In 2001, in the early days of the Playstation 2, Remedy Games released the much-anticipated title Max Payne, a revolutionary title that was not only the best third person shooter in a long time, but a game that delivered a story so dark and intimate to its protagonist that it often took people off guard, especially considering its development team being a small-time studio who had only yet made top-down PC racer Death Rally.
Now, with its third installment on the way after a hefty nine year wait, we see the classic remade for iOS and Android devices – and the grim tale comes alive again.
If you don’t know the basic flavour of Max Payne games, allow me to give you a run-down of the recipe: a sweet and smokey blend of Humphrey Bogart noir cop drama, John Woo diving’n’dual wielding action, gritty graphic novel (used in replacement for cutscenes) and the ever-memorable Matrix-esque bullet time. This all comes together in what could be described as the perfect formula for a third person shooter, but porting it to a mobile device in which there are no analog sticks or buttons is quite a task.
Movement and camera angles are controlled with the thumbs moving around in the bottom left and bottom right corners of the screen, respectively. It’s not optimal – indeed, the fact that the game was originally built for keyboard and mouse even showed in the console versions – but it works. To make up for this lack of total precision, a stricter auto-aim has been worked in, along with bigger hitboxes for enemies, and lower enemy health. This is great for the casual gamer, and for those just in it for the story (I can’t blame you), though it’s worth noting I found it often a little too easy in comparison to the classic.
Some parts I remembered as being brutal and satisfying challenges are now a matter of point and bash the shoot button, whereas some areas such as balancing along ceiling rafters are now a little too hard due to the clunkier movement. It’s nothing gamebreaking, and at least the game has recognised the change, but for the hardcore it’s worth cranking up the difficulty.
Some buttons could also be a little bigger – especially that vital ‘shoot/dodge’ button which even after customizing its size in options was a little hard to reach, and having to double tap health to utilize painkillers (albeit a rare occasion due to the ease) was somewhat distracting.
With these aside, Remedy have created an exact replica of the game for our 2×4 inch little devices, and for making an all-time favourite so readily accessible – and affordable at just £1.99 – I can only be delighted. If you never picked up the original, now you have little excuse. It’ll do you better than a most books for long journeys, as Max’s tale is one of the best ever told in a video game.
Published by: Rockstar Games
Developed by: Remedy Entertainment