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Max Payne - Review

I am someone who likes to play old video games and Max Payne was in my library untouched, so I decided to give it a shot. It's part of gaming history for how it managed to make an impact on the third-person shooter genre and has been stated to be one of the best video games ever made. The game has some of those classic tropes you see in actions movies and I love each and every one of them.

Pros and Cons


- A compelling story with cheesy, charming voice acting

- Great third-person shooting game that is fun even today

- A very interesting bullet-time mechanic that helps you get the drop on enemies

- Lots of mods for those who like to mod their games


- Platforming sections are a pain to go through

- The camera will sometimes not be in your favor

- You may need to use some mods to make the game run


The story begins in August 1998 with Max Payne, who is a New York City police officer returning home from a long day of work just to find that his wife and daughter have been murdered. Three years later, Max is working undercover in the Punchinello Crime Family. Being asked by a colleague to meet him in the subway later, Max meets Alex Balder, an old friend of his. After exchanging some words, Alex is shot and killed, however, Max is falsely accused of this murder. The Punchinello Family also finds out that Max is an undercover cop and is now out to kill him as well.

With nothing else to lose, Max now has to fight his way through an impossible fight that he cannot hope to win.

The story for Max Payne is rather amusing. It is dark and has all those classic action movie tropes. I like how the cutscenes are played in a comic book art style and the added cheesy voice acting is the cherry on top. It’s something that might seem out-of-place today, but I personally really enjoy the story for what it is. I mean the main character is named Max Payne, you can’t get cheesier than that in terms of names.


Max Payne is a third-person shooter. Its concept is simple, but the gameplay can get challenging at times. The controls and the mechanics are good even by modern standards and I had a lot of fun playing it. You are given a variety of guns to help take out enemies, like a Desert Eagle, a Pump Action Shotgun, and an Ingram which can destroy bosses as they can be stun-locked. The Colt Model 733 is also a good weapon, but you won’t be getting that until near the end of the game. With that said, it’s one of my favorite weapons in the game, with the only issue being that I have so much fun with the gun that I end up using most of its ammo.

Max can enter a mode called Bullet Time, where time will slow down around you, but you will be able to look around in real-time to get a better aim on enemies. If you want more context, think of it like Micheal Da Santa’s ability is in GTA5, only much better. This is because I found myself in many situations using this ability to get the edge on enemies. Then there is the Shootdodge maneuver which allows Max to leap into the air while still being able to fire his weapon. I should note that going into Shootdodge will end Bullet Time if used unless you perform a Bullet Time Combo.

As mentioned before, the gameplay for Max Payne is fun but there are some moments where the gameplay has aged poorly in. There are moments where platforming is introduced, and this game is not meant to be a platformer. This mainly occurred in the dream sequences, where Max has to stand on a straight line, or he will fall off and you will have to reset from your previous save. These moments did not happen often but were still annoying to go through.

Then there are some rare moments where the camera will be in an awkward angle which won’t be in your favor. There is this moment where the camera will be in a top-down perspective and your aim is so weird that you will probably die a few times. There were only, like, two of these moments in the game but they were still an issue, nonetheless.


Max Payne has a lot of mods that you can use to enhance the game and get a fun new experience. Like the Kung Fu mod, a mod that makes the game go into first-person, and many more to choose from. I myself am not someone who likes to mod their games but if you are someone who likes doing that, then I think you will like Max Payne's freedom.

However, I did have to use a mod to restore the sound, Max Payne is an old game so it may have some trouble running on modern computers. Luckily, the mod to fix the sound issues and any other issue you may have is on Steam so you can find them in the Guides section.

Graphics and Performance

Other than the sound issue I experienced; the game honestly runs really well. I experienced no issues while playing it. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, 16 GB of RAM.

The graphics, on the other hand, look as old as you'd expect from a game of this age, though I'm not going to blame it for that. The living room or Max's house did look nice, so I guess there is that.


Ports of Max Payne were created for PlayStation 2, Xbox, MacOS, and later was even released on iOS and Android in 2012 as Max Payne Mobile. Apparently, there is a version of Max Payne for the Gameboy Advance, making me very curious as to how that would work.

Final Verdict

Max Payne is a classic, a game that made its mark on the third-person shooter genre. If you are someone like me who loves playing old video games, then I think this game will be for you. Especially with all the mods that are out there for you to try out if you are a fan of those, I think there is a lot of replay value to be had. It’s also really cheap at 10.99 CDN so I even recommend the game at full price.

1 Comment

Dec 28, 2021

The bullet time mode so ridiculously cool back then!

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