It’s hard to articulate my love for Max Payne. One of the greatest games of all time, when I try to explain precisely what makes it so excellent I get so flustered and overexcited all my words just kind of merge into one big sound. Likewise, Max Payne 2, the action-adventure game sequel, remains one of the best games of 2003, especially those levels in the funhouse. With the Alan Wake 2 release date on its way and Remedy also working on the Max Payne remakes, if you haven’t sampled the hard-boiled, bullet-time shooters already – or just want to slow-mo dive back into Max Payne after almost 20 years – you can get both games now for under $5.
The murky New York City subway levels. The verbose, strained one liners. Sam Lake’s instantly iconic facial expressions. The original Max Payne is one of the games that I’ve completed the most times. From the opening, suburban bloodbath – which I still maintain is one of the hardest-hitting first levels in mainstream gaming – to the final sniper rifle round to crush the helicopter, the original Payne remains the high watermark for smart, quickfire, and unique action games.
Max Payne 2 meanwhile is an underappreciated follow-up. Treading through the abandoned, Address Unknown funhouse is Remedy at its funniest and most distinctive. Between Payne, Alan Wake, and Control, the developer has a fantastic ability to combine the dark and the serious with low-budget, broad comedy. The guns sound great – though the Ingrams in Max Payne 1 will always be the best – and there’s a fantastic story of how Max, despite everything, keeps finding new ways to spiral down and down.
We don’t have much news on the Max Payne remake project yet, which is set to totally rebuild the first two games, but it’s definitely coming. So, if you want to experience Remedy’s finest two hours for the first time, or refamiliarize yourself with some of the best games ever, you can get get the Max Payne Bundle, which contains both games, for $4.49 / £2.99 down 70% from $14.99 / £9.99. Just head over to Steam before Thursday, August 10.