Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Max Payne 3 (2012)

Genre: Action / 3rd Person shooter | Players: 1 - 16 (Online)
Developer: Rockstar Vancouver

MP3 is ugly. Really fuckin' ugly. It’s as it was designed by a student of Filmmaking 101 who was eager to use in a game all the filters his DV camera had to offer; all the filters his tutor told him not to use (unless the tutor was JJ Abrams). It’s a neon hell saturated in crap like TV scan lines, colour channels split and offset over the image, distortion, noise, strobes and lens flare. Why? None of it makes any sense aesthetically. I'm not lying when I say there was some FMV I couldn't even bear to watch. I had to close my eyes and just listen.

It’s a good thing it has a story, right? The 'story' (for lack of a better word) is just as bad. Max has grown up, but the writing hasn't. The dialogue is unrealistic, but realism doesn't seem to have been its primary goal, so I guess that’s okay. It seems to have been aiming for something akin to hardboiled noir. Noir is a tough thing to achieve, it requires the proper intonations and a voice that has the correct amount of gravitas. Max doesn't have that. What he does have is a personality that’s pulled out of the Big Book of Clich├ęd Personalities for the First Time Writer: Chapter One: The Washed-up Cop with a Drinking Problem.

Missions involve killing people on rooftops, killing people in nightclubs, killing people in corridors and, just to shake it up a little, killing people during on-rails action scenes; all of which can be done in slow motion.

During missions you have the option to look for clues that make no difference to the outcome whatsoever. All they do is initiate a short V/O from Max about what he thinks is happening or a recollection from his past. It helps give an insight into his tortured mind, but in truth he’s not a character that I wanted to know better.

There are some positives. Max will snap to cover behind a convenient barrier or pillar easily, from which he’s able to shoot bad guys as they run towards him like kamikaze dolls. And the targeting is reasonably accurate.

In short, MP3 is an ugly game that's perfect for people obsessed with guns and killing, but will leave those wanting a more engaging experience unfulfilled.

1½ shit sandwiches out of 5

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