Initially I started playing this game under the belief that it was free roam. I'm a huge Rockstar fan and one of the main reasons for this is because they understand how to make a sandbox environment and they know how to make it incredible. So, when I found out that this was NOT a free roam game I was a little bit upset about it.
The first mission was a little bit frustrating. Whilst I did want to know the story, I also wanted to play the game. The 10 minute FMV at the beginning didn't make that easy. Max is an awesome character. He had this "Breaking Bad" moment where he shaved his head and kept the beard and I must say he looks quite badass. Once you get into the game you find out that you're on a mission to protect some people from danger. Usual story line ensues! You are there to protect them from danger so they are immediately put in danger by some sort of local terrorist group.
Your first mission on the game is a tough one. They kept the health system basically the same. Knock back a few pain killers to recover health. If you're like me, though, and decide to play this in hard mode then it does not help much. 3 shots and you're dead, usually. So, I did this Mass Effect style. I turned Max Payne into a cover based shooter! I love the new techniques in killing. When you kill the last enemy in any area the game will go into slow motion and show you a very graphic explosion from where the bullet went through the bad guy.
Pushing through the game you learn some of the unique abilities to help you get through some of the tougher areas in the game. One I particularly like is the slow motion dive. You basically dive in slow motion and kill as many people as possible. I think my record dive is 8 seconds but I'm sure people have probably beaten that score. The integration of Rockstar's "Social Club" makes the game that little more intense as you are trying to compete with your friends scores and survive to the next checkpoint at the same time!
The next ability is just to slow down time. Each time you kill an enemy a little bar will fill up. The more juice you got in there, the longer slow mo' will last. If the bar is full you have roughly 6-8 seconds of slow motion, which is helpful when enemies charge at you with a shotgun or AK-47, and ohhhh boy do they charge. So many times I was on the last enemy in an area and he just charged at me and got me while I was reloading.
The game is mission based. You go from mission to mission and slowly fight your way across São Paulo, Brazil. Along the way you can pick up pieces to assemble golden versions of your weapons. Each gun requires 3 pieces and they are scattered everywhere. So not only are you fighting enemies but you are also looking in the corners of every single area and looking for weapons or clues. Clues are usually around the place as well and they just give you more information about the people you're after or the area you're in. You can also watch tv, there's something that Rockstar seem dead set on putting in every game!
All-in-all the game is not what I expected but it still incredibly good. Whether you like dual pistol slow motion from behind cover or you just like to charge in with a shotgun and destroy rooms filled with gun-toting lunatics, this is the game for you. Rockstar brought their A-game with them and presented an awesome game. My ONLY complaint is the constant wavy screen. Every time there's a new sequence or you take pills or anything happens that's not running, shooting or reloading, it causes the screen to go wavy. Mostly for memory sequences too. The fact it is not sandbox is sad to be too because I like a game with good replay value and realistically, other than to collect the golden gun parts, this is not a replay game. This is a play it once and trade it in style game! If you can rent it for a week, I would suggest that more. Besides this I actually have no fault with the game, it's certainly an awesome game to play.
Overall Score: 8/10
- Ken Seiler