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Thread: The sadly neglected games

  1. #51
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I bounced off of the first Max Payne several times but I loved the second one. The third I enjoyed a fair bit, more so than what I played of Max Payne, but it's the second one that's close to my heart.

  2. #52
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    MP2 is Remedy's best work 'til date, really. It's got a balance of everything. I think I'd like MP3 more if it wasn't a Max Payne game, because the burden of expectation it shoulders is too great, and it's too fundamentally a different take on the detective noir absurdism of the first two. To me the larger problem is that it dispenses with the noir and symbolism in favour of hard-edged action moviemaking, and it doesn't have a plot so much as a breadcrumb trail of reasons to visit flashy locations and fuck them up.

    And yes, I know what I'm saying here, but the biggest offender is that it has exactly none of Sam Lake's noir-flecked purple prose. I can't believe I'd ever admit to myself that I miss it, but... yeah. MP3 didn't have anything to fill in that void, and it shows.

  3. #53
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The rain was comin' down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time. When you're in a situation like mine, you can only think in metaphors.
    They do try to have some in the third game, but it falls flat, because exactly none of it resonates or makes a lot of sense. Max has very little reason to really get invested in any of the locations or any of the people or wax poetic about his situation. And he has little personal reason to get pissed off about his antagonists or get angry about the organ trafficking.

    In the first games, everything he did was tied to him or his past or people close to him. There was a goal driving him towards the conclusion and there were stakes in the whole confrontation. It was personal, intensely so. With Nicole Horne, it was personal, with Vlad it was personal. In the third game, the special forces guy and the politician brother are just some bad guys you could find anywhere.

  4. #54
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    For me, Max Payne 2 was the pinnacle of that kind of Paynery. The first game felt like an imperfect prototype, the second perfected it. If they'd done a third game along those lines, I think the risk of repeating themselves, just louder and bigger, would've been considerable. As such, I think I appreciated Max Payne 3 as a flawed but IMO interesting way of taking the character and how he inhabits the world, and putting him in a different world with some of the same themes and motifs. If I'd been a fan of the first game, I might've been more annoyed with what it left behind.

  5. #55
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Hard disagree on 'interesting' take. It's clearly influenced/inspired by Man on Fire, which is what I meant when I said I'd like it more if it wasn't a Max Payne game. It's perfectly serviceable as a generic adaptation.

    A more typical sequel could be drawing from an empty well, true, but subverting the series' themes and characters still has mileage in terms of making Max face himself in a mirror and NOT do the misplaced revenge arc/shaving his hair off/all the other tropey hardboiled cop fiction bits MP3 went with but thematically made no sense given Max's history.

    The thing about Payne is, like Starker said, it's personal. I'd also add that it's intensely weird as fuck, thematically and psychologically, and there's lots more to mine there, with a finality that doesn't have to hew towards MP3's unearned, on the nose retirement plan.

  6. #56
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Perhaps it helps that I haven't seen Man on Fire. If I did watch it, I'd probably think it's a generic Max Payne 3 rip-off.

  7. #57
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Well it's like Jacob's Ladder with Silent Hill 2.

  8. #58
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by Thirith View Post
    Perhaps it helps that I haven't seen Man on Fire. If I did watch it, I'd probably think it's a generic Max Payne 3 rip-off.
    Cute, but no cigar. The series' thematic throughline remains ever so gently fucked in the arse, ipso facto I reject this [bad] ad hoc hypothesis.


    j/k agree to disagree

  9. #59
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I'm not sure there's anything there to agree or disagree with, because all I'm talking about is personal impressions. There's no overall theory or interpretation behind it. As I wrote before, I bounced off of Max Payne. I started it several times but it never pulled me in, so I can't say anything about the series' throughline, because I never got far enough with Max Payne to be able to say much about its themes or its version of Max. And what I found interesting about Max Payne was mainly that, Man on Fire pastiche or not, the environments it presents us with were different from the vast majority of game environments I'd visited, and being able to walk through a place, look at it, observe how it's done, that's something I enjoy in games. I would also say that while obviously MP3's environment is much less open than other Rockstar games, it still felt more cohesive and less like just a themepark ride than, say, the levels of pretty much any Call of Duty at the time. And I bought the version of Max that I saw as a possible development of the Max in the second game, while pretty much fully ignorant of Max in the original game. But yes, I didn't find Max Payne 3 interesting in the way that I found Max Payne 2 interesting, because that game was idiosyncratic, unique, and it sang in a way that no other Remedy game has for me. (I have a dislike for Alan Wake that is stronger than I fully understand.)

