Max Payne 3

One of the greatest game studios in the world, Rockstar Games, of Grand Theft Auto fame, resurrected an almost dead franchise several years after the second installment. Max Payne has been a favorite ‘noir’ styled 3rd person shooter that captured the interest (and dollars) of millions of gamers around the world. The innovative “bullet-time”, which Max Payne is known for, became an instant hit. Slowing down the action… sequences while jumping sideways with two M10 sub-machine guns never gets old! Max Payne 3 was released on June 1, 2012 for the PC and Rockstar made the right decision to include graphics options such as ambient occlusion, high levels of anti-aliasing, and anisotropic filtering along with several DX11 features that would test even the very best of systems out there. At Thirty Inch Reviews, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on this blast-fest of a game!


Since Max Payne 3 is a Rockstar title, it is hard for us to ignore Grand Theft Auto and specifically GTA IV and its mechanics. Max Payne 3 is a gigantic step forward in terms of gameplay, controls, and visual effects. One of the coolest aspects of Max Payne 3 is the ‘bullet-time’ feature; slow down time to watch your adversaries hit the ground with their face torn apart! Brutal, violent, bloody, but highly gratifying are some of the colorful words we would use to describe the experience that is Max Payne 3. With an older, fatter, and balder Max, the game takes place predominantly in Brazil, with a flash-back episode back in the States, in Hoboken.


The controls for the PC version (what else?) of Max Payne 3 are pretty intuitive; similar to an FPS game where you shoot with Mouse-1 and aim/zoom with Mouse-2 along with the WASD keys etc. The shoot-dodge mechanic – where you go into bullet-time  and dodge bullets at the same time – works fantastically and makes for some really artistic ‘kills’. Isn’t that sad? We talk about blasting people in video-games as “art”? What a beautiful “sad” that is! hehe..

As Max guns down dozens of favela thugs, paramilitary chumps, and greaseballs on the streets of Brazil, you start to wonder whether the game gets repetitive. After all, you run around, shoot, eat painkillers to “heal” yourself, and rescue women in distress. The answer is most definitely ‘NO’. The combination of slow-motion (bullet-time), kill-cams, where the bullets’ perspective is seen as they rip through the heart of the foe, and better-than-average AI makes for some really interesting gun battles.


The single-player campaign took about ten (10) hours on “Normal” difficulty and was thoroughly enjoyable. There were some peccadilloes along the way such as boring dialogue and Max’s loquacity. Rockstar Games’ decision to pepper the game with intermittent words on the screen to appear more cinematic is a hit or miss for most people. For us at ThirtyIR, it was a hit in that it brought a relatively new style land appearance to the game. The lack of those lame ‘loading’ screens were done away with thanks to ingenious “cut-scenes” that don’t look like cut-scenes at all. After the 25th time, however, these cut-scenes with drugged out-tweaker effects on screen can give you a headache. It gives you the idea that Max Payne is one dipsomaniac who has a penchant for brutally murdering dozens of random dudes with guns. Sounds like a swell chap!

The multi-player mode made its first appearance in the Max Payne series in Max Payne 3. It was received with some skepticism mainly due to the ubiquity of multi-player in so many games these days; even games that are seemingly reserved for single-player modes only! It seems to have garnered some good press but at ThirtyIR, we found the MP in MP3 rather stale. The lack of bullet-time, except in short bursts here and there, and the aimless wandering around trying to gun down other players got boring really fast. We kept going back to the single-player campaign and playing the ‘Score Attack’ mode where you can play any chapter in the single-player campaign once you’ve completed it for some quick points and a chance to rank up! Check out some videos of the various Score Attack chapters below:


Nvidia Surround (5160×2560):

With ‘Surround’ gaming (or Eyefinity if you’re an AMD fan) taking off and the price of computer monitors generally declining, multi-monitor setups are no longer a distant dream for many gamers. Of course, at ThirtyIR, we pulled out all the stops and got the highest end triple 30-inch monitor setup! Thankfully, Rockstar had enough sense to make sure the PC version of the game had several graphical options such as ambient occlusion and anisotropic filtering to get the best visual experience from the game. At ThirtyIR, we maxed out every setting on the menu except for anti-aliasing. Even with four GTX-680 Classified (4GB) GPUs in 4-Way SLI, the VRAM only allowed for 2x MSAA. We tried to force it through NVIDIA Inspector but the game was simply not stable at a higher AA setting mainly because every other setting, including HDAO ambient occlusion, was turned on and the resolution was set to a gargantuan 5160×2560 pixels; that’s pushing more than 13 MILLION pixels per second at a frame rate of over 85 FPS! You do the math!


The gameplay was silky smooth in Surround mode and we were able to maintain over 85 FPS in most situations. During heavy action scenes, the frame-rate would drop to around 50 FPS but that was sporadic enough not to ruin the fun.With the FoV automatically adjusting to the massive resolution we played at, Max Payne 3 is one of the best games of 2012. Great graphics, great music, great action, and even a mediocre story-line makes for some awesome gaming!


Max Payne has been a series that catapulted to the top of many gamers’ hearts more than a decade ago. With the release of Max Payne 2 more than eight (8) years before Max Payne 3, fans of the franchise were getting impatient and anxious for a sequel. Rockstar Games did not disappoint fans with Max Payne 3. Although, the lackluster sales does speak otherwise, yet Max Payne 3, at least for us here at ThirtyIR, was a thoroughly enjoyable game that has amazing graphics, gameplay, and mechanics that any gamer would enjoy. Especially with superior hardware and Surround/Eyefinity setups, Max Payne 3 really shines and is an indication of things to come from Rockstar Games (GTA V anyone?).




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