Review by JSDenton
Reviewed: 08/26/02 | Updated: 08/26/02
An action packed John Woo experience
Like all great action games there is at least one movie behind it, feeding it, sculpting it, Max Payne, for instance, has about three: The Matrix, any John Woo film, and Scar Face: These movies have captured us and kept us hostage until the end, which is exactly what Max Payne will do to you.
Ok, you play as Max Payne, a cop working for the NYPD, or at least you are at the beginning. When the game begins it's actually at the end, showing helicopters and police cars focusing toward a tall (and very detailed) building where Max Payne seems to have just set off a huge event, but he explains it in descriptive and detailed words, like a novel almost, which actually is how the cut-scenes are carried out, in brilliantly designed graphic novel strips, all of them complete with vocals and sound-effects, this is an awesome new approach and you'll never get tired of it. But for some odd reason, you find yourself wondering ''why am I here instead?'', the twist and turns the game will make suddenly can have you puzzled when you try and figure out the reason your doing this, but the gameplay is more than enough to keep you calmed down so you won't really mind, but they could have put more of a path into the twist rather than just throwing you into it.
The graphics in themselves are good, the textures for the XBOX version are brighter and a lot more detailed then the PS2 version, everything has it's own realistic and perfect look to it, from the lighting and shadowing on the hard asphalt of New York's streets, to even Max's jacket as it ripples and sways to his movements. Bullets and grenades actually reflect light which makes dodging bullets easier than dodging invisible pellets of death, it's these little things that make Max's world so full of life, unfortunately, while the textures and lighting are perfect, the model themselves are choppy and ugly, like awkward walking knives, and with the frame-mate it isn't that much better, and even though they put faces on character, I'd rather they didn't, enemies look like a fuzzy Brian Dennehy and Max looks like he's in an overwhelming state of constipation (yeah, it's that bad), but hey, you still have all this detail and figure in your gameplay to make it that much better so what it worth it is nice.
Amazing! The gameplay has some of the most action packed scenes you will ever experience, the game introduces a brand new feature called ''bullet-time'', by pressing the left trigger the world around Max slows down, but the neat thing is you can still aim in real-time, so if your dodging towards an enemy from behind, with bullet-time you can pop off five shots before your foe can even face you, and believe me, when you do, it is sweet! Seriously though, bullet-time is innovative and basically infinite, your ''adrenaline meter'' recharges as you fight, and that's really the only time you'll be using bullet-time so you can't really run out, but you can use it anywhere, at anytime, so if your proceeding down a hallway and want to take it cautiously, activate bullet-time and you'll never be surprised. The game is your basic high action shooter, borrowing straight from the movies, and it's all pre-scripted, meaning that action happens at the right time and at the right place, but this also keeps you from using some stealthiness, and at many points the game directs you to do this, and while your trying to sneak up on a foe from behind, twelve other enemies pop up from behind to kill you so stealth isn't really much of an option, and in any game, stealth always help, but at least you have bullet-time. Now the enemies in the game are amazing and full of life, thanks to the pre-scripted gameplay, you'll run into your enemies having conversations, watching TV, talking on the phone, and playing slot machines so you can listen to it from beginning to end, I love this feature because this gives your foe a kind of vulnerability, and near the end of the game with the enemies you'll fight you'll appreciate this feeling.
Well, the sound is fairly decent, the sound-effects themselves are great, with guns, explosions, footsteps, even how the world sounds with bullet-time terrific, the vocals are awesome as well, and you'll be fighting a lot of scareface-esque foes so be prepared to laugh your butt off, enemies spout of one-liners as they attack you, and like above if you catch them watching TV or talking it's carried out perfectly and with just the right tone, it never gets dull. But the music itself is mission
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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