I didn't know what to expect from the Max Payne 3 multiplayer. Although Rockstar's multiplayer games have always been pretty fun, none of them have stuck as a staple in social gaming. Many have been a nice aside to the cracking single-player games that they share disc space with.
This one deserves more of your time.
Expect The Expected
In terms of game modes Max Payne 3 initially feels about as average as you can get. Only four game modes are unlocked from the start, with all four of them being a form of Deathmatch. You can either go solo or team up, and you have the choice to join dedicated 'Rookie' matches or lay your balls on the line and join the more experienced.
Once you reach 50 kills, the other game modes (apart from the Hardcore versions) are unlocked. Thankfully these modes are a little more varied.
'Gang Wars' is the stand-out game mode. Your team must adapt to the round changing objectives that consist of anything from killing a VIP to capturing a bag. It keeps things fresh and constantly forces you to adjust your playing style. It's less daunting than Killzone's similar game mode, but never over simplifies things.
Then there is 'Payne Killer' where two players assume the role of Max and Passos. Loaded with all the abilities of of the single player game, including painkillers, you must rack up as many kills as possible before you're over run by the other players. Whoever gets the killer shot adopts your role.
Unfortunately Payne Killer can get a little too manic at times and that's not what makes Max Payne 3's multiplayer fun. It's worth checking out but after a few games you'll want to ditch it for Gang Wars.
Aim To Kill
Upon loading the multiplayer game, you're given the option of whether to play with 'Soft Lock' or 'Free Aim' aiming modes. I'd strongly suggest the latter. Soft Lock can at times be filled with cheap deaths with opponents being able to sharpshoot with assault rifles from the far end of maps. Getting killed is more down to who locks on rather than the skill of aiming and evading. It can also hinder your aim, with the lock usually focusing on the midriff when wanting to line up a headshot. Put the effort into free aiming and the game is far better for it.
Getting started can be quite a learning curve. If you try and play how you're used to, you'll die a lot. Max Payne 3 has been designed to be played at a slow pace. Think Rainbow Six, more than Uncharted. Time must be taken when moving from cover to cover and each move you make should be considered, as you'll be punished for running into open spaces.
Time must be taken on your load-out too. The default ones won't complement how you want to play so it is worth spending time carefully choosing your weapons, bursts and armour before stepping into a match. Failure to do so might put you off from playing any further.
Rockstar still seem a little behind when it comes to controlling a third-person character, refusing to adopt the more tradition control method that seems standard within this genre of game. Rushing from cover to cover isn't anywhere near as smooth as it should be. On the 360 version 'X' is to enter cover while 'A' remains as the usual sprint, roll and vault. Why these two different buttons weren't combined is beyond me.
Moving round corners or past doorways can't be done without pulling away from your cover leaving you open to head shots and instant deaths. An issue that has already been solved elsewhere.
One of the biggest obstacles the development team had to overcome was how to implement Bullet Time within the multiplayer. Messing with time will effect everyone else in the game, unless it's done the Max Payne 3 way.