How does the difficulty level compare...

#1 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) - the first two games? I just about managed to complete the first two, although they stretched my gaming abilities to the limits near the end. I was considering choosing the middle option for the auto-aiming on Max Payne 3 (soft-targeting?).


I'm so glad to read that it's the same voice actor playing Max again for MP3. His voice and the whole atmosphere (and the bullet time of course) really made the first two games for me.


Is anyone else going to play the first two games on the Xbox before this one, and do the whole trilogy? I definitely am. I do that a lot, I recently did it with the Deus Ex trilogy, I'm going to do it with the Mass Effect trilogy (twice actually, evil then good), and may well do the whole Halo collection once Halo 4 comes out.

#2 Posted by DaDumb1 (3844 posts) -

Well the AI is much, MUCH better and is where the majority of the difficulty comes from. I would say this game is probably the most tactical out of the 3. This game requires a balance between constant movement and defense, you won't be able to be quite as agressive as in the past games.

#3 Posted by Hatz82 (26 posts) -
Yeah this one is definitely tougher than the other two. And I've beaten both earlier games on DOA mode many times. Poster above me touched on a few things. AI is definitely smarter. It can also take a lot more punishment for whatever reason, which is why headshots are really what you need to concentrate on. You need to learn to use cover in this one. You can't just slap bullet time on and run around in beast mode all the time like you can in Max Payne 2. You'll get killed with a quickness in many situations. That's actually another thing: it seems like you can take less punishment in this one but that's just what it feels like to me. I can't speak for any of the aim assist options. I know that they've got hard and soft lock, then free aim but they also have two other options besides that (reticule slows down when getting close to an enemy and reticule will follow enemies that are moving). I turned free aim on and those other two options off so I'm essentially trying to play this like I would with a mouse and keyboard, except I'm using dualshocks. That could maybe be a reason why this is tougher. I don't know. It could just be that this one plays a tad bit differently and I'm not used to it. Game is still ridiculously fun though.
#4 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Great, thanks for that. I actually enjoy games with cover systems, so hopefully doing that combined with a bit of bullet time, and soft-targeting, and it should be fun. I'm very relieved that it's turned out to be a great game though. Can't count the number of times I've played the first two.

#5 Posted by HeartBreakKID1 (147 posts) -

I've died many many times on my way to chapter 8 because of my lack of familiarity with the control system, I even had to change the control type cuz I couldn't seem to get used to Type 1. I played the first 2 on PC because Mouse/Keyboard>Dualshock all day, but I don't think my cpu has the specs to handle this kinda game, so PS3 it is. I agree with DaDumb and Hatz, the enemies this time around are more durable than before, and that's part of why I kept dying lol. Also, add to the fact that Max seems to damage easier, and you can see why the cover system was implemented. I'm afraid of what the highest difficulty is like if I'm having problems with the normal difficulty.

#6 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Sounds like I might go for normal difficulty and whatever the easiest targeting system is then.

#7 Posted by SaibotF8 (498 posts) -

I'm playing on Hard and its ridiculously tough. You die so easily and ammo and health can be scarce at times, but its still a blast.  I'm also using free aim which doesn't help.  Medium I assume won't be a cake walk, but if you die a lot of times in a row the game will start giving you extra pain pills and ammo.  The AI is also VERY aggressive.

#8 Posted by tobykennedy (36 posts) -

my advice would be to start it on normal difficulty, with the soft lock. I did this just to experience the story first (and it was still difficult at some parts). Started hard mode last night, so far so good, although you do die extremely quickly. Hard mode does make you feel like a G when you clear up an area in style, and it kinda encourages you to do so as you need to keep moving 

#9 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Yeah, normal and soft-lock sounds good to me.

#10 Posted by vivalatour (1117 posts) -


 max 1 & 2 to mp3 is = apples & oranges !

#11 Posted by res123123 (231 posts) -

Jut had a go on hardcore after beating it on hard and if anyone beats th game on that level then i take my hat off to them. 2 hits and your dead.

#12 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

I've just read that this game has adaptable difficulty (or whatever it's called). So if you die multiple times at a certain point, then the game gives sends you back to the latest checkpoint with more ammo and painkillers each time. Is this true? I really wish all games could have this, or at least have the option of having this.

Also, having just started playing MP 1 with a view to playing the trilogy, I've come to remember that MP 1 and 2 really are quite hardcore games (in my opinion) compared to a lot of today's games. I'm playing on Easy (it was Easy or Hard - no Medium), and I'm quite far in, and it's a decent challenge. And unlike most of today's games, there are no regenerating shields, no regenerating health, no pausing to change weapons, and you can die if shot point-blank.

