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Max Payne finally comes to Android [Android app review]

After several delays, Max Payne has finally made its way to Google Play. Rockstar did a pretty good job with device support, and we got an early look at the enhanced Tegra 3 version. If you're a fan of this sort of action shooter, you're in for a treat. If you're not into the cinematic action genre, you'll still appreciate how the game looks and the excellent graphics Rockstar came up with on this one.

After you get it installed, that is. We can't go any further without mentioning that Max Payne requires a whopping 1.4GB download of game files. The servers were pretty speedy (with nobody using them, anyway) but that's still about half a data cap worth of downloading. Make sure you're somewhere with Wifi when you install this one. I don't want to sound like I'm knocking them for doing it, the game certainly looks great and those resources need to be downloaded. Consider yourself warned.

As a cinematic action-shooter, there's quite a bit of story behind the game. Without too many spoilers, Max Payne is a DEA agent with the task of taking out a group of designer drug peddlers. You'll have plenty of time to follow the story, as Max Payne is a mix of gameplay, cut-scenes, and cinematics. The story-board style cut-scenes will remind you of a graphic novel or comic, and are done with just a touch of 1950's style gangster-noir -- which fits Max Payne really well.

As expected, the gameplay on the Tegra 3 is superb. The additional textures and filtering, as well as all the lighting and physics enhancements really show off NVIDIA's gaming heritage. Controls are a bit complicated, especially on a smaller screen, but the game played great on both the Transformer Prime and the international HTC One X. 

Two things help with those complicated controls, though. There's a pretty thorough tutorial that helps you understand the movements and actions your toon can do, as well as demo how to interact with the world around you. The second thing is the excellent game controller support. I used a Logitech F710 wireless controller, which worked flawlessly with zero setup. This controller is known to work well with Android anyway, but not having to change any settings or map any buttons was a really nice touch. In the end, if you have the means to use a controller with this one you'll be glad you did. 

There's other options and settings, where you can change video properties and sound settings, as well as aming settings to adjust the sensitivity and speed of that little dot on the screen (use them). full integration with Rockstar Social Club -- Rockstar's online gaming community -- is also part of the package, and users can earn achievements and unlock cheat codes. Pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing.

The gameplay itself is smooth and fluid, seems to be at a really high framerate, and rivals what you'll find on a console with the Tegra 3 version. You progress through the game, killing bad guys and finding you way to the next level by checking out everything round you. There's some clipping and bodies can find their way into some pretty unnatural positions, but for the most part it's a realistic representation with excellent game physics. I just wish there was more of it. Max Payne was designed strictly for fans of cinematic action games, and if you don't enjoy plenty of cuts and video, you'll get a bit agitated. I found myself instantly fast-forwarding any time I could, as I just wanted to kill things. That's not a fault of the game, though -- it's just not my style. If it's your style, you'll love his one. 

Max Payne will be found at the Google Play store shorty, and will set you back $3. Hit the break for a spoiler video of the first act and some screenshots.

Rockstar Games on Google Play

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Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • Looks like a "Must Have" to me.. :-)
  • I played it already when it came out over ten years ago, not sure if I finished it (I was in college or senior year, and probably addicted to SC)... Will probably buy it anyway, if for nothing else than to show it off to some of my friends who will surely remember it.
  • Finally! Just beat max Payne 3 yesterday on hard, airport was a nightmare. Now on (or back) to max Payne 1.
  • Never got to play the Max Payne series before , even though im a recovering Gamerholic (Im addicted to Grand Theft Auto) , maybe this my chance (Giving I\O went as I hope) But a whopping 1.4GB ????? Well, you cant store that one on the cloud Also, it feels good to have a year old phone still supported & mentioned specifically in the compatible devices list. ;)
  • Max Payne 1 and 2 are 2 in my top 10 list of all time PC games, and were both in top 5 until only a few years ago. already bought and DLing the content now. can't wait to play on my GN and see if it works on my HP Touchpad
  • Instant buy for me! Rockstar does a really good job on their mobile games
  • Why would the OneX, OneS, and even Evo 3D be supported but not the Evo 4G LTE? :/ And you made numerous references to the "tegra 3" version. Is there actually a version just for tegra devices that looks or plays better than the other? Am I actually missing out on well optimized android games by having a Snapdragon S4 based phone, even if it performs just as well as tegra devices?
  • I played the original when it first came out. Loved the game. And this is an instant-buy for me. However, tax?! F***** tax?! I have to pay a god damn sales tax now?! This is the first time ever I had to pay a sales tax for an app! EDIT: was supposed to be a new post instead of a reply.
  • Nvidia's Tegra 3 has a Muti-Core GPU processor and a lot of games are optimized to take advantage of its Technology.. You will see more enhanced effects on a Tegra 3 GPU device than you will on a snapdragon S4 CPU running an Adreno GPU ( U.S. Galaxy S3, OneX etc..).
  • Several hours after my first comment, I must say this is the most hooked and the most fun I've ever had with a mobile game.
  • The gamepad linked would work with a One X as well? it states it connects to USB or 2.4GHz wireless. Wouldn't it need bluetooth to connect to the One X?