"After Y2K, the end of the world had become a cliché. But who was I to talk, a brooding underdog avenger alone against an empire of evil, out to right a grave injustice? Everything was subjective. There were only personal apocalypses. Nothing is a cliché when it's happening to you." - Mac Payne
Its been 9 years since the release of Max Payne 2 and Rockstar is delivering the third chapter in the Max Payne series this coming May. The game seems to be going an entirely new direction storywise while trying to stay true to the core mechanics and fundamentals of the series. Max Payne has been a ground breaking title in the shooter genre of games with its stylish run and gun gameplay and use of the "Bullet Time" mechanic which has been co-opted in my shooter games since. While the original duel wielding third person run and gun gameplay has returned it has been modified and enhanced to help modernise the game. Additions like laying prone from Shoot Dodging, Varied Duel weld gun combinations and a cover system have been add to diverse the gameplay. These all look like sensible and well thought out changes to the dynamic and the game looks like it plays pretty smoothly.
But while all these changes look impressive Max Payne 3 will be set in Sao Paulo rather than the familur New York City which is where the previous two games were set. The Cold bitter winter background of the urban jungle has been replaced with the topical beauty and dangerous underworld gang and drug culture of Brazil. The game no longer feels like a Noir revenge story but rather a sad tale of a shell of a lonely man. It seems sad that they have thrown away the whole Noir style and prahic novel storyboards but then I realised at the end of Max Payne 2 all the people he has held dear to him have died, leaving him alone as the soul and lone survivor of Noir York City. There doesn't seem to be anyone left from Max's past...
While it seems fitting that the game would require a new setting and a whole new look for a fresh new start, I can tell these ghosts of the many people that Max knew will be back to Haunt him. His Dead Family, the many people that back stabbed him, the people that helped him and of course Mona Sax. If anything he left New York to get away from those memories which is why he looks like a broken man trying to chase those ghosts away with a whisky bottle.
"The past is a puzzle, like a broken mirror. As you piece it together, you cut yourself, your image keeps shifting. And you change with it. It could destroy you, drive you mad. It could set you free." - Max Payne 2
Here's is the Run down of the original Max Payne game from max Payne 2. I'm going to miss the graphic novel storyboards.
After playing through both games again recently I would definitely say May Payne 2 is better than the original. The graphics and the gameplay where substantially better as there were more weapons and the bullet time mechanics were improved. Although the straight out revenge story of The original was definitely more gripping and chilling to experience as those drug induced hallucination levels still haunt me. Following the trail of baby blood and the cries of pain of your wife and baby daughter echo around the darkness through a black empty void of nothingness is probably the strongest memory I have from the series.
I'm interested to see where the series will go one from the end of 2 and which ending from 2 is the cannon ending. Something tells me you won't find out straight away in Max Payne 3 because the only thing that can link Max Payne 2 to Max Payne 3 at the moment is Mona Sax.