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

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).


  • bebl09 - March 22, 2012 7:53 p.m.

    How about the whole of Sniper Elite for PS2 (and I think PC and Xbox)? The sniping in that was so much more than just point and shoot, having to take into account wind and gravity, masking gunshots with the sound of artillery or bombs going off, etc made it an awesome experience. Scoring a slow motion headshot, where the camera followed the bullet all the way to the target, from 200+ metres away was something to behold.
  • mothbanquet - March 22, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Cundy with a gun licence... *Gulp*
  • PBC13 - March 21, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    I have to nominate the COD4 sniper section as well. Good to see someone mention Bulletstorm as well. That was ridiculous fun. I also think the sniper part of COD World at War was pretty fun as well. But, more to the point, Max Payne looks amazing.
  • viberunner - March 21, 2012 2:17 p.m.

    Those are two good choices, also for consideration is the mighty GRAW 2 (Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2), which if you don't have it is a game that just about everyone, ever, should own.
  • Stegga - March 21, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    I quite enjoyed the sniping in Bulletstorm. Watching the poor soldiers run away like a little girl before shoving an explosive bullet right up their ass is just too much fun.
  • AGENTJORRRG - March 21, 2012 7:43 a.m.

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...still sounds like an escort/defend mission. As much as I dislike the Euphoria engine, with it's gyroscopic people handling, I will give it this. It sure as hell can do falling down stairs.
  • DannyMB - March 21, 2012 4:45 a.m.

    As much as I dislike what the series became, "All Ghillied Up" in the original Modern Warfare was an amazing sniper section.
  • AGENTJORRRG - March 21, 2012 7:44 a.m.

    This is true. DannyMB wins.
  • bebl09 - March 22, 2012 7:51 p.m.

    This was also basically the first thing I thought of. Best section from a CoD game ever.
  • Mooshon - March 21, 2012 4:31 a.m.

    The best articles make me excited about games I was previously utterly indifferent about. This is one. Crumpled puzzle of limbs!

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