PAX East: Max Payne 3 First Look

Max Payne is back and more badass than ever. At PAX East I had a chance to play Max Payne 3, which is due in stores next month. And man is it going to be good. It’s been a few years since the last time we saw Max doling out the justice with slowed down bullet time and now he's back, fighting for his life.

In Max Payne 3 all the things about the first two games that made them great are back in full force and expanded upon to make game play more dramatic and fun. From the iconic bullet time to the fast-paced throngs of bad guys trying to ruin Max’s day, all the favorite mechanics are back. The fine folks behind this awesome game are a favorite publisher of mine in a Rockstar Games and they gave me a chance to check it out at PAX East.

I was able to play two different stages: one in New York City and the other down in Brazil. Both stages were fun to play and makes you learn on the fly, as you can fight the enemies using cover and bullet time, diving all over the place. Staying in a spot too long and the enemy will flank you or try to flush you out.

Speaking of the environments, Max has different avenues he can use to attack the enemy. He can use cover, just run and gun straight at the enemy or even just use explosive barrels or propane tanks that do some pretty good damage. I tried all different ways to attack. When you start playing you'll be able to find a style that works. I'm usually a run straight at them kind of guy, but at times found myself regretting that decision.

Moving from cover to cover worked, but I would still get flanked at times with bullet time being my ace in the hole, jumping backwards out of there while blasting the enemy away. The other cool thing about combat is that when you kill the last guy in a group of enemies you know it as the game does a slow-mo shot of the bullets killing him. It's a great way to let you know it’s safe to move on in the open.

This wouldn’t be a Max Payne game without the guns and the painkillers. I like how they used the wheel style system to access your weapons and quick button to use painkillers; the wheel style system is the same one used in Red Dead Redemption so if you played that will be a quick learn on this.

Max can also carry two small weapons and one big one as I was switching between two pistols and a pistol and sub machine gun. For the big gun I was mostly using the pump action shotgun and bigger machine gun, easily switching between the two to keep the fast pace action going. Enemies drop plenty of guns too so you never run out of ammo.

Painkillers are going to be your best friend when playing Max Payne 3. I found myself using them a bit more often than I would have liked, but still found a good number of them so it wasn’t a big issue. As Max takes damage the outline of him grows redder until you go down fatally, but painkillers in a bottle are automatically used so you don’t have to worry about jamming the painkiller button using more than you wanted to keep alive.

Your bullet time always replenishes as well, so there's no need to find anything for that. You'll be using bullet time a lot in combat and that can be the difference between moving on or dying and starting over.

Melee combat is also involved in Max Payne 3 as each weapon has a different melee kill when you have to get up close and personal. I only saw a few and they were messed up for the guy on the receiving end. You have to be careful with melee kills as if you don’t hit the button to finish the kill the enemy will punch you off of them and keep shooting at you.

Most of the time you're going to want to hang back and do what Max does best in shooting, shooting and shooting some more. They have the same free aim and soft lock that Red Dead Redemption had that works perfectly in this game too. No matter how much diving or twisting Max does the aiming stays were you put it.

When I say this game is beautiful I mean it. From the environments to the characters to the cutscenes, all look freaking awesome. For Max himself they based it off of the guy who voiced Max in the first one and he is back for this one too.

The story is going to get you hooked from the first scene to the last and when you finish the single player don’t fret as they have one badass multiplayer ready for you too. From watching the multiplayer videos and the amount of mayhem they were causing I can see the multiplayer being just as much an adrenaline rush as the single player game.

All I have to say left is May 15th can’t come soon enough as this game is going to be another winner in the Rockstar lineup. I can’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy and jump back into the world of Max Payne. Check out the official trailer below.