Game blog: Stealth in Max Payne 3

Nearing the end of my attempt to get to multiplayer level 50 of Max Payne 3, I’m anticipating a change of pace with the next game on my roster, Hitman: Absolution.

While anticipating stealthy shenanigans, I was reminded of a curious moment of supposed stealth in Max Payne 3.  It’s is an action game through and through.  For some reason there is a point in a level midway through the game that asks you to be stealthy.  You’ve already massacred half of Brazil’s population by this point, drenched in the blood of countless bodies, a trail of bullet shells and widows in your wake.  Now the game presents you with the following scenario:

Shhh, I'm being stealthy here!

Shhh, I’m being stealthy here!

Two men loading a truck with supplies.  It’s dark and raining.  Enemies are in a nearby building.  Max mumbles via voice over that he doesn’t want to alert the nearby bad guys.  Note that thus far there has been no stealth aspect to the game, and after this scene there won’t be either.  Max can’t sneak up on people.  He has no neck-breaking Jason Bourne move.

I’ve tried to manoeuvre past this scene in a variety of ways, but ultimately the game wants you to shootdodge (fly through the air in slo-mo, John Woo/Wachowski style) while firing your silencer-equipped gun and headshot the two men before they have time to yell in surprise.  It’s the only way to progress without alerting enemies.

About thirty seconds later once you’ve rounded the corner, you have to get into a loud and violent shootout with the enemies you didn’t want to alert anyway.  So what was the point of the stealth request previously?

Rockstar.  Flying through the air in slo-mo while firing a gun is not stealth.  Don’t shoehorn something that doesn’t belong.  Max is a “dumb-move guy”, he doesn’t do stealth.  Maybe the point of the scene is to add humour at Max’s bumbling attempt at being sneaky, but it’s still a wasted opportunity.

By contrast, I’m hoping Hitman doesn’t force me into killing the other half of Brazil with a building-sized chainsaw.  The poor country couldn’t catch a break with Max Payne 3, they made Sao Paulo look worse than Kabul.  I imagine there’s a Brazilian version of Max who somehow survived the extermination of his people and has made it his mission in life to hunt down Max Payne and deliver justice.  Once that has been enacted, he will wander off into the sunset, the last of his people, a symbol of defiance.

He is later arrested for littering.

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