"The way I see it, there are two types of people. Those who spend their lives trying to build a future. And those who spend their lives trying to rebuild the past." - Max Payne
Let me start this post off on the right foot and say that I love Max Payne, and there will be mild spoilers in these thoughts for all three games.
I have loved Max since the first game—a decade ago. No matter what games I moved on to, how much I enjoyed them, Max Payne has always had, and always will have, a top spot in my heart. The original game was, for me, a haunting, desperate tale of one man’s descent into darkness. His story is full of typical tropes for sure, but tropes are fine when done well.
In the first game, you start the story with Max who’s living an ordinary, mundane life as a cop and family man. After he loses everything, Max begins to basically live his life balls to the walls. And even though you want things to get better for Max because he’s such a tragically good guy, the grimness of the situation is it doesn’t. This follows him into the second game and culminates in the third game where we find him guarding people he doesn’t care for, living in a country where he doesn’t speak the language, and basically trying to do everything humanly possible to end his life short of swallowing his own gun.
We were teased with Max Payne 3 for years. I think, for us hardcore fans of the series, that we’d pretty much hardened our hearts to the rumors because it was such a letdown to hear that it was in production. Sure, we wanted the third game to see how Max’s tale would end, but if there was one thing we’d taken from our antihero, it was to never bet too much on hope. And then, finally, there was something to substantiate the rumor. Now, I’m a Rockstar fan, but most of my respect comes from how they handle their offerings. I think that they’re consistent if nothing else—something I wished another unnamed company I love would take a couple of hints from. Rockstar wouldn’t release this game until they felt it was ready for the public, even if that meant pushing it back. It was worth the wait.