#13 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

...there are no regenerating shields, no regenerating health, no pausing to change weapons, and you can die if shot point-blank.ianpwilliams

Keep in mind that MP 2 had regenerating bullet time though, which frankly made it far easier than MP1 if you just waited for it to fill and kept using shoot dodge. There's no cover system in MP 1&2, but as said, the AI also aren't as adept. They pretty much stay in one spot as you charge them. The AI in MP 3 will charge and flank you. As far as adaptable difficulty, I've never really experienced (or needed) that on PC. Since gamepads are the only devices that allow soft and hard lock aiming, adpative difficulty may be specific to console versions of the game.

To a degree, the addition of cover balances with the better AI, but there are many places where you're going to have to think beyond the box MP 1&2 puts you in and get more creative. Fortunately MP3 gives you many ways to do that. There's cinematic moments where you're hanging from a crane hook and such in slo mo where taking out as many as possible will make what follows easier. There's explodable containers and gas station tanks you can shoot in places, and enrionmental traps like buses and cars on repair lifts. You can also blow up cars by shooting bullets or grenades at them.

The staples of player ingenuity comes in the form of skillfully combining shoot dodges with the snap-to cover system to fluidly chain together well aimed dodges from cover to cover though. There are also places where you can safely crouch fire without the assist of bullet time to build up more bullet time. If well positioned, unaided prone firing is also an effective way to fairly safely build up bullet time.

The demo vids tend to showcase running and gunning in bullet time a lot, but it is in fact one of the least effective ways to use bullet time, esp if zig zag strafing left and right as they show. There's a bit of built-in (but realistic) response lag when Max changes direction, which hampers this style of play. You are much better off taking quick advantage of those entering a room and/or repositioning yourself to use a choke point. Even combining rolls with taps of bullet time shots when you're upright are better than this zigging and zagging they show.

What's nice about the cover system is it isn't extremely restrictive. While bound to it you can at any time do a shoot dodge over it, away from it, or to the left or right of it. You can also immediately snap to it while prone if you land near it with a shoot dodge. You can also minimize how much bullet time you use while shoot dodging by tapping the bullet time key at any time mid dodge. This means you can also use shoot dodge more to just dive safley to a cover spot than shoot while mid air if you want. This is key because sometimes all it takes to handle a battle well is how you position your self at the start. Movement while crouched though is extremely slow and even a bit jittery at times, but still very effective to use in certain situations.

#14 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

So as stated earlier, it sounds like MP 3 is quite a bit more tactical.

#15 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

So as stated earlier, it sounds like MP 3 is quite a bit more tactical.ianpwilliams

Well honestly you can play it tactically or run n gun, or in MP's case you might say dodge n gun. What style you choose is going to depend on how well you know the game, what diff level you play on, and of course your skill.

The only time I started feeling a bit frustrated was in getting Platinum medals from the 7th chapter on in New York Minute. The only frustrating part of the campaign was the start of the last chapter on the two highest difficulty levels. It's a spot where you don't have much to work with, but I found a way to get past it fairly easily.

The campaign kinda spoils you because you can take your time and in most spots, there's plenty of ammo. NYM involves precision and speed and of course protecting yourself at the same time. It's not hard if you just intend to beat the time vs medal though.

#16 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

I've started it, and it is a bit of a pain, although I'm slowly getting used to it.


I generally don't like games where you character kind of takes an extra step when you stop or turn. I know it's more realistic like that, but it's also harder.


I also don't like the way that although you are encouraged to look around for clues, painkillers, ammo, guns etc, at the same time Max keeps going on at you about how you need to keep going, and if you don't then eventually it's actually game over.


But the atmosphere is spot-on. Max's voice is as great as ever, as is the music.


And the shooting is fun of course. Although I really can't see the point of playing on hard-lock really. So it's soft-lock for me, starting on normal, but no doubt switching to easy once I reach a tough boss fight.

#17 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

Honestly, I would never ever play a game like this with a gameplad, but then I started out my gaming on PC with KB/M, so. Yeah the movement is a little clumsy, esp if you strafe back and forth in bullet time like they show in the demo vids, but despite Max being an old fart, Spec Ops: The Line's younger, thinner protagonist is even clumsier, sliding to a stop and a bit slow to move to and from cover. Max on the other hand can snap to cover while prone rather quickly (a very useful feature), and quickly shoot dodge from any cover spot.

Don't be too influenced by how hard it feels the first run. I played my first run on Easy because I wanted to get to know the game well before cranking up the diff and I like being able to find the upgrade parts without losing lots of helath. I was surprised how hard even Easy mode felt on my first run. At times I questioned whether I'd be able to even complete the game on Hardcore and Old School. I kept finding ways to improve my tactics though, which helped a lot.

