Max Payne is the story of a cop who has lost everything and is constantly drinking himself into oblivion. Like Bruce Willis’ character John McClane, he constantly runs into trouble and watches his day go from bad to absolutley-time-to-get-the-hell-out-of-Dodge.
I recently caught up with the story starting from the original Max Payne after nabbing the iOS version for the iPad. I’d forgotten how much fun bullet time could be, remembering days when I used to spend hours playing the modded Night Fever version on PC. As a lot of you may know, bullet time pretty much came about thanks to The Matrix, leaving people oogling the screen as they watched Keanu dodge bullets flying at him in slo-mo. Rockstar exploited this well by giving players the ability to dive through the air picking their shots wisely.
Now that Max is back, its great to see they have improved bullet time while not taking away its core fun factor. Players can still choose to dive, or just walk slowly and take out enemies however they wish, but sometimes it kicks in during important cut scene events. One great example is the mob bosses wife being held at gunpoint, and Max has no choice but to jump over a railing, slide down a rooftop, and pop a bullet into the hostage takers head, while landing ass first into a tiny swimming pool. It’s these Hollywood-esque moments that pop in now again that make the cut scenes more interesting, and give bullet time that much-needed update. The gore also makes the shots that bit more entertaining in slo-mo, as you see the bullet rip through the thugs eye socket.
The story retains that comical style of the games, being split up into small windows breaking down the story. These offer a nice breather from the action as they contain some quality one liners, such Max offering to buy a friend a flak jacket for Christmas.
New players, and old, are quickly brought up to speed with Payne’s situation, and are made comfortable with easy to use controls that let you do what you need to when the action heats up. They’ve also introduced a cover system which has become something of a regular feature of 3rd person shooters. My only gripe is sometimes the game makes it hard to figure out where you’re getting shot from, and have to replay sections over and over. If you are having trouble you are given the extra pain killer to help you along, or completely revitalised. The updated graphics certainly have stepped up the look of the game, compared to the square heads and arms of the originals.
Overall the game is a great laugh, with some really witty dialogue that will have you playing for hours.