Max Payne 1 & 2 Reviews

I've always wanted to play the Max Payne series but never found the right time. Well, one Steam holiday sale later, I finally got to play them, 9 years later.

This isn't gonna be pretty. Double reviews after the jump:

 Max Payne (PC 2001):

The original Max Payne promised constant bullet time action and a gritty story to boot. Well, the constant bullet time action got really old really fast, and the gritty story turns into Conspiracy Theory (circa 2007).

This game did not age well. Even at the highest settings (made possible by a computer 10 years newer than the game), the character models are blocky and Max is stuck with only has one facial expression: a Jack Nicolas-esque smirk. The maps suck, you're simply traversing up tall buildings, jumping to the next one, then traversing back down; repeat x 10. An insanely difficult "one difficulty" mode to start with only adds to the frustration. This game would only be 3 hours long if not for it (took me 5 hours).

Pros: Graphic novel type presentation of story with voice over.
Cons: Derivative material. Horrible difficulty.

Kenholic rating: 2 out of 10. Unfair due to age? Nope.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC 2003)

The sequel fares much better, with a much more focused story (earning it's Film Noir moniker, at least) and somewhat improved character models. This game, while maintaining some of the difficulty of the original at times, was much shorter than the first due to the plethora of ammo and health strewn around the maps (9 years into the past, I can construe that the first game received similar complaints about difficulty and this was the response to it).

I liked the story flow, I liked the improved bullet time mechanics - reloading in bullet time allowed you to survey the area for more targets, but I'm still down on the stage design. I enter a building, usually to look for something, next you know, you're funneled onto every single floor, killing half the population of the city.

Pros: Much improved story focus; graphic novel presentation is still the best thing going for this game.
Cons: Repetitive, probably because stage design still bad.
Neutral: I'm pretty sure Max's face and voice changed.

Kenholic rating: 3 out of 10. To be fair, I don't regret playing this game though.

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