Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter video game developed by Rockstar Vancouver and published by Rockstar Games. It was first released on 15 May 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, followed by a release on 31 May 2012 on Microsoft Windows and on 20 June 2013 on OS X. It is the third title in the Max Payne series, and the first main entry since Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne in 2003, which was developed by Remedy Entertainment.
In Max Payne 3, the player controls Max Payne, a former NYPD detective who had became a vigilante after his wife and daughter were brutally murdered. Nine years after the events of the second game, Max meets Raul Passos, who gets him the job as a private security contractor in Brazil. He quickly finds himself constantly encountering difficult situations, which leads him on a search for the culprits of deaths and betrayals. An online multiplayer mode is included with the game, allowing up to 16 players to engage in both co-operative and competitive gameplay in recreations of multiple single-player settings.
Video game critics gave Max Payne 3 highly acclaimed reviews. Praise focused on its story and action, while criticism was targeted at the sharp departure in tone and style that defined the original games. The game also received high sales, shipping approximately 3 million units in the first week of release. Max Payne 3 also won, and was nominated for, several industry awards, including Best Animation at Machinima's Inside Gaming Awards, and various nominations at the Spike Video Game Awards.
Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter in which the player assumes the role of its titular character, Max Payne. Max Payne 3 features a similar over-the-shoulder camera as its predecessors, with the addition of a cover mechanic, while also retaining much of the same run-and-gun style of gameplay. Max Payne 3 also marks the return of bullet time in action sequences, for which the franchise is notable. In bullet time it is possible to see every bullet strike an enemy in detail. New to the series is a "Last Stand" mechanic, which gives the player a grace period after losing all health during which time the player may kill the enemy that wounded them in order to continue playing, however this mechanic is only usable if the player has one or more bottles of painkillers in their possession.
Max Payne 3 retains the shoot-dodge mechanic from the previous games in the series. Players are able to stay grounded after a dive, which enables them to shoot 360 degrees around. Rockstar has blended physics and animation, so that when a player dives, they do so appropriately according to their surroundings. Through advanced use of the Euphoria dynamic animation engine, shooting and killing enemies in Max Payne 3 will look noticeably more realistic than in any preceding Rockstar game.
New to the series are cinematic action movements, interactive cutscenes which transition seamlessly into continuing gameplay. Moreover there are no loading screens across gameplay and cutscenes.
The game's online multiplayer features maps and modes that dynamically change within a match, as well as reward, ranking and clan systems. Max Payne 3 lets players form private crews with friends, or join public crews. Players can be a member of up to five at the same time, and completing tasks as a crew gain XP points for the player. Among the crew features promised are persistent Feuds, that see the player scrapping with opposing gangs who've killed someone on the team. Social Club integration connect play across multiple titles, starting with Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. By playing both games multiplayer "crews" that the player set up in one will be carried over to the other.
According to Rockstar's Sam Houser, it was their intention to start a new chapter of Max Payne's life with the game: "This is Max as we've never seen him before, a few years older, more world-weary and cynical than ever." The press release states that since the last game, Max has left New York City behind and "drifted from bad to worse." The press release goes on to say Max has been double-crossed in this new city and is searching for both the truth and a way out. The game is set in São Paulo, Brazil, several years after the events of "the first ending" of the second game. Max Payne now works in executive protection for the wealthy Rodrigo Branco and his family in the hopes of escaping the memories of his troubled past. When a street gang kidnaps Rodrigo's wife, Max is pulled into a conspiracy of shadowy, warring factions threading every aspect of São Paulo society in a deadly web that threatens to engulf everyone and everything around him.
Nine years after the death of Mona Sax, Max Payne has left the NYPD and spends his days at a bar in Hoboken, New Jersey, nursing his alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. During a drunken argument, Max kills the only son of local mob boss Anthony DeMarco, who puts a price on his head. After killing most of DeMarco's gang, Max decides to leave New Jersey with Raul Passos, an old classmate from the police academy who helped him defeat DeMarco's cronies, taking a job as a private security contractor in South America.
Max and Passos work for the wealthy Branco family in São Paulo, consisting of three brothers: Rodrigo, a real-estate mogul, Victor, a local politician, and the hard-partying socialite Marcelo. At a private party, Max saves Rodrigo and his young wife Fabiana from members of the Comando Sombra, a street gang based in the neighboring favela. Although momentarily safe, the gang strikes again, ambushing Max, Marcelo, Fabiana and her sister Giovanna at a nightclub. Although Max resists, the Sombra successfully kidnap Fabiana and demand a ransom of $3 million, to be delivered at a football stadium. At the site of the meet, the deal is interrupted by the Crachá Preto, an outlaw, right-wing paramilitary unit, who kill the Commando Sombra and steal the money. Max and Passos narrowly escape with their lives and meet with the Branco family for their next move. Victor suggests they rely on Armando Becker and his Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), a special police unit, to oversee Fabiana's safe return. Victor, Passos, Marcello and Becker leave via chopper, moments before the Crachá Preto abruptly raid the Branco offices.
