I rarely get awe-struck by music. I get fascinated by the capability, skill and melodies of certain metal bands, I get amused and even mindfucked by the wordplay and genius of some rappers, yet I can't name many songs that literally made me freeze in my spot and be overwhelmed.
A friend of mine recently played this song while we were sitting down and I just couldn't believe how perfect it is.
Adele's angelic voice, the piano music of one of her finest songs, and Biggie's flowing voice sharing his suicidal thoughts.
I must stress that while I like B.I.G, I wasn't familiar with his Suicidal Thoughts song until after listening to this one, which is why listening to him speaking about dying, over the emotional piano riff, and knowing that he did in fact die just 3 years after this song, was why I was so touched and simply compelled by this mash-up.
The knock-out punch that makes the song incredible is what Adele is actually saying. She's a female speaking to (probably) a male and telling him she heard he's settled down and fulfilled his dreams. It fits perfectly to Biggie's lyrics because he's basically having a conversation with Adele, who feels like she's playing his mom, and then his wife, both of which he's talking about.
I guess if you already know the original song, this might not be as hard-hitting for you as it was for me, but either way man, the perfect joining of his sad thought-provoking words and the sad soulful music and voice of Adele makes for an emotional eargasm.
Telling us how he abused his mother followed by asking "I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes?", and repeating the same thing about his wife, is just amazing.
Even though Adele gets sampled and mashed up out the ass, this still felt unique.
Do you have a song that had so much going for it that it amazed you?
At one point in your life you just have to stop ignoring it and admit that something's wrong with you (if something really is). Let me start by clarifying three things:
I'm not spoiled or anything, I'm thankful for my health, food and shelter, my good supportive parents and my easy going life.
I'm not delusional or dramatic, I don't think I have a "sickness" that deserves sympathy, the sole purpose of this thread is to see how others deal with this problem.
I'm not seeking approval for not trying to change and "blaming it on others." I'm constantly trying, and I'm not blaming anyone. People don't suck.
Ok so now that I've got that out of the way, I gotta ask, does any of you have this problem where you're just.. completely dead and boring? You don't feel the need to accomplish anything, you don't seem to have any ambitions other than living well, you don't feel the need to show others that you're an opinionated strong man, you're indifferent towards most things in life that others get riled up about and discuss, when you sit down with friends you crack the occasional joke or talk about a few things but you mostly just sit there in your comfortable silence eating chips or smoking a cigarette?
While I'm no longer a teenager and I've overcome most of the typical teenage issues and am fully responsible now, fixing my own problems and taking care of myself, working and making my own money, I've noticed that one problem I've had since forever is that I can't seem to bond with anyone or have that real friendship that is beyond the usual banter and activities you have with casual acquaintances, and I've narrowed it down to the fact that I don't have that inner energy, that fire that keeps people gossiping and pulling pranks and making dick jokes and trying to impress the ladies. Being on all the damn time.
I go out on a regular basis, I have enough "friends" and relatives, I mingle with my work mates a lot, I go to the movies or go swimming, but there's always been this disconnect.. When they discuss politics or religion, I just don't have much to add. When they discuss random shit just for the sake of it, I fail to see the point. When they laugh at dick jokes, I just smile. When they wanna go to a coffee shop or something, I just find myself going home.
I've come to this conclusion: In order for you to bond with people, become friends, make them interested in you, make them respect you and desire your company, you have to have two things:
The need to share your opinions in a loud imposing speaking voice in random conversations that shows that you're opinionated about whatever topic is at hand. You need to keep an instant image of being "confident" and opinionated and focused. You need to keep showing others that you're in the loop and that you are simply relevant.
The need to accomplish things, have ambition, always have a goal set that you want to achieve, always racing to do things and go places. Showing the image that you are determined.
So I'm wondering, for those of you who are like me, absolutely boring and unmotivated, a person who WANTS to do whatever is socially necessary to go on yet you find people yawning in your company and not tagging you in facebook pictures and shit, how do you deal/how have you dealt with it? Are we destined to just be alone and feeling unfulfilled?
