This was where I got my first impressions of Max Payne 3’s multiplayer and I was hooked from my first kill. I was sat at Xbox #1, it was totally by accident but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me a false sense of superiority at the time, and to my right was a Rockstar chap who I shall refer to as #10 as that was his console number. By the end of that first Team Deathmatch game we were locked in a heated rivalry.
Long range grenade kills, Bullet Timing me to death while leaping off a bus, taking out one time with a swift kick to the back of the skull; we were really going at it. It was hectic gameplay but not manic, if that makes sense. The action was intense and brutal but it wasn’t unmanageably fast-paced; though hearing “Sorry, darling” from him every time he gunned me down was certainly beginning to toast my testicles. This was when I found out about Vendettas and Wagers.
Vendettas are a Max Payne 3 favourite of mine though, because if you get killed by a certain enemy 3 times (or more depending on the game mode) you have the option to set a vendetta against them. This means that if you kill them next you get a well deserved cash and XP bonus for your troubles. Be cautious, however, because if they kill you first after the Vendetta is set then they get all of that bounty out of your pocket; a fact I learned frequently thanks to #10.
The next game mode up was Payne Killer (I see what they did there). If you played the Dead Man Walking mode back in the Max Payne 2 days then you’ll likely have a slight feeling of déjà vu coming on with the next few sentences. Matches start as a standard deathmatch deal, but once a kill occurs the player who makes the kill becomes Max and the newly deceased becomes Passos (one of the lead characters from the game’s single player), with their objective being to team up and kill as many other players as possible while staying alive themselves. All other players then become one single team who’s sole objective is to kill Max and Passos.
Once Max or Passos gets killed the player who killed them takes their place, while the original player joins the team of merry rebels trying to kill Max and Passos. It’s not necessarily the final blow that decides who gets to be the new King of the game however, the game measures who dealt the most damage, who made the killing shot, and of course who lived through the whole ordeal to claim the prize.
The premise pretty much comes down to King of the Hill with player characters. It’s just so damn stressful being Max or Passos though! The second I became either I was Bullet Timing my way through every possible window and doorway, and vaulting over any nearby fence or wall just to try and keep my fat ass alive and running. The way it tries to push two random players to work together is quite brilliant but it’s a spark of pure genius that it does not actually require any co-operation.
I could happily Bullet Time my way through the nearest pane of glass and leave Passos to have his Cheerios tasting like lead for the next week with little consequence to me, other than having a different player running around to co-operate with. This was the mode we ended up playing the most throughout the day because that burning, unending desire to be the best was most comprehensively proven in Payne Killer more than any other mode. The highest I managed to place throughout the day was 6th. Out of 8 players. Shut up. I took 1st place in Team Deathmatch, on my first game having never played it before, but you didn’t see me bragging up above, did you?!
Finally, we have ourselves a good old fashioned Gang War. This is Max Payne 3’s self-proclaimed bread and butter for multiplayer. This one is incredibly difficult to describe because it dynamically changes based on what occurred in the round before, creating a microcosm of narrative gameplay within every complete game.
Simply put, you play 5 rounds, each with different dynamic modes and objectives. The team with the most overall points after all rounds are completed takes home the gold. The objectives which we played on the day varied from Deathmatches, running packages to random rally points, having to kill certain players, having a set number of lives per player, having a set number of lives per team, and capture point modes. There is a good chance we didn’t actually get to play all of the modes available and this was, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite game mode of the pack we played.
Some rounds lasted 15 minutes and some lasted under two. No one player on either team ever seemed to be the true champion, including experienced Rockstar players, and every round was as ridiculously enjoyable as the next.
The customisable loadouts were a real bonus here because once you knew what objective you were after in the round you could cater your personal arsenal to match. Alternatively, you could do what I did and always make sure to have an RPG class handy; over time, this steadily made me the most hated person in the room. I did, however, get a double kill, cross map, RPG first blood kill against two Rockstar players.
I’m not saying it was the proudest moment of my life, I’m merely stating that it was only second to the time I actually sat down and completed E.T. For the Atari 2600 in one afternoon. Every single mode was stunning though, I just think Gang Wars won my recommendation because of the sheer variety being put forward. Rockstar have definitely put their best foot forward with this flagship multiplayer mode.
Max Payne 3 is set to release on May 18th of this year, and if you have any other questions about the multiplayer portion of the game which I missed then please feel free to leave them in the comments down below and I will answer as many as I can – to the best of my ability.
This post was written by Duncan Aird.