Just finished Max Payne's Story mode, and I've got to say, this game is top notch. One of the many things that stuck out was the fact that I was constantly unaware of when a cutscene was ending and control over Max began. The seamless transition between cutscene and gameplay is astonishing. The fact that the lighting, texturing and poly count in the in-game seems to be just as high as the cutscenes got me thinking about how much we've grown accustomed to games created in Unreal Engine. Don't get me wrong, UE has been a boon to game developers and has enhanced the level of detail on the current generation of consoles, but it disappoints me that RAGE has taken a back seat despite many advantages.
While I would also like to laud Crytek's engine, it seems to only approach a RAGE/UE3 level of polish when used on high-end PC's.
In closing, when Max first enters the favella, I hadn't felt that immersed in a living world in quite a while. I guess I can be classified as an "environment whore". While graphics whores care for nothing but graphics, environment whores relish being in a fully-realized world. And while the current generation of hardware doesn't have the ability to render such lavish worlds at the sandbox scale, I have my fingers crossed that this is something the next-generation experience will provide.