I do realize that I'm basically an introvert, and I have done many things that people advise introverts to do, I went from being a fat depressed jobless motionless antisocial teenager to a relatively fit, working, "socially mingling" university student, but it's just not working. So how do you deal with being so boring?
Sometimes I dread the day I began playing Battlefield 2. It's as if I had suddenly become wealthy and afforded eating the most expensive dish I could find on this entire planet, and then after becoming addicted to it, it went extinct or became an inedible substance that remains only as a sweet memory. Nothing that came before it even compares to it, and nothing that comes after it hits the spot like it did.
Many dishes had its colors, its size and even its smell, but did any of it actually taste like it? Nothing did.
Then Battlefield 3 was announced, just when the Battlefield 2 well had completely dried up (most of the community had moved on, the server admins went nuts with their rules, the clans lost their mojo and, tech-wise, the game just grew old). I went mad with the anticipation of a sequel to the million dollar dish that I've been starving for for years. I'm sure most of you remember that I single-handedly drove these forums nuts with BF3-mania and anticipation, Alpha and Beta debates, an organized community of 500 soldiers with our own servers and all that. I especially remember this rant blog that exploded like a beautiful pinata!
Good times were had in the months leading up to the release, and even better times were had with you guys running in the stock maps and B2K maps, but did any of it hit my spot? Did I feel like I'm finally back in the virtual heaven I had been kick out of? Sadly not. Until...
Armored Kill is out, a 4-map expansion pack which, according to a DICE employee's post on the late EAUK forums months ago, was designed specifically for those who were dissatisfied with the size and flag placement of the stock maps. That's me, son.
To many people still, Battlefield is about Conquest and Conquest alone. It is the arcade-ish pseudo-realistic virtual military experience whose power relies in its map design; maps that are a few kilometer large, and have nothing less than 7 control points (flags) scattered around the hills and rivers of these maps, difficult to reach, and randomly placed in a way that makes you THINK before you decide which flag to travel to, whether it's gonna cost you time, whether it's too close to the enemy base and will be taken back, whether a tank or a helicopter spawns there that you can use, whether your teammates are around it to help you or whether you'll be on your own.
These maps have the scale that is very reminiscent of Battlefield 2. They have the amazing vehicle variety of jets, attack choppers, little birds, transportation choppers, jeeps, ATVs, heavy tanks, destroyer tanks, artillery trucks and AA vehicles.
But more importantly, to me anyway, are the flags. If you look at the picture above, you'll see how far apart the flags are and how many geographical obstacles there are between them. Traveling from a flag to another is no longer achieved by jumping off a low cliff in a matter of seconds (Caspian Border), it is now a trip to be made to conquer the enemy's control points. This is your conquest, as it should have been since the game was released.
I don't have much else to say other than that this is my multiplayer heaven finally materialized after a long time of being in hell. I'm very happy with DICE taking notice of the dissatisfied Battlefield "veterans" and actually making us our "own" DLC even though they sold ridiculously.
Yet.... Something's missing
While I'm content and thankful for this content (seewhatididthere?), something is missing. Some of these are silly, some of them may seem unnecessary, but I still miss them or think they should exist for the Battlefield experience to be complete.
Serious lack of communication - No one gives any orders for their squad to work together. No one uses the Commo Rose to have a social feel that makes you feel that you're running with other human beings. The chat is mostly used for Admin spam, and the occasional message from a dissatisfied player. In the BF2 days, everyone gave orders and use voice commands, you continuously felt like you had human team mates who had a mutual purpose and the intent to help one another. Now it's nothing but the same VO lines that we've been hearing since the game launched. To me, a 64-player gig on a massive map feels empty and dead when jets aren't colliding in the air.
Empty safe bases - Click on these two pictures to see how barren and deserted the carrier and main base are: Pic 1, Pic 2... In BF2, it actually felt like those bases were the "home" of the team where people camped the jets and helicopters, knifed each other, picked each other up and went into the battle.. Now, after driving off at the beginning of the round, those massive bases remain empty. It sucks is all.
Here's a video I made in my BF2 days which shows how everyone was everywhere doing everything, not just crowded on a flag somewhere:
Restraint - No body wants to take a break and look around. No body wants to enjoy the moment and fight without a tank once in a while. BF3 is a continuous restless race for tanks, the tanks spawn immediately, everyone is jumping into them and everyone else is playing Engineer to take them down.