#18 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Yeah I'll be honest, I switched to Easy pretty quickly because like you say, the game makes you feel like you're not doing well. You always feel like you're just managing to get by, which of course is to the game's credit, because that's what it obviously aimed for. I guess I'm just more used to the traditional shooters, where you have complete conrol of your character at all times. And I've always been an explorer and completionist too, preferring to take my time and explore an area before moving on, which isn't much of an option in this game. But Max is one of my favourite game characters of all time (which is why I re-played the first two before this one), so it's worth making the small sacrifices.


I've also just realised that this thread seems to be in the PC section, when it should have been in the Xbox 360 section. I could have sworn I posted in the right section. Maybe the recent forum-combing thing that Gamespot do now caught me out.

#19 Posted by DrKill09 (6238 posts) -

MUCH harder than the first two.  I beat the first two on hard.  This, I was lucky to beat on normal.  If it weren't for full health on respawn, or the fact that you are given extra painkillers if you die a lot, I wouldn't have been able to complete it.


A lot more strategy is needed.  In MP1 and 2, shoot doge and bullet time were all that was needed.  In MP3, you need to strategically use cover and plan your attack. 

#20 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

I guess I'm just more used to the traditional shooters, where you have complete conrol of your character at all times.ianpwilliams

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Are you talking about the game frequently going in and out of cutscenes where you have to wait to regain control of your character, often starting you in a room full of enemies when you come back into play?

#21 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

No I meant about how (and I suppose this probably applies to the controller analogue sticks more than keyboard and mouse) Max sometimes takes an extra step when you stop, or takes a millisecond to turn around, or whatever. But he is great at taking cover, which is the most important thing.

And yeah, I'm about halfway through this game now, and I still don't know for sure if I will end up completing it or not. I hope I do though. That boat battle (despite being done many times before in other games) was just amazing.

#22 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

There's two boat battles, but I take it you mean the one at the end of chapter 5 where Passos is actually driving you on a boat?

#23 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Yeah the first one. I'm int othe second half of the game now, with Max's nice new shirt and haircut

#24 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

I completed the game on easy, and thought it was excellent. The atmosphere and graphics were amazing. I'm not sure I'll play again on a harder difficulty, because it was still very challenging at the end. Would be happy for a MP 4 though.


#25 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

I'm not sure I'll play again on a harder difficulty, because it was still very challenging at the end.ianpwilliams

It takes a desire to improve your tactics and find ways to more effectively beat a game to want to replay some of them on higher levels. For me it was a natural decision because I saw throughout my first run ways that I could improve. Then again, I played MP 1&2, so I've had a bit of a background in it. Once you find those ways it's hard to enjoy the easier difficulty levels.

That said, the desire to improve quickly faded when I was struggling to get Platinum, or even steadily increase my time, on Chapter 7 in New York Minute. Every other chapter I showed steady improvement on and got Platiunum within a few tries. I guess what bothered me most was in the sp, it was CHpater 7 where I first saw ways to play no scratch and fairly quickly even on Hardcore, which inspired me to make a video of it.

New York Minute is only Normal difficulty, but you really need to be consistently accurate and quick to accumulate enough time to Platinuim, and after getting Platinum on the first 6 chapters, settling for anything less felt disappointing.

#26 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Yeah I'm getting to an age now where I prefer to play a game with just a slight challenge, and just enjoy the ride. Although I may play it again one day on Normal. I would have to wait a while though, with it begin very linear.

#27 Posted by Frag_Maniac (2059 posts) -

Yeah I'm getting to an age now where I prefer to play a game with just a slight challenge, and just enjoy the ride.ianpwilliams

Well I happen to be 54, so I'm fully aware of the effects of aging on anything invovling hand/eye coordination. I still play even race games like NFS Shift on keyboard too, and managed to beat NFS The Run on Extreme, though it was a bit of a pain. I'm going through NFS Shift again, due to Future Soldier not wanting to launch even after all patches. Despite being able to play it all the way through the first time with no steering assist, I broke down and turned it on. Most tracks I can handle without it, but Nordschleife is a real strain.

Point being, the longer you wait to come back to a game, the harder it is to play it. Right now the nuances of the game are fresh in your mind, along with the familiarity of how the controls feel. If you wait you'll just have to learn that all over again, and even Easy mode might feel harder at first than it did the last half of the game. You might want to at least try the Score Attack mode. In Score Attack time isn't as critical as in New York Minute, and once you learn how the multipliers work, it's a lot of fun.

#28 Posted by ianpwilliams (1476 posts) -

Yeah I'll consider playing it again, but it'll be a fair while, because I like to forget about it as much as possible first.


Thanks for the advice!