Max Payne 3: The most fun I've had with a sniper rifle since my gun licence was taken away. Here's why...

Appreciating the grisly, artful beauty of Max Payne 3's killing. With a sniper rifle

This is what happens. Max's man Passos finds a hiding spot. The paramilitary hostiles close on his position. If Passos is discovered it's game over. I line up the shot and take out the enemy closest to him. He goes down. But he doesn't just go down. He flails and jerks and staggers about before rolling head first down the stadium's steep steps. He keeps rolling. All the way to the bottom. Like a human slinky. He finally comes to rest. A crumpled puzzle of limbs. I always love it when baddies die with a flourish - a little theatrical flair can go a long way when it comes to getting shot dead - and Max Payne 3's baddies are quite the performers when it comes to getting shot dead. Honestly, I haven't had so much fun with the Euphoria engine and some steps since we did this in GTA IV:

Much to my delight, there are more enemies to snipe. And I experience additional delight watching each one twist and turn and bounce and slide and thump their way down the steps. Beautiful. But it gets better. This is just the foreplay. The ballistic money shot is still to come. I set my scope on the last remaining soldier, take careful aim and fire. Instantly the camera switches to 'final kill cam' view and follows the bullet.

When the kill cam has been triggered (which only happens when taking down the final enemy of an area), players have the ability to slow down the bullet. Obviously I slow it down to the maximum and watch like a jolly psychotic as the pointed projectile scores a direct hit in the enemy's nut-sack, which in-turn elicits an explosion of haemoglobin juice and causes the target to recoil in a manner befitting someone who has just been shot in the nut-sack. And while still enjoying the gruesome spectacle of the final kill cam, I fire another shot and watch as that too hits home like an exploding bug on a windscreen made of meat.

Above: When not using the sniper rifle, Max Payne does a lot of this sort of thing

There's still more. As the kill cam finally releases the fatally perforated paramilitary bullet sponge from his state of suspended animation, I watch as he takes a particularly amusing bumpy trip to the bottom of the steps. All things considered, it's been an incredibly bloody entertaining death of a video game goon to watch. The death of video game goons is rarely as entertaining as this. It is a thing to celebrate.

And so the rest of the sniper section continues until Passos reaches safety and Max returns to killing bad dudes dead via the dynamic medium of diving and shooting in one mighty impressive synchronised expression. It's gunplay with barely time to take a breath between bullets. But the sniper section is a wonderful interlude that affords a little time to really appreciate the grisly, artful beauty of Max Payne 3's killing. And it is fun.

If you want more information on Max Payne 3 you should definitely read our 11 things you need to know about Max Payne 3 preview. And if you're interested in the act of sniping you should almost certainly investigate our article on Sniping in war and videogames: Why it's hated, why it's loved and why we do it. It's a classic.

Max Payne 3 is scheduled for Xbox 360 and PS3 release on May 15 (North America) and May 18 (Europe). The PC version is scheduled for release May 29 (North America) and June 1 (Europe).


I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.
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