Squad names - In past BF titles, squads actually meant something. You make your own squad and you give it a name like "TEAMWORK" or "SNIPERS" or "C4 FUN", which divided people among those squads based on their interests. Now squads consist of 4 green-named strangers who mostly use each other to spawn near the action. Their mutual interest as squad members ends there.
And one thing that's not making me play much anymore is the lack of friends to play with. The game had a great momentum with the awesome PC community of Giant Bomb, but now that I no longer organize gamenights and since people have moved on to other games, I feel the gang has disbanded. And I'm just not in the mood to join a clan, because most clans are probably young XP-hungry kids, either that or overly serious military fanatics.
It's time for your bed time story
This isn't the most amazing thing ever, but it's my first memorable Armored Kill moment.
This continued for quite a while.... I must've dodged that guy's arty about 6 times until the flag finished capturing.
This was amazing to me. One of the defining aspects of Battlefield 2 was the Commander who rained hellish artillery on the enemies' heads trying to clear out a contested flag, and it was amazing for two reasons:
You could, after a while during a round, see the commander's style and patterns, and predict where he wants to hit next, and when he likes to hit, which allowed you to anticipate it and evade it.
When you became experienced enough, you could actually hear the artillery cannons pumping in the distance, which meant that in 4 seconds it's gonna start raining on you..
The fact that someone somewhere was in an artillery vehicle waiting for his team's flags to get attacked and shooting his arty in the air trying to hit that position to protect his flag, restored my faith in the Battlefield 3 experience and community.
It felt like a commander was hiding somewhere firing artillery on me.. I need to find that guy and thank him.
With a lot of things changing in my life recently, I've been playing games on and off and with a different approach, and I have some thoughts to share about my recent gaming.
Taking a break from the big games
"Big" games are exhausting. They are exhausting for the mind, the eyes, the fingers and the temper. Lately I've been feeling like I've had enough of hording loot, trying to keep up with quests, traveling for hours and surviving underground Draugr gangbangs in Skyrim, trying to absorb the massive world of Fallout: New Vegas, to understand what the hell is going on in Darksiders, to not piss off the guards in DXHR Missing Link by sneaking around with my heartbeat banging in my ears, to try and not forget the tons of shit I learned in Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines after 10 seconds of learning them because the game has to keep teaching me moar, trying to understand why I get raped in Company of Heroes and always seem to be out of man power and armor, to endure the terrible Metro 2033 gameplay and checkpoint system just because it's supposed to be atmospheric and groundbreaking (somehow), and to care about Phelps' shenanigans in L.A. Noire (giving it a second shot on PC this time).
Those are all great games whose torture and/or challenges I've enjoyed immensely and will continue to enjoy in the future, but for now, I'm just exhausted mentally and emotionally. Those games are too big, complex, time consuming and penalizing. They require too much concentration and dedication, it's insane. This includes multiplayer games, I'm taking a massive break from the competitiveness and stress of Battlefield 3 and Tribes Ascend.
So I've been mostly playing games that are simple and fun:
NightSky, a game I got as part of a Humble Bundle gift from @evilrazer, is a faaaaantastically relaxing side scrolling puzzler that consists of moving an out-of-control crystal ball over gaps and up and down various slopes, with all kinds of tricky terrain that requires incredibly satisfying-to-pull-off tricks. The music and visual style are indeed very relaxing and enjoyable. (5/5)
Renegade Ops..... What can I say about Renegade Ops? Avalanche Studios is the undisputed king of pure video game fun. The joy I felt playing that top down Just Cause 2 gem where I drove a killer car around blasting tanks and squashing fools with all kinds of awesome weapons and special attacks was just too much. The physics made the driving extremely satisfying, all those stunts and turns and jumps and brakes, I got that feeling you get when you're a young kid on Christmas day, it was great. Also, that JC2 engine... Eye candy, yo. (5/5)
RAGE - Textures? Horrible. The attempt to have RPG aspects like Fallout 3? Horrible. The attempt to have seductive loot like Borderlands? Horrible. However, when I got used to my surroundings looking like smeared feces and the mission system trying to be an RPG quest system, I focused on what makes id Games amazing - the shooting. Just pure first person shooter goodness, the guns have that sexy heavy hard-hitting feel that ironically many shooters forget to add, the AI is rather unique with its behavior during combat and its endurance, and.... THAT'S IT! The shooting is just BAM BAM BAM so much fun, sounds great and feels great.
