Gritty, booze-fuelled single player escapades aside, Max Payne 3 shocked many an avid gamer with its refreshing take on competitive multiplayer. Not only did it look as gorgeous as the campaign, the team at Rockstar crammed it with a ton of unlocks and even managed to squeeze out an innovative bullet-time mechanic.
Max Payne 3 could have easily been another cover-based shooter but, as we’ve known for well over a decade, “conventional” and “typical” are absent from Rockstar’s bullet-ridden dictionary.
Local Justice is the first major wad of content to accompany the game since launch. Those who pre-ordered Max Payne 3 from various retailers will have been entitled to various day-one perks, but none are as meaty or substantive. Available as a standalone addition or as part of Rockstar’s season pass, Local Justice features three new multiplayer maps, two loadout options, and even a new playable in-game faction, the Sao Paulo Police.
Before we get to the core of the expansion, let’s start off with the smaller tid bits. Firstly we have Light Fingers, an item/perk that can be fitted into any multiplayer loadout. Put simply, this add-on will allow players to loot bodies much faster than normal, being able to stash ammunition, grenades, money, and adrenaline whilst on the move. When grouped with the military goggles, Lucky Coin and Booby Trap (both from the Gorilla Warfare pack) you will effectively become a loot master.
Next up is the M4: easily one of the multiplayer’s more competent weapons, this latest addition to the arsenal is capable of dishing out major damage at medium/long range. Not only that, the M4 is fully integrated with nine individual attachments that unlock as you play.
As expected, the new maps featured in Local Justice are all inspired by key areas in the single player campaign, including the Departure Lounge, Imperial Palace, and 55th Battalion HQ. The former takes place in a multi-level maze with barely a safe point in site. The actual lounge itself is only one part of the map, connected to the baggage handling room via a series of office blocks, storefronts and restrooms.
Despite an initial sense of beguilement, it’s easy enough to regain your bearings; however, with so many tight corners and two fairly big open spaces, every match on Departure Lounge will be nerve-wracking to say the least.
Of equal size (or perhaps a fraction larger) is the 55th Battalion HQ. Set in downtown Sao Paulo, the main attraction here is a huge interior space that dominates a solid majority of the map. Split between three wings, the HQ takes players from the parking lot, into the reception area and then through the cell blocks and sprawling police offices.
In Max Payne 3, maps aren’t gilded with a certain engagement range in mind. There’s plenty of room to pick off enemies from afar, though it’s just as easy to grunt through a barrage of glancing shots to get up close and personal.
The simplest (and I would personally argue, best) of the bunch is the Imperial Palace. Don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t a cover-snap waltz between fancy marble pillars. Set atop one of Sao Paulo’s rundown block of flats, the Imperial Palace is a straightforward asymmetrical layout, offering a gorgeous cityscape view.
Composed of two floors, the interior section is easy to navigate, though a multitude of entry points and ramps/staircases prevent players from exploiting its natural defensive affluence. Leading out of the complex is a rooftop, complete with a dried up swimming pool and mesh fencing. It’s nowhere near as fortified as the tower, though has plenty of scattered cover points to compensate.
The maps alone would easily cover the asking price, if not for the lack of mode compatibility. Gang Wars, Max Payne 3’s unique, five-tier objective mode, can only be played on 55th Battalion HQ, the other two restricted to straight-up deathmatches and Payne Killer. Considering that the Hoboken Alleys, perhaps the smallest of the game’s stock maps, features Gang Wars support, we may well see a later amendment, but for now the option is absent.
At the end of the day, for what you’re getting it’s a decent price, especially if you caught the first-week promotion. Each of the maps are in tune with the rest of the multiplayer experience, as is the spread of extra content; it’s the perfect extension to what is already a sublime online game, if not for one or two minor hiccups. It’s an easy buy for those already engaged, galvanised by the fact that we’ve seen other publishers push far less content, at a much higher price.