Max Payne | Mini Review!

What is it?

Max Payne is a third-person shooter developed by Remedy Entertainment, produced by 3D Realms and published by Rockstar. The titular anti-hero is a cop who lost his wife and baby when his home was raided by crazed junkies addicted to a designer drug. After being wrongly framed for the murder of a fellow detective three years later, he wages a one-man war against a New York mob syndicate while the police relentlessly chase him down.

Platform(s)

PLATFORM

Pros
Cons
  • Brilliant storytelling via graphic novel cutscenes
  • Smooth controls and slick shooting mechanics
  • Bullet Time! Slowing down time to accurately pick off enemies was a game-changing mechanic that’s still incredibly useful
  • Atmospheric and energetic soundtrack
  • So heckin’ difficult
  • Must beat game multiple times to unlock the higher difficulty modes; only one alternate game mode, which is essentially a time attack mode
  • Enemies with grenade launchers are a nightmare to kill, even at long ranges
  • Nightmare sequences have some annoying platforming segments

Verdict:

Make no mistake, Max Payne is brilliant, but by gawd is it a tough cookie. Enemies can dish out lots of damage if you’re careless, and some of the well-designed environments hold some nasty surprises, like booby-trapped lifts and a restaurant kitchen ready to erupt in flames. The two nightmare sequences are a pain to navigate, but are still pretty unnerving. As the man himself would say: no Payne, no gain. 

All hope is not lost, however. You’ve got a big selection of weapons to collect and hold onto, from pump-action shotguns and handguns to molotovs and a grenade launcher. Bullet Time is a life-saver in this one. Being able to watch goons fly back from your bullet barrages while dodging enemy fire in slow-motion never gets old.

The praise doesn’t stop there. There’s a brilliant story to behold in Max Payne, thanks to the film noir-inspired writing and its graphic novel cutscenes. Its music is a great listen, especially the now-iconic main theme. While the visuals look dated, it still runs silky-smooth on the PC with its tight and responsive controls. Plus, you can save-scum to your heart’s content, which will be a life-saver during your first playthrough. It would’ve been awesome if it had some additional game modes tossed into the mix.

Max Payne is a man with nothing to lose. Unlike the protagonist, you’ll have a lot to lose if you skip out on this vintage shooter.

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