Dungeons of Dredmor - I still have no idea what's going on in that game, but the ingame text is funny dammit! And I guess the gameplay is all around gay (no, the other meaning of gay) and fun to just sit back and whack mutant ducks on the head.
Orcs Must Die - I've only played like 10 minutes but I can tell, this is the shit!
Q.U.B.E - I was enjoying this cheap Portal game until a Steam update wiped my 5 level progress.... So I uninstalled it :(
So during the last 6 months or so I've played 8 hours of AP. I refused to judge the game as shitty (because, let's face it, AP is shitty) because many people praise it and implore players to look past its flaws. So I decided to stick with it and keep playing.
Dude, AP is shitty. I love the universe and the theme. I looooooove the dialogue style. I love the voice acting. I love the RPG elements and greatly enjoy buying toys for Thorton and changing his clothes. I love the Intel stuff with the dossiers and all that.
But.... Dude. This is a video game. The things I mentioned above can do so much before the actual real-time gameplay of trying to infiltrate a base (for instance) feel absolutely morbid. Everything about this game screams "I come from the year 2002." Thorton's movement speed and animation are laughable, the AI was exported straight from Postal 2 because they have no brains and their limbs were replaced with robot parts, the visuals are horrific, the environment is very restrictive when it comes to climbing or jumping or vaulting, and the checkpoint system is just tormenting for a game that reaaaaaaally needs a quick save button.
I'm sorry, I love what Obsidiantried to do with this, if this was a movie I'd buy 5 copies, but this is an interactive abomination. I gave it a good shot. It's shitty!
This blog is spoiler-free. The title is an Alan Wake script reference.
In 13-14 hours within the last 2 days, I've played and beaten Max Payne 3. For months before the game came out I had so many mixed and profound feelings about it. There was the insane excitement and anticipation to get into the head of my all time favorite protagonist, dearest of all my friends Max Payne, one more (and last) time, so I can bid him farewell like I've waited to do for years. But there also all the things that make video game development simply unfortunate in my eyes.
My worries were: Over-simplifying the game's shooting mechanics and level deisgn so it sells more and has more appeal for the wider, lighter gaming audience. Leaving the sorrowful, heartbreaking and up-close-and-personal noire tale of Max Payne to go for a more generic Rockstar Games character arc. Featuring a sloppy, basic, freedom-restricting form of bullet-time and shootdodging, coupled with the terribad Rockstar shooting (I think it's great in IV and RDR, but it would suck for a linear bullet-time focused game). Totally ruining the game on PC (where Max Payne was born and will always belong) by porting it with their dicks while their hands are tied behind their backs and their eyes closed shut. And most importantly, Max losing his personality and charm. His legendary molongues and one liners during the game's cutscenes and various gameplay moments.
Two of my three all time favorite franchises had been ruined less than a year ago: Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3. And since they say death comes in threes, it only made sense for me to expect Max to die in this new sequel as well. His soul to die, his action moves and great monologues, not him passing away in the game. (P.S. the first BF3 DLC redeemed the game somewhat, and the fall DLC "Armored Kill" looks like it will be the salvation of the game. Here's hoping!)
Were any of my worries legitimate? WAS I RIGHT?! I was so wrong.
Max Payne 3 (2012)
"Points" means I'm rewarding the game for doing something well.
">>" is for funny screenshots/interesting observations.
P.S. The words in yellow below are LINKED TO SCREENSHOTS. Click on them to enlarge on-screen!
