Story/artistic issues aside, Max Payne 3 was awesome.
 

Ushojax

Should probably not trust the 7-11 security cameras quite so much
Nov 1, 2009
27,317
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Yeah, it was crap. It also sold quite poorly so we don't have to endure another Rockstar version.
 
N

Noray

Unconfirmed Member
I agree with pretty much every argument the OP makes, and I too love Remedy's Max Payne games an awful, awful lot. But I still enjoyed Max Payne 3. It's flawed as hell, Rockstar's writers are hacks, the pacing is awful, but it's got good atmosphere, the shooting felt pretty good to me, and I'll take more Max any way I can... even if they kind of fucked him up.
 

bj00rn_

Banned
Aug 17, 2007
5,722
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One of the few things I didn't like about the game was the unskippable cutscenes - Because it ruined re-play..

Other than that, I played it after the hype, and enjoyed it a lot.
 

Heysoos

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Jul 25, 2009
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I never played the other Max Payne games, but I bought this one during the Steam sale. Thought it was a fun experience for the most part. Some of the forced engagements felt unfair as fuck though. Those guys with helmets that have the mini gun. No matter how many times I shot the head, the helmet never came off. I would die, reload, die. Then after around 4 tries, I suddenly shoot him a few times in the head and the helmet would come off right away. Also some parts you would be completely surrounded by enemies who seemed to see you before you even had a shot at them.
 
Sep 13, 2009
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"ITS PAYNE TIMEeeeeee" haha i used to say that when i played that Payne mode in multiplayer, that mode was fun.


Game was awesome and i loved it
 

Acquiescence

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Mar 5, 2011
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Yup.

Few triple-A games actually delivered this year, but Max Payne 3 was one of them. Exquisite third-person gunplay and the best video game performance of 2012 in Sire McCaffrey. The only facet I really disliked about it were the unskippable cutscenes. It defeats the purpose of playing New York Minute mode if you have to sit through the same scenes over and over again.
 

MormaPope

Banned
Mar 31, 2012
13,829
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A lot of the problems people have with Max Payne 3 gameplay wise are ones they contributed themselves. Once you get a knack for aiming and enemy movement you'll be able to clear rooms with style and ease.

According to the Rockstar Social Club gametime counter I've put 130 hours into Max Payne 3, and thinking back every hour was damn satisfying and fulfilling.
 
Jul 25, 2009
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Yes.

I loved both the story and the cutscenes. Completely disagree that they were bad.

Max was a mess, and everything the developers did -- the digital artifacting aesthetic (not sure what to call it), the sluggish movement -- represented that. The tone and the feel of the game was absolutely spot on, and I could not disagree more with people who criticize the game. I'd say the fact that they might not make another Max Payne is tragic, but I'm not sure what else they could do with the character anyway, so maybe it's a good idea to end it here. Great series.
 

Mileena

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Dec 10, 2008
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I didn't like it but definitely not for some of the dumb reasons in the OP. I never once did a shootdodge into a wall because I'm not stupid.