Max fights off the Crachá Preto and returns to Rodrigo's secured office, only to find Rodrigo assassinated and a bomb waiting for him. Max narrowly escapes the blast. He learns that Fabiana is being held in the Nova Esperança favela and that the Crachá Preto raid was meant for Max, as vengeance for the deaths of the Crachá Preto operatives at the stadium. Blaming himself for what has transpired, Max swears off alcohol and informs Victor and Marcelo undercover into Nova Esperança to save Fabiana. He finds Detective Wilson Da Silva, who reveals that the Crachá Preto had links with Rodrigo, who hired them to clear out villages on land he intended to turn into a retail development. Da Silva thinks the UFE and Victor are all connected.
In the favela, Max finds Fabiana with Marcelo and Giovanna, who were kidnapped while trying to pay Fabiana's ransom themselves. Max attempts to save them, but Comando Sombra's leader Serrano executes Fabiana and escapes with Giovanna and Marcelo. The UFE raids the favela, and Max witnesses them collaborate with the Crachá Preto, selling them the people they arrested during the raids. Max later finds Marcello and Giovanna being held by Milo Rego, the Crachá Preto's second-in-command. He witnesses the Crachá Preto necklace Marcello, and subsequently kills them, including Rego, in a fit of fury, saving Giovanna in the process. After going on the run from the Crachá Preto, Passos arrives in a helicopter, rescuing Giovanna but abandoning Max, who is then saved by Da Silva.
Da Silva reveals that Passos worked for Victor until he hired Max. Max recalls the time when Passos and he worked as security for a yacht party for Marcelo near Panama, which was attacked by Panamanian soldiers in the Panama Canal. Max escaped the yacht to find Marcelo and Passos trying to drive away with unknown cargo. It hits Max that he was recruited by Passos to be the "fall guy" for whatever illicit activity the Brancos were involved in. Da Silva deduces that Passos and Victor set him up, so Victor would gain access to his brother's wealth and garner sympathy for elections. Da Silva informs Max about a rundown building, the Imperial Palace Hotel, where the Crachá Preto and UFE are seen entering with prisoners, yet none leave. Max discovers it is the base for a black market organ theft ring and corrupt UFE officers are being paid to deliver the detainees for organ harvesting. He rescues the remaining detainees, including Serrano; who had been taken by the UFE not long after killing Fabiana, before confronting Arthur Fischer, the doctor working for the Crachá Preto to harvest the organs, whom he allows Serrano to kill in retribution for his crimes.
Max sets explosives to destroy the entire complex, and Passos saves Max by killing Crachá Preto leader Álvaro Neves. Passos admits the plot was to get Rodrigo to share his wealth, and Marcelo and Victor pressured him into it. Passos apologizes and Max forgives him. Passos then leaves Brazil with a pregnant Giovanna to protect both himself and his new family from Victor's attempts to eliminate them. Since Da Silva cannot take any action due to extreme corruption within the police, he asks that Max turn himself in to find incriminating evidence linking the UFE and Victor to the crimes of the Crachá Preto and the Comando Sombra. Max does so and frees himself, finding the surveillance CD stolen from Rodrigo's office and learning the identity of his assassin, Bachmayer, Becker's second-in-command in the UFE. Max kills Bachmayer in vengeance for Rodrigo's murder and confronts Becker. Victor disables Max and holds him at gunpoint and explains that he wanted more money from his brother for his political campaign: He told the Crachá Preto to ambush the money exchange at the stadium, which went toward funding the organ harvesting ring, the profits of which helped fund his campaign.
Victor and Becker escape to the airport with Max in pursuit. After an intense shootout with the UFE, he catches up with Victor and Becker who are preparing to board a jet. Becker and his men try to stop Max and allow Victor time to escape, with Becker himself using a grenade launcher to try to kill Max, but Max shoots one of the grenades in mid-air, which results in the burning and maiming of Becker (who loses an arm). Max then has a choice of whether to finish off the critically injured Becker or not; however Becker's wounds prove fatal leaving him to bleed to death if Max decides not to finish him himself. Max then grabs his grenade launcher and, with Da Silva's help, uses it to eliminate the remaining UFE and to disable Victor's plane. Following the destruction of the plane, Max approaches a disabled Victor with the intent to kill him, but he relents after Da Silva persuades him to spare Victor so he will answer for the crimes he committed. Victor goads Max in the belief that he will walk free, leading Max to break his leg.
A week later, Max watches the news at a bar in Bahia. The remains of Becker's UFE battalion has been disbanded indefinitely due to their ties to the illegal organ harvesting ring, while Victor has been found hanged in his cell, although the circumstances of his death are unclear as to whether he committed suicide or was murdered in retribution for his crimes. Max leaves the bar and walks onto the beach and into the sunset, satisfied with the outcome of the last few weeks, and having found some solace after all the years of heartache.