"Time to move on, get on with my life. Yes, absolutely. Now, like I said, it was a long time ago. Let it go, seriously." From the opening cutscene where Max has a conversation with himself, trying to convince himself that this new beginning is good for him and that there's no harm in trying this new job, I was hooked. The Max Payne 2 theme was used beautifully, Max looks and sounds like he's the older extension of his 9-years-younger self. Points: 2
The game has a TON of PC options, from gameplay to controls to graphics, and it runs sooooo smoothly. Points: 6 The game begins with a flash back of the last moment of the story, just like the first two games. Max is reflecting on what he has done so far, with a tone that mixes confidence, regret and uncertainty. Points: 8 Now to be honest in the first couple of levels (villa party and disco club), I wasn't feeling the gameplay. Max was too heavy, a little clumsy, and I didn't know how to dynamically and swiftly use bullet-time and shootdodging, especially that the mouse sensitivity, even when turned all the way up, was just not high enough to spin the reticule 360 degrees 10 times before hitting the ground. The only way I know how.
In addition to his disorienting weight/movement and the dissatisfying shootdodges/mouse sensitivity, the camera effects were pretty ridiculous as well. I mean, come on. Those were my initial impressions, bear in mind. I also wasn't fond of taking cover in a Max Payne game, but seeing as the shootdodging wasn't very fun and the weapon controls just felt weird, i found myself either taking cover or repeating the gunfights over and over until I finished them untouched. The only way I know how. Yes, I actually restart the checkpoint over and over til i empty a room or clear a yard untouched, or with minimal damage taken. However the game gets a couple of points for having proper Max Payne levels to be explored. I felt right at home. I mean, exploring a dirty bathroom is so Max Payne. Ohhh yeeeahhh. Points: 10
I slowly began to enjoy how gritty and rugged this whole experience is. It felt natural and made sense that an old man Max in a stranger land would turn into such an alien rather than feel familiar. And it was my mission to conquer this alien, tame him and bring him home. His confusion, cynicism and moodiness played a great role in presenting his state of mind in this game. And then we're back in New York. The place I've literally lived in as Max Payne for all these years. And it looks. so. damn. identical. to MP1 and 2... POINTS: 20 >> Is it me, or is Max's tie supposed to resemble his old shirt from MP1? (The one lying in the bathroom in MP2, by the way). FUCK that's awesome! Again, totally makes sense that this old man Max is sitting in a bar drinking his life away, being messed with by the younger generation of New Jersey. The story and Max's old tired voice are starting to grow on me, but what about the gameplay? >> Max hanging from a ledge: #2 >> Running through a burning apartment building is SO MAX PAYNE 2. This, too. Points: 22 >> This rifle is ALIVE! >>This guy forgot his face.
Escape from New York (JUST LOOK AT IT) with Passos after having the best nostalgia-drenched fan service I've seen in ages, with a huge smile on my face, and then begins the FIRST STEALTH MISSION IN MAX PAYNE HISTORY! Playing stealth in Max Payne just felt.. really cool! Look at him sneaking around with his silenced pistol :D
>> Yo, remember in Max Payne 1 when you shoot the yellow tire stopper to make the big trailer roll onto the enemies? MAX PAYNE 3 DID IT! Points: 24 >> Kudos on bringing back Captain Baseball Bat Boy, but too bad it kinda sucks and is in Portuguese. Too bad you didn't bring back Address Unknown. Thanks for trying, though. >> Remember finding a camera recording a prostitution room in MP1? Another homage right here! Points: 25 >> This hobo must be the grandson of Irish from Red Dead Redemption. He's also a reference to the hobo from MP2. Then in the next level, I had it. I had enough. I thought that I will either make the combat feel like real swift Max Payne, or I'm done. I bumped up my mouse DPI to 2000, and set the DPI increase button on my mouse to go up to 5000 DPI when i hit it, and down to 2000 when I decrease is. And then..... The real Max Payne action came to life:
When I pulled that shit off and recorded it, I was ecstatic. This is Max Payne. You run circling around the enemies, you mix bullet-time with real-time, you shootdodge, and switch weapons on the go. YES! POINTS: 35
And just when I found the controls recipe to return Max to his former action glory, the next cutscene returned him to his glorious, determined personality. He shaves his hair,and, just like Sam Lake described it, he turned from a punching bag to someone who delivers punches. He shaved his head as a ritualistic act to regain control over himself. I fully endorse Skinhead Max. "I felt like a fool. I was a sweaty, grey-haired mess. This place, well.. this place was gonna kill me too. I can see that now. I decided that I was gonna die sober, not drunk. At least then I would see who shot me." "IT WAS TIME TO TAKE BACK CONTROL from whoever was out to get me. If I didn't flush them out, at least my mid-life crisis would confuse them enough so they did something stupid. It was the only hope I had. I knew I wasn't thinking straight, I'd been drinking and popping painkillers for years."
