Before doing this episode, I actually didn’t realize that Max Payne was made by the same folks who made Alan Wake. That game was one of my favorite stories in gaming so maybe I need to go back and actually give Max Payne the playthrough it deserves.

I tried playing it several years ago and I did think the story style was cool but the shooting felt incredibly dated so I didn’t keep going beyond the first level. I’ve got the entire series but I’m one of those people who has to play a series in order or else I feel like I’m doing it wrong. So since I never played through the first one, I haven’t played 2 or 3 either. Maybe it’s time to change that? We’ll see!

2/3 – Max Payne

Hello and welcome. My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s video game of the day.

Today’s game is the hardboiled noire shooter, Max Payne. Originally released on the PC, PS2 and Xbox in 2001, Max Payne was the second game developed by Remedy Software, best known these days as the developer of Alan Wake and Quantum Break.

While Max Payne’s shooting mechanics were heavily influenced by cyberpunk film, The Matrix, with its use of bullet time effects, Max Payne became known in its own right for its neo-noire style and strong story influence from Hong Kong detective movies, particularly those from director John Woo.

You play as renegade detective, Max Payne, who returned home one night to find his wife and daughter killed by junkies high on a drug known as Valkyr. He then sets out as an undercover DEA agent, determined to discover the truth behind his family’s killing.

Max Payne plays as a third person shooter, with players taking control of the titular detective. Max can use a variety of weapons including semi-automatic pistols, submachine guns and melee weapons as well, many of which can be dual wielded. Players can enter bullet time which slows down gameplay, allowing Max numerous special moves, in addition to being able to dodge bullets.

Along with Max’s internal monologue, told in a perfectly noire fashion by actor James McCaffrey, the story is also told via graphic novel style panels illustrating events between levels. Max Payne is also famous for featuring several dream levels which illustrate Max’s battle with his inner demons.

Max Payne was very well received by critics and fans upon release, receiving various game of the year nods in 2001 from outlets such as GameSpot and IGN. The game has since received two sequels and ports to the Game Boy Advance, iOS and Android. It was also adapted into a movie in 2008 starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis.

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