  10. #60
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    The thing about Payne is, like Starker said, it's personal. I'd also add that it's intensely weird as fuck, thematically and psychologically, and there's lots more to mine there, with a finality that doesn't have to hew towards MP3's unearned, on the nose retirement plan.
    Yeah, the originals play the noir angle to the hilt. You have all the classic beats -- a hard-boiled detective down on this luck, a grimy crime-infested city, rain-soaked streets, ambiguous morality, a femme fatale, doppelgängers, pithy one-liners, weird angles, flashbacks, a non-linear narrative, unhappy endings etc. Everything and everyone is filtered through noir -- the places, the characters, the dialogue, Max's inner monologue, the weird series you can catch on TV (screens within screens is another classic noir thing)...

    The third game has some of the trappings of noir but it's there without any rhyme or reason and none of it feels like it fits. I haven't been to the real São Paulo, but as far as the game is concerned, palm trees, football, tropical weather, and funk don't exactly scream noir to me. I also haven't seen Man on Fire, but it very heavily gave me the vibes of action movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

    Personally, I felt that the third game was simply unnecessary. Max had already come to a full arc when the second game ended with him being able to let go of the past and forgive himself. Making him wallow in misery and self-loathing again felt gratuitous rather than poignant.

  11. #61
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    One thing in MP3 that was great was the music. A few of which are video game playlist worthy:


  12. #62
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    So I can cross another game off my neglected games list: Alan Wake

    Goddammit, why do I have to be so stupid and play masterpieces like this almost a decade late? I had read all sorts of negative stuff about Alan Wake, and while I knew that it'd be a decent game at least, my expectations weren't sky high. What if the game hasn't aged well at all? However, after turning all the graphics options to the maximum (the default resolution was 800x600 or something) and getting used to the somewhat consoley controls (I had forgotten that Alan Wake came out on XBox before PC), it was an unforgettable ride.

    The game got off to a slow start, but I was hooked by the moment I stepped into the dark forest. In the beginning especially I just loved the atmosphere. I had no idea what the hell was going on and what's going to happen next - being all alone in the forest at night felt almost intimidating. I can't remember the last time a game made me feel like that, it was kind of strange but great. Not necessarily scary, but damn I was happy whenever I found a light source, a safe place to calm down and gather myself.

    The story is full of cliches, but the funny thing is that it works so well in this game. Alan Wake is a writer and he's kind of imagining things that then come true in his world; near the beginning of the game there's a scene where you're being chased by a crazy guy with an axe, it's like (intentionally) straight from The Shining but that's what makes it so great. I found the writing and the story in general pretty damn clever, actually. I don't think I've ever enjoyed finding readables as much in any other game as I did in Alan Wake (and there are quite a lot of readable documents to be found!) - they provide some genuinely interesting lore and useful information about what's going on and what is about to happen.

    Sure, the game has its flaws, and I agree with some of the usual criticism. The game drags on for a bit too long, I think there's a bit too much filler content and it could have been a few hours shorter. Like I said, I loved the atmosphere and the action and pretty much everything in the beginning, but at some point in the game being all alone in the dark forest surrounded by creatures of the night stops being scary. To be fair, that's kind of supposed to be happen, because even the behaviour of the protagonist changes as the story progresses - he has got used to it all already and just wants to get things done - but in the end I just wanted the story to end too. The gunplay is simple but surprisingly fun, but towards the end it also gets a bit repetitive when the game becomes more of an action game than a horror game. I started to miss the survival game kind of approach from the first chapters.

    Anyway, I'm glad that it's over now and I've got one less "essential" game to play, but it was a great experience and a great story. I also must give a few extra points to the game for having Roy Orbison and David Bowie on the soundtrack! I don't think I've ever heard Orbison on a game soundtrack before.
    Last edited by Tomi; 9th Nov 2019 at 18:45.

  13. #63
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I'm also in the very small minority who liked the game. Actually, even more so on the second replay. It's somewhat less of a slog, since you're used to the gameplay, and the story makes more sense, or at least I was able to appreciate it more after I knew what was actually going on.

    I'd highly recommend to play American Nightmare next. It's better as far as gameplay is concerned and it's short enough to not overstay its welcome.

  14. #64
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I'm also in the very small minority who liked the game.
    Errr, no. Most people liked Alan Wake, both critics and gamers. And, complaints about the initial XBox 360 exclusivity aside, TTLGers liked it as well.

    It didn't get much attention on initial release because it was a 360 exclusive and came out in the same week as Red Dead Redemption.