>> Max hanging from a ledge #3 >> Glitch/bug #3: Shootdodging to the right made some form of surface slide with me to the side and sweep the screen! >> Construction site = So Max Payne :D >> This favela is beautiful.
Another flashback to New York. "We'd only been married a short time. By now she's been dead longer than I knew her. I still haven't really forgiven myself for the Mona business, but I knew that was just grief. The insanity that comes with losing the life you had just built. Michelle.. I missed her with every part of my being. I hated the world for not killing me with her, and I hated myself for allowing this to happen to her, and our little girl. But I knew I had to leave town." Michelle and Rose.After 11 years of the release of the first game, we learn his dead baby daughter's name. Just look how sad he is :(
The first time a game has made me tear up in years.
The remaining few chapters elevate the action, the intelligence and armor and accuracy of the enemies, diversifies the environments some more and consist of being raped by Spec Ops soldiers. I love all of it because it's exactly the way Max Payne 1's last few chapters went through. >> This bathroom is pretty >> Enemies waiting on the staircase ready to jump out and pop me is SO Max Payne 1. >> Filthy apartment building, totally Max Payne 2. >> Let's go for a SWIM! >> Finding the story's big revelation on a top security computer. Just like Max Payne 1 (proof) >>Take cover underneath this plant! >> A green-lit haze environment, even if it happened for a few seconds, was a TERRIFIC Max Payne 1 throwback (here's why) >> If you've beaten the game, you'll understand this. >> Projector room, just like Max Payne 1 >> Watching surveillance cameras is so Max Payne 1 (proof) (sexy proof) Points: 150
While going through the police station killing the cops and spec ops soldiers, in the most intense and dark of moments while in there, Max utters my now-all time favorite MP quote:
"Another dark rainy night. Another police station. Another futile crusade for amends... Time moves forward, and nothing changes."
Fucking goosebumps. Points: 300
Killing more cops and going deep into the station, Max begins wondering why he's in this situation, what he's trying to achieve. And he references the Nightmare sequences from the first two games: "It was starting to feel as if I'd never leave that place. Like one of those nightmares where you keep running and running only to discover you're chasing yourself." Here's what he meant by "chasing yourself" <== The first nightmare sequence from MP1, you end up killing yourself. Points: 400
The final level is an amazing and extremely difficult action level where this AWESOME and absolutely fitting song plays:
and I am completely fulfilled, from every aspect possible. Thank you Rockstar for allowing me to have one more and last adventure in the shoes of my all time favorite character. Now I know what purpose the credit song in MP2 serves:
Hello to newcomers and what's up to those familiar with and/or are already a part of this family of Giant Bomb PC duders who play all kinds of awesomely fun games together.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting from next week, I'm gonna begin posting a monthly "Gaming Hub News" blog that informs you of the latest Hub news, updates on our voice server/chatroom, and of course to tell you which games we'll be having gamenights for, and other things. It will be stickied to the PC board thanks to MattyFTM.
(Hint: Expect some explosive Giant Bomb community action in Max Payne 3 multiplayer and Diablo 3 on the PC).
But before I begin those monthly news blogs, I wanted to reflect on what we've done so far, the experiences we've had, and most important, to THANK all the awesome people who've helped make these plans a reality.
