Mar 23, 201311 years after I first played this film noir-shooter, I'm afraid I find this game has not aged well. No widescreen, low poly models, and low res textures. Animations are rudimentary and the plot is so-so. What you do get is a nice comic, some extremely good voice acting and a slow-motion button. If you think that's enough to keep you interested despite it's shortcomings, then go ahead. Otherwise I'd suggest you don't listen to the nostalgia crowd and pass up on this one! (Hell, some of these reviews are 12 years old...)… Expand
Dec 13, 2012The sequel is superior, don't even bother with this one. I played the second one first; even though it reuses some characters, the plot is a lot stronger than this one's and stands on it's own two feet. The original's plot is completely ridiculous, tedious, repetitive, and almost offensively bad. Just play the second one and skip this.
Aug 14, 2014Max Payne has aged horribly, and that's a bad thing.
Real critics across films, games, and music will tell you that true masterpieces stand the test of time. Max Payne is not one of them, and certainly never was to begin with.
The graphics are the worst offender of the aging process. Being a early PS2 title, this is obviously expected, but the art style of Max Payne does zero justice to make this game even remotely appealing to the eye. The "dark and gritty" color pallet combined with the washed out textures make everything look like mud.
If you're not a fan of the art style, prepare to endure the same repeated textures throughout the entire game. The first hour of the game is walking through the same exact gray and bland apartment buildings with a rusty colored carpet to match. The problem with the graphics and art style also translate directly to the gameplay. The levels have no variety. As I said, the same boring apartment buildings over and over, with a little bit of outside gameplay. Did I mention it's always nighttime and snowing? And if that doesn't already sound unpleasant, toss in a few generic, mindless mafia goons to get in your way of boring environment to the next.
The AI, predictably, is terrible. Of course, this game was made in 2001 and but it doesn't take much to look back and find plenty of games with vastly superior AI. Doom, 1993, had nine varieties of enemies. They threw fireballs at you, they flanked you, if they got close they would melee you. In Max Payne, there's absolutely ZERO enemy variety except for the standard goon and the buffed up "boss" goons which are the exact same aside from being bullet sponges.
The story, nearly as generic as they come. Standard story about revenge that you can find in any form of media before Max Payne. It doesn't help the story is told through interactables you have to find throughout the level, if you don't, that's too bad. In one point during the game you're forced to play a "dream sequence" where your patience and frustration are tested. You must wander through a maze of hallways and then finally follow misleading blood trails floating over a death pit. These sections take around twenty minutes to complete and do nothing for the gameplay or story whatsoever.
Music, did I mention there wasn't any? The voice acting is also as generic as they come. Stereotypical "mafia goon" voices for all the copy and pasted enemies and bosses. It's mediocre at best, nothing to write home about.
But in the end, it comes down to gameplay. And if the gameplay doesn't stack up, it's not a good game. And in this case, it's one of the worst I've ever played. Bullet time is absolutely useless. You're still vulnerable while using it and it gives you about a 5% chance to dodge bullets. It slows down the action and is never a benefit for the player. It's a gimmick, really. The guns have somewhat variety. There's only really three distinct weapons and they are the UZI, the shotgun, and the sniper. The rest act the same as their counterparts. And to go back to my previous point, all of the action takes place in copy and pasted hallways, bland environments, completely uninteresting levels.
Max Payne also lacks a checkpoint feature. You must quicksave before every room you open unless you want to be treated to a random, instantaneous death. The game is completely linear with little to no exploration, choices, or variety so replay value is severely low.
Lastly, the game is a chore to play, and one of the most overrated games/franchises of all time.
In other words, it's a Payne in the ass.