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What We Want to See in Max Payne 3

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

What classic Max Payne elements should be left untouched in the upcoming third entry in the series?

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    Looking Ahead at Max Payne 3

    Max Payne 3 

    It’s safe to say that Max Payne 3 is easily one of the most anticipated action games slated for launch on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. After being canceled, returning, and being plagued with numerous delays, the Rockstar Games title has taken fans of the series through a complete roller coaster of anticipation. At this point, it’s hard to tell when the game will launch, but it’s interesting to think about its content and whether or not it will hold up to the standards set by its two highly impressive predecessors. Will Max still be a dark and troubled character? Will the core mechanics of the first two titles remain intact? What necessary upgrades will Rockstar implement to the formula of the Max Payne series with this third entry? It’s hard to tell what the game will be like at this stage, but one thing’s for certain: Max Payne fans want a true sequel to the franchise complete with compelling storytelling and one ridiculously depressed protagonist.

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    Gripping Plot Development

    Bald, bearded, and bulky: The new Max Payne. 

    Max Payne and Max Payne 2 featured some of the greatest storytelling in the history of Rockstar Games. Starring one of the most troubled video game protagonists around, the games delved into the emotional and psychological torture that rapidly ate away at Max, pushing him closer to the answers he sought all the while causing him more grief. We got to know Max in the first game; but in the second game, we understood how his mind worked. Max Payne 3 needs to allow players to have an intimate relationship with Max by letting them know what he’s thinking and, most importantly, what he's feeling.

    Though the game will probably be rife with interesting cutscenes to further its plot and reveal twists, Rockstar needs to make sure that it includes one of its most unique plot elements in the series: the graphic novel. Seeing still shots of Max’s expressions as he seemingly fell closer into his own insanity allowed players to understand him frame by frame, and it looked incredibly stylish at the same time. Rockstar, please keep the graphic novel elements intact in Max Payne 3; not only did this style of storytelling keep the game going at a steady pace, but it also gave the game a gritty noir vibe that was full of suspense and badassery.

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    No-Nonsense Action Gameplay

    Max has always been skilled with all manner of weaponry. 

    Part of what made Max Payne and Max Payne 2 so inviting, so engaging, so easy to pick up, and so difficult to put down was the straightforward action both of these titles were made up of. There wasn’t any puzzle solving. The game wasn’t split up into missions, with a series of sidequests to engage in. And there certainly was no open world to explore or cars to drive. Rockstar needs to stick closely with the formula that worked so well for the first two games and make Max Payne 3 a worthy successor to those titles. Taking advantage and creating a bigger world for Max to run and gun through seems ideal, and it would probably work extremely well for the game, but the developers need to stay focused on delivering an experience that doesn’t stray too far from the classic formula.

    Bigger environments and an overall bigger world are certainly welcome, but players shouldn’t lose their way due to an oversized game map. Gamers who took the time to explore the environments in the first two games were treated to some awesome and oftentimes hilarious Easter eggs. We still want to stumble upon pianos that we can play, and we certainly want to find hidden rooms with painkillers, powerful guns, and even items that trigger cutscenes or graphic novel sequences, we just don’t want to end up taking on a sidequest when there’s a main objective that needs taking care of.

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    The Necessary Gameplay Updates

    Cover mechanics, a new look, and a brand new location are just three of the changes that Rockstar is bringing to the Max Payne series. 

    Third-person shooters have come a long way. Some gamers will argue that these days Max Payne and Max Payne 2 feel a bit outdated (an argument I find completely ludicrous). Rockstar will no doubt be making more than a handful of changes to the formula. Faster aiming, new commands, and a cover system are all changes we are bound to see in the upcoming third installment in the series, and while they definitely seem like necessary changes that will successfully modernize the franchise, Rockstar needs to ensure that the original formula isn’t completely scrapped and rebuilt. The game can’t simply tell a story like its predecessors did; it needs to feel like its predecessors did while staying modern all at the same time.

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    Anticipating Max Payne's Returm

    Is that a beer belly, Mr. Payne? 

    Rockstar has done an excellent job of delivering consistently impressive titles over the past couple of years. Red Dead Redemption and the upcoming L.A. Noire instantly come to mind when you think about Rockstar’s presence in the current generation of gaming. Max Payne managed to leave its mark on the last generation by delivering two of the purest, most satisfying action romps of that era and by making gamers literally care about the protagonist. Max Payne 3 needs to push the series forward into the current generation by modernizing certain gameplay elements and mechanics, but the core framework needs to remain intact. Max may have a new look, but he still needs to be someone we can care about. New York may be in the past, but the game needs to remind us of where exactly Max came from, what he endured, and why the tragic losses of his family, his friend and partner in the police force Alex Balder, and Mona (at least on the lower difficulty settings) are still a part of who he is. What do we want to see in Max Payne 3? We want to see Max Payne, ready for the future, but never forgetting his past.