More often than not, while testing new games I stop for a little while to play with it and so far from what I've seen Max Payne 3 seems to offer an exciting single-player experience that made me just want to keep at it, and for me that is a rare thing. Complementing the excellent gameplay are impressive visuals that allow the game to take advantage of the latest and greatest computer hardware.
Typically multi-platform games just end up being sloppy console ports on the PC, but thankfully this was not the case with Max Payne 3. The menus work well and are easy to navigate with the keyboard or mouse while the gameplay is flawless.
The wide range of API support means that gamers will be able to fine-tune the game to suit their rig. The ability to quickly switch between DX9, DX10, DX10.1 and DX11 is very uncommon and it’s an awesome feature. There's also a wealth of other visual settings that can be adjusted. For example, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti became 35% faster when we reduced the visual quality settings from very high to normal, gaining a much needed 13fps.
Driver support from both AMD and Nvidia for this game is excellent and we found no glitches whatsoever. It's also worth noting that although we didn’t formally benchmark multi-GPU setups, Crossfire and SLI both worked perfectly in our brief testing.
For our very high quality tests we didn’t use MSAA, so we are not sure how much of an impact this will have on performance, but we imagine it will be quite drastic. That said, we did test with FXAA enabled and this cleaned up the image quite a lot and did so with no real impact on performance. We also tested with ambient occlusion set to SSAO as we felt it looked better, that said we saw almost no difference in performance when using either SSAO or HDAO on both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
Those wanting to play Max Payne 3 in all of its glory will need quite a lot of GPU grunt. For example, at 1920x1200, high-end hardware such as the GeForce GTX 580 or Radeon HD 7870 are recommended, though the ultimate value card in our tests was the GeForce GTX 670, which beat the 7970 in most tests with ease.
For those of you concerned with your CPU you need not worry assuming you have a quad-core of some type. Even the gutless Athlon II X4 645 proved powerful enough to fully exploit the GeForce GTX 680 delivering virtually the same performance as the mighty Core i7-3960X.
Overall we feel that Max Payne 3 is the perfect example of what PC gaming is all about. Not only does this game take advantage of the latest and greatest rendering technologies allowing it to fully utilized the current generation flagship GPUs, but it can also be scaled back to play on affordable hardware as well.