Max Payne is a 3rd person shooter with a few twists that make it a very exciting addition to the genre.
Set in modern day New York city, Max is a New York policeman, whose wife and daughter are murdered (rather brutally) and the rest of the game is spent hunting down the killers and making them pay.
There are a lot of aspects of this game to cover, so let's take them one at a time…
First off is the violence. This game is probably one of the goriest games I have ever played. Blood spurts with wanton abandon throughout.
So if you are a little squeamish, or have younger children, you may want to take this into account before spending your hard earned gaming dollars. Now, for me, the violence and the bloodshed added greatly to the atmosphere of the game. It is a very dark game on a number of levels, and the gore only adds to that sense of gritty realism. As well, you should know that there are a couple of scenes that are VERY sexually suggestive.
So much so that I was surprised to see them included. In fact, I thought they were extreme and really didn’t add anything to story. It was almost as though the game developers added them to shock the player rather than support the story line. The game would not have suffered one bit if they had left these scenes out.
Next is the story line itself. Very involved, the story unfolds through narrative and somewhat abstract artwork, told through story boards rather than cinematics. Now I have to admit I am a bigger fan of the cinematics, but can live with the story boards if they are done well. I personally didn’t like the artwork too much, and the dialogue is definitely over the top. Its more like a 1940’s Phillip Marlowe movie, and could have been written a little better. Still the story line will move you emotionally (well, it moved me), at least as far as the murdered family thing goes. Pretty soon the murdered family takes a back seat to the conspiracy that Max uncovers, and for me, that was when I stopped being interested in the story. The cut scenes and story boards quickly became something I had to sit through in order to get back to the game.
Next is the game play. One word. Astounding. These folks have introduced a revolutionary style of game play called “bullet time”. In essence, it is much like the action scenes in the Matrix. At the click of a mouse, the action slows down to slow motion, though you can aim in regular time. Now if this were not controllable by the player, it would
be as irritating as hell. The fact that the player can control when this happens makes it an incredible facet of the game.
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