Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. The most important action game yet made for the PC. Well worth the long wait.
  2. Incredible graphics, a compelling storyline, and an immersive experience. All of these features are expertly combined in Max Payne, creating a candidate for game of the year.
  3. If you like slow-motion dives, guns blazing, the deft tuck at the end of the jump and the roll up to a shooting stance, the perceptible flash from the muzzle of a gun that pinpoints the position of the enemy, bodies flying backwards as bullets impact them, then you will absolutely love this game.
  4. You leave the experience a little different, and, like a girl that's been burned too many times entering what looks like a good relationship, you leave a little wary as well. You know you've been treated well; you don't feel the scars and scabs that other games have left you with.
  5. Pure, unadulterated, hard-core, ass kicking, pop a cap in ya' ass action and gunplay. Max Payne levels it’s .45 and sends stealth quivering back to the marketing table, where it belongs. And it’s all the better for it.
  6. 95
    Even the death sequences are pretty cool, as the game slows down, zooms in on the hero and shows him getting gunned down by a hail of lead.
  7. There's an air of amusing determination to everything Max does. All the murdering is very satisfying for that reason.
  8. At times MP is more movie than game, with stunning camera angles, jarring replays and an involved plot that not only moves the storyline along, it sets the tone for a hardcore action experience.
  9. 93
    Although the game will take the average gamer about a dozen hours to complete, it's a non-stop thrill-ride the whole way through, and you never go for more than a few seconds without seeing a gangster who's ready to take you down with extreme prejudice.
  10. Max Payne is rife with gunplay that's almost indescribably beautiful to watch--and yet actually playing it is even better.
  11. A tad on the short side (under 20 hours), which I could overlook if some multiplayer support was included, but other than that small complaint, I thought the game was nearly flawless.
  12. It’s slick, entertaining, and fun to watch – just like any good action movie. I recommend it, especially for John Woo, Matrix fans, and those that want a mouse pad that comes with a game!
  13. A great FPS. The most serious problem we have with the game is stability – we lost all of our save games at one point, and experienced random freezes fairly frequently.
  14. 90
    While it only takes about ten hours to complete Max Payne, it will be ten of the best hours you’ve spent on a computer in a long time.
  15. Despite some corny writing, this uberhip noir videogame feels like a movie but plays like a great action game. [Feb 2003, p.94]
  16. There is enough repetitive, standard fare about Max, coupled with its short play time, that makes it hard to flat-out recommend.
  17. 90
    Even if MP is a little short, it is still one of the best PC games released this year. When you stack up the excellent storyline, awesome visuals, stellar special effects, and pulse-pounding gunfights, MP is simply one of the most fun action games on the market today.
  18. The pace is maintained throughout the game and nearly compels you to finish in one sitting, with the occasional awe-inspiring moment driving you to continue.
  19. It kicks some serious ass. We’re talking impressive graphics, great story, excellent atmosphere, great music, hilarious (though sometimes forced) one-liners, great puns on games/movies, you name it, it’s there.
  20. Indeed the closest contemporary for the game would be "Metal Gear Solid" as it is one of the few games like Max Payne that offers a completely impressive experience from beginning to end, wrapped up in sumptuous presentation and production values.
  21. One of those memorable titles that people will be talking about for years to come. Its impressive graphics, gripping storyline, and fun use of Bullet-Time action elevates the game to the current standard that most others should aspire to.
  22. If you’re looking for a great thrill ride, an interesting story, and bleeding-edge technology, Max Payne delivers all of them.
  23. An instantly accessible, visually stunning and technically impressive tour de force. It's also immense fun to play.
  24. A stunning techincal (gameplay) achievement that may be lacking a decent script to truly lead the way into the era of interactive PC movies.
  25. But in the end, this fantastic engine and solid concept is hobbled by routine shooter gameplay.
  26. It is a good thing the gunplay is so exciting in this game, as there is not a lot else on offer.
  27. It looks simply unbelievable, the gameplay and control is easy and intuitive, and the bullet time makes it the premier action game on the PC.
  28. Its predominant flaw is that it whets our appetite for something unimaginably amazing but only fulfills half of that unveiled promise.
  29. A beautiful game full of memorable moments, suffering only from a clumsy attempt to mimic the writing style of old detective novels.
  30. A spectacular experience, not an intellectual one. Do not search for subtleties here or in-depth plots here – this is not a game that will win awards for its storyline or richness of character.
  31. 30
    In the style of PC Gamer's David Manningesque vocabulary, Max Payne is the most forgettable action game in history. (I exaggerate, of course. It's only the most forgettable action game of the year.)
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 744 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 93 out of 99
  2. Negative: 5 out of 99
  1. MichaelS
    Jul 24, 2008
    I will stand by this forever as the best game I've ever played! An astonishing masterpiece that is frequently ripped off but will never I will stand by this forever as the best game I've ever played! An astonishing masterpiece that is frequently ripped off but will never be topped. Full Review »
  2. SomeUser
    Oct 5, 2009
    Many hours of fast-paced action and great story. Unique noir movie-like setting and heart-touching events. Comic-screens are awesome and just Many hours of fast-paced action and great story. Unique noir movie-like setting and heart-touching events. Comic-screens are awesome and just better than videos in other games. A masterpiece. Full Review »
  3. DaveD.
    Jul 27, 2006
    One of the best Games in Computer History.