As a prequel to my Max Payne 3 review, I'd like to share my quick thoughts on the first and second instalments of the game.
Max Payne (2001)
This is a game that is still worth replaying it gives a much more satisfying experience than new, over scripted, restrictive action games. In my memories it lives as the first game that gave a movie like experience. The first game where the storytelling was more than what we expected from videogames previously. This story could have worked as a real feature length film.
Apart from the dated graphics it could still hold it's own against any newer game.
I don't know why did developers lost their way. Back then it was crystal clear what a game needed to be. You go trough the levels, killing the enemies, but the setting, and the number of enemies is quite realistic, unlike Max Payne 3 for example. You don't do impossible things in it. Don't jump off from ten stories and walk away. Don't survive ten thousand bullet holes in your body. It feels much more down to earth. And the same problem is present with movies as well these days. The heros always survive so impossible stunts and situations, that take all the risk, all the tension away. You can no longer relate to the heroes in any human way. They're feelingness, fearless, supersoldiers. You just observe the hero from a distance, in max payne you feel you're right there in the trenches with the hero.
- There is a real SAVE system, with capital letters. This is something developers forgot how to do nowadays*
- Bullet time
- Narration, and comic book style cut-scenes
- Simple and reliable controls
- Fairly short
- Towards the end, the last few levels, it's a bit too hard. Enemies take a whole magazine to die. But still at least it's consistent. You clearly feel when an enemy will fall, it doesn't seem completely random.
* I know they didn't forget, only opted to get rid of it because it's a challenge to implement, and the lack of saving also generates another benefit to them, It makes the game seem longer than it actually is, by having you replay the same parts of the game over and over if you die.
graphics/realization: 6/10 even by 2001 standards the graphics could have been better, they worked so long on the development of this game, that by the time it was released the graphics was yesterday's news.
Overall impression: 9/10
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003)
I only finished this game twice up to now, compared to at least 10 times for the first one. Back then I never imagined we'll have to wait more than eight years for the next Max Payne, and that it won't even be developed by Remedy. But I'll talk about that in my review of the game Rockstar put out. If I can finish it without blowing a gasket.
There aren't that many changes compared to the first. The graphics is much better, tthe textures are larger by magnitudes, and the character models are much better looking. Sometimes you have AI partners in the game. Fortunately contrary to many other games they actually help you here and are not only anchors. The game also became a bit easier compared to the first, but I welcomed that change. Anyone who wants to go mad can finish it on New York minute. Or just play with the third. (mostly that's not hard because of the challenges, but because of the control issues it is driving me mad)
- Everything that was good in the first is still there
- AI partners really help and not annyoing
- Assuming direct control of Mona Sax
- Right difficulty.
- Havok Physics
- It took me 8 hours to finish the first game, this one only took five.
- Apart from one character all the major npc's are from the first game, including villains and allies.
Overall impression: 8/10