Downloadable Content, done wrong, is a terrible thing. Much of what is wrong with gaming at the moment stems from the seeming obsession of publishers with encouraging developers to come up with new ways to further monetise their games, long after the point of original sale: games released feeling unfinished due to missing content – the worst manifestation of a “we can always fix it later” ethos that has been encouraged by this generation of consoles revolving around online services – on-disc DLC (with Capcom being a particularly egregious offender, apparently looking to mend its ways) leading to players being asked to pay for content that they have, to all intents and purposes, already bought and generally increasing the cost of the full enjoyment of a title. Rockstar’s efforts in the DLC arena, however, have generally been fairly priced and of an adequate size to justify the expense, such as the cases made available for LA Noire after release. The approach to Max Payne 3 has been much the same, with Rockstar releasing some DLC for free, and the Disorganized Crime pack is such an example.
The pack is a small download from the in-game DLC store and consists of Hoboken Rooftops, a new map for multiplayer mode, and several new modifiers for the Score Attack mode in Arcade mode: the above-pictured Noir mode, a modifier which makes all ammunition fired explosive, the Lone Wolf modifier, which increases the aggression of enemies, and the Headshots Only mode, which adds challenge to the game by making only headshots provide any damage.
The Noir mode is simply a graphics filter: it does nothing more than convert the grimy interiors of New Jersey and the bright slums of Brazil alike into greyscale. While the imagery should suit the hard-boiled nature of Max, given the innumerable nods made to film noir throughout the game series, there is something not quite right about it: this type of conversion really does not work for the brighter outdoor areas of the game. In such areas, the levels of contrast in the scene simply are not great enough to provide and convincing approximation of the film noir feel. At times, it is excellent, but the favela in greyscale just feels disparaging to the work of the level designers who had gone to such great lengths to ensure that the original palette was so finely detailed.
Both the Lone Wolf and Headshots Only modifiers add a lot to the challenge of the game, and together work well to create a very difficult challenge for even the most seasoned player. The difficulty is somewhat artificial in Lone Wolf, in that it appears to just make the enemies attack more rather than any more intelligently – enough of even the smallest of pin pricks would eventually serve to kill an elephant. The challenge is welcomed, it just feels a little too forced. Additionally, the Headshots Only modifier does not really do that much to increase difficulty: the headshot in Max Payne 3 is hardly an arcane art. The game, particularly in the soft-lock aiming mode, does a very good job of pointing you towards the heads of enemies on its own, and this mode only really necessitates that the player be just that little bit more cautious in aiming.
The DLC is hardly anything substantial, as would be expected for something that is free, but it adds a couple of nice touches to the Max Payne 3 experience. Never to decry free content that genuinely adds to the experience of a game, or at least adds replay value, this is a recommended download.