  15. #65
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I think back about Alan Wake, and the only good thing that ever came from it was my Dear Esther letter filtered through the mind of Koki. Gosh, that's not so bad.

  16. #66
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by henke View Post
    Errr, no. Most people liked Alan Wake, both critics and gamers. And, complaints about the initial XBox 360 exclusivity aside, TTLGers liked it as well.

    It didn't get much attention on initial release because it was a 360 exclusive and came out in the same week as Red Dead Redemption.
    Well, I stand corrected, but in my experience, nobody ever seems to have played the game, and when they have, they have invariably criticised it. I guess some of it had to do with expectations. I also remember it visually not being as impressive as what they showed in demos before it became a 360 exclusive and far more linear and less open world than I had thought.

  17. #67
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    So I can cross another game off my neglected games list: Alan Wake

    Goddammit, why do I have to be so stupid and play masterpieces like this almost a decade late? I had read all sorts of negative stuff about Alan Wake, and while I knew that it'd be a decent game at least, my expectations weren't sky high. What if the game hasn't aged well at all? However, after turning all the graphics options to the maximum (the default resolution was 800x600 or something) and getting used to the somewhat consoley controls (I had forgotten that Alan Wake came out on XBox before PC), it was an unforgettable ride.

    The game got off to a slow start, but I was hooked by the moment I stepped into the dark forest. In the beginning especially I just loved the atmosphere. I had no idea what the hell was going on and what's going to happen next - being all alone in the forest at night felt almost intimidating. I can't remember the last time a game made me feel like that, it was kind of strange but great. Not necessarily scary, but damn I was happy whenever I found a light source, a safe place to calm down and gather myself.

    The story is full of cliches, but the funny thing is that it works so well in this game. Alan Wake is a writer and he's kind of imagining things that then come true in his world; near the beginning of the game there's a scene where you're being chased by a crazy guy with an axe, it's like (intentionally) straight from The Shining but that's what makes it so great. I found the writing and the story in general pretty damn clever, actually. I don't think I've ever enjoyed finding readables as much in any other game as I did in Alan Wake (and there are quite a lot of readable documents to be found!) - they provide some genuinely interesting lore and useful information about what's going on and what is about to happen.

    Sure, the game has its flaws, and I agree with some of the usual criticism. The game drags on for a bit too long, I think there's a bit too much filler content and it could have been a few hours shorter. Like I said, I loved the atmosphere and the action and pretty much everything in the beginning, but at some point in the game being all alone in the dark forest surrounded by creatures of the night stops being scary. To be fair, that's kind of supposed to be happen, because even the behaviour of the protagonist changes as the story progresses - he has got used to it all already and just wants to get things done - but in the end I just wanted the story to end too. The gunplay is simple but surprisingly fun, but towards the end it also gets a bit repetitive when the game becomes more of an action game than a horror game. I started to miss the survival game kind of approach from the first chapters.

    Anyway, I'm glad that it's over now and I've got one less "essential" game to play, but it was a great experience and a great story. I also must give a few extra points to the game for having Roy Orbison and David Bowie on the soundtrack! I don't think I've ever heard Orbison on a game soundtrack before.
    Make sure you play the DLC episodes for the real ending!

  18. #68
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by froghawk View Post
    Make sure you play the DLC episodes for the real ending!
    I already did actually! The gameplay in the DLC episodes was more balanced and more fun, and they wrapped up the story quite nicely indeed, even though things got a bit too strange for my liking in the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I'd highly recommend to play American Nightmare next. It's better as far as gameplay is concerned and it's short enough to not overstay its welcome.
    Thanks to your recommendation, I finished that one right after the "main game". I didn't expect to like the Alan Wake action game that much, but it turned out to be a positive surprise! American Nightmare has got kind of a survival feeling that I really like, and there are more guns to play with too. The game also opens up the story of Alan Wake even more, which is nice. It only took me a couple of hours to play through it all, but that was just about the perfect length and I'm glad that it didn't last longer - things get too repetitive when you visit all the same places for the third time.

    There's also the arcade mode that I tried quickly, and it didn't seem half bad either! You'll have to beat waves of enemies and stay alive for ten minutes, which turned out to be quite challenging. I played this one graveyard level, and it felt a lot like that one zombie-killing quest in VtM: Bloodlines, but done right this time, as it was much more fun rather than frustrating.

  19. #69
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    I played a character with firearms and celerity, which should've been a really good build for that dang zombie quest, but I just could not beat it.

    There was also a hunter in a strip club you were supposed to take out quietly. Take out? Sure. Quietly? Err... Not so much.

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