It was only trough great difficulty and pain, that I managed to beat this game. Although I'd be lying if I told you that it was all pain, and no fun. But this game is a great example of how to make an otherwise fun game into a mind-blowing pain in the ass, with a few bad design decisions.

Let's start by stating that this game is only a Max Payne game by name, the main protagonist could have any other name easily. It doesn't feel like you're playing a sequel to the classic games. It feels like a reboot even though technically it isn't one. It has hardly any connections to the past glory of the franchise.

It's a typical remake like for example John Rambo, with a staggering body count, but still it fails miserably to live up to its predecessors.

The film-noir atmosphere went down the gutter, as well as the comic-book style cutscenes. There are hardly any night levels in the game. This is just a typical TPS game, without any of the added value of Max Payne games. Of course there is bullet time, but that's the only thing remaining from the legacy of the franchise, and even that is borked. The setting is shifted to a South American cartel, drug trafficking thing. Which wouldn't be bad, if we weren't expecting a Max Payne style noir game.

Story wise by far the biggest shortcoming of the game is that it offers no rewards, no satisfaction at all as almost all your missions end in some sort of prescribed failure. Not even the final big confrontation offers is satisfactory. You retire a corrupt politician and a corrupt police boss, so what? There are hundreds more of those in South America. As one character in the game put it very wisely: "You're not making any difference"

The devs must have thought that making you fail in almost every single mission is enough to create a noir atmosphere. Well it isn't, but it sure as hell creates a frustrating experience.

This is a game where Max Payne allows himself to be bullied and shamed, due to self hatred. And on top of that he's constantly murmuring miserable self ironic lines to himself. The only thing more pathetic than that are his stupid, pointless actions that you can't do anything against. And to keep reminding you how pathetic and broken your character is, every time you pick up painkillers during the game, he drops some snide remark about it. I was under the impression that this is a satire of the old Max Payne at times. I can't even fathom why did they think it would be a good idea to turn the iconic protagonist into a completely unlikeable burlap sack.

OK the story might be bad, but the gameplay is at least there, right? Nope, I don't even know where to start with all the small but all the more annoying gameplay / design issues.

Of course the game has no proper save system, why would it? Only checkpoints, and the worst kind. It doesn't even record the amount of health you have when you reach a checkpoint. If the checkpoints were well placed then this would only be mildly annoying. But we don't have such luck.

Some checkpoints are so far apart, and so badly placed that your head burns into a piece of coal out of anger by the time you pass a segment on the 18th try. There is one particular heavy, hard to defeat enemy, and there is no checkpoint before it, so if you fail to beat it, then you have to complete an already challenging segment leading up to it again and again. I'm not against a challenge in a game, but it's not a healthy challenge that I have to complete some parts of the game over and over again, in order to try beating a boss. It's madness!

And then here is the aiming. Which is perfectly good, up until the point you turn on bullet time mode which of course is the most recognized and iconic part of the franchise, now rendered useless: Because in bullet time mode, not only time slows down, but the aiming speed as well, making it pointless to use.

By the time you nudge the crosshair to the enemy in bullet time they'll shoot you to hell just as they would've without using it in the first place, only now you can see your death play out painfully slowly. It has some use against enemies far away, so you aim at them roughly and then fine tune in BT mode, but in every other case it hurts rather than helping you.

The damage system, which is another mind shattering thing in the game feels completely random, both for the player and enemies. Sometimes one shot drains half your health, other times, someone is pumping bullets into you from point blank range, and your health bar is barely lowered.

On occasion you can one shoot kill an enemy, while other times they get up even after filling them up with three magazines of bullets. And then there are armoured enemies, that are the most random. Sometimes I wasn't able to defeat them even by emptying all my weapons into them, other times somehow they'd just die after a few hits, and I'm not doing anything differently. It truly feels random. If there is a strategy to it then it beats me.

There is a cover system in the game, which has one problem: By the time I got used to it, I almost finished the game. It's so archaic, that the only way to come out of cover is by pressing the cover button again, you can't simply move out of cover by moving in the opposite direction like in most modern games. And most of the time the camera view is so awkward that you can't aim at the enemies from cover.

And there is no jumping from cover to cover in the game either. And on top of that coming out of cover seems like bullet time even in normal. So if you see a grenade hurtling towards you and you're in cover, don't bother, just reload immediately. Because there is no way in hell that you can come out of cover in time and manage to move far away to avoid the blast.

There is also an interesting new feature in the game, which in concept a very good idea. This is called Last Man Standing, it works like this: If you have painkillers, and someone shoots you and your HP reaches zero. Then you don't die, but the painkiller is automatically used up, and you have to kill your wannabe killer in a bullet time stand-off. This all sounds good on paper, because if you kill your attacker then you don't die, and so the flow of the game is not interrupted by having to reload a checkpoint. But thanks to the miserable cover system most of the time you can't aim at your attacker, and the stand off turns into watching Max die very slowly, while you're breaking a finger trying to reload. Because you guessed, you can't use the reload function during the stand off, so you have to wait until you're dead even if you have zero chance of hitting the enemy. So the very thing they intended to keep the game flowing achieves the exact opposite of that, truly marvellous.

And if we're talking interruptions to the gameplay, then the most annoying one is this: You don't simply walk through doors here, the doors walk trough your patience. The game has to show Max opening every god forsaken door in a cutscene. And with every cutscene the game automatically switches to your primary weapon. EVEN IF THAT DAMN GUN HAS ZERO AMMO LEFT IN IT.

And another thing that bothered me trough the game that all your enemies had an army everywhere. You go into a completely random building and it's filled with enemy combatants to the ceiling. Even on the streets, when you travel through the city and on every corner there is a battalion of enemies. There is absolutely no reality to it. The number of enemies in the game is staggering. I stacked up more than 1700, yes that's seventeen-hundred kills. Just in one playtrough.

And if that wouldn't be enough to keep you from getting immersed in the game, they decided to show every single hit from enemy fire as a bullet hole on your character's body. It's so disillusioning that it's almost unbearable. It would be good if this was a terminator simulator, because then it would be all right to have 50 bullet holes and still move like nothing had happened. But why do you have to do this with a human? Why can't you leave me believing that my character is so lucky and badass, that hardly any bullet touches him? Why do you have to go out of your way to yank me out of immersion after each firefight, and remind me that this is only a pathetic and unrealistic game?

And on a final note I want to emphasise one positive thing about the game. The level design is excellent, even though the game is completely linear, you never feel closed in or herded. Each map has a very open feel to it.


  • Graphics  
  • Level design  


  • A story without any satisfaction  
  • Ending with no redeeming value.  
  • It's obvious from the start who will be the bad guy, I was expecting it to be a red-herring, but sadly it wasn't.
  • Annoying gameplay issues (cover system, save system, random damage, bullet time aiming, last man standing, cutscene weapon switching)  
  • A self pitying, worthless burlap sack of turds for a protagonist  
  • No real connection to previous games.  
  • Dozens of enemies everywhere, even in places where there shouldn't logically be any.  
  • Bullet holes shown on your character  

Scoring card:

graphics/realization: 9/10
story/atmosphere: 4/10
gameplay/controls: 4/10

overall impression: 5/10

I never want to see this game again in my life, the annoying gameplay made sure of that.
Even though the beginning had really good atmosphere, it all fell to pieces after the first chapter.