A brief description of this hub if this is your first visit to my PC Gaming project:
After organizing weekly gamenights (Bombing Runs) for the GB community in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on the PC with the help of the marvelous, charming and foul-mouthed Sweep in early 2011, and slowly forming a strong and friendly community of Giant Bomb PC players that went on to rock BC2 every week for 10 full months (reached 250 Steam group members), and later migrating to Battlefield 3 where over 400 giantbombers signed up and many of us chipped in, rented our own 64-player server (that the GB staff played TNTs on twice) and 100-slot voice server and filled four complete Battlelog platoons, I decided that it was time for this WONDERFUL community to explore other planets than just that of BATTLEFIELD.
I decided it was time for every PC gamer of this community who is interested in playing co-op and multiplayer games with other giantbombers to be able to do that. To find places to hang out, text chat, voice chat, invite each other to random multiplayer games, and of course, get together for organized and pre-scheduled gamenights and bombing runs in the most popular and requested games such as Counter Strike: Source, ArmA 2 and Super Monday Night Combat among other games.
And so I worked hard to make this happen, I turned our 100-slot Mumble voice server into an all-PC server with multiple game channels, and we created a mIRC chatroom that we use everyday to chat about Giant Bomb content, random off-topic stuff, watch live-streams, and of course suggest/invite each other to multiplayer games.
The Steam group has 330 members as of now and climbing. Our voice server, chatroom, and bombing runs are thriving and getting more and more attendance day after day.
I am proud to say that what we're doing is unprecedented in Giant Bomb history.
Since the website's creation in mid 2008, there has not been any community gamenight that survived a given game's "launch population" and went on for more than one month on any platform. And most of those that did have some momentum to them, died off rather quickly and maintained only small numbers of dedicated players.
I'm proud to say that our Battlefield 3 efforts, 360 US Dollars worth of community donations to rent two full-capacity game servers and donating $180 every 3 months to keep one (since we dropped the other), so the point where the Giant Bomb staff actually used our server for two TNTs and had a total blast, as well as a 100-slot voice server that you can hop on at any time today and find OTHER GIANT BOMBERS playing games or voice chatting in big numbers..
It's unprecedented. To have steady gamenights that live on for long months and our own thriving servers and assets, by the community and for the community.
But I didn't do it alone. There were a lot of great people in this amazing community who helped me push this social gaming phenomenon to the point it has reached today.And I'd like to thank each and every one for working together and making this an absolute reality that exists today in its best form.
A big Thank You to:
@Sweep - the man who decided to revive the briefly-lived Bad Company 2 bombing runs in January 2011, which was the starting point for everything I've done.
The people who were the foundation of the Bad Company 2 GB community that grew later on:
I won't give in to the hype just yet, but watching several lengthy gameplay and commentary videos, I think I have found the game that will provide the massive shooter experience I've been trying to have with this community ever since I started organizing bombing runs and gamenights in Bad Company 2 and ArmA 2 and Battlefield 3 among other games. Personally, I think gaming heaven is a PC multiplayer shooter that supports a large number of people and consists of large sophisticated maps that provide a variety of terrains and complex establishments which allow complex game modes with objectives that have a team-based significance to them, maps where vehicles and stationary weapons and gadgets and destruction all work together to create a believable world.
Ever since I stumbled upon Battlefield 2 in mid 2008 and joined a clan that gave me the best teamplay-driven virtual combat and fun in my life, I've been trying to find a similar game that allows that mindblowing scope and teamwork to take place, and it looks like it's going to be Planetside 2. It's a truly surreal experience to spawn at a point, push your mouse forward a bit, and gaze upon the infinite-feeling acres of land stretching in a virtual world around you. it is surreal to be standing there and to see tanks and jeeps and choppers drive or fly across the roads and skies of the map stretching before your eyes. Surreal to see real people running around that land squadding up, doing stunts in one corner or picking a fight in another, capturing a flag or blowing up enemy assets, all happening in real time as you sit there with your jaw dropped to your desk.
This is my dream, my passion. This is why I organize these gamenights and keep them alive, always looking out for new games that will provide such a surreal experience, but since my Battlefield 2 days, no other game could compare. And then Battlefield 3 was announced. I thought that, once again, after all those years, it will happen. I thought that surreal, open-ended virtual adventure will begin again in an all new chapter, and with my Giantbomb friends by my side, no less. I pushed for it to become a reality with all my heart. And hundreds of people signed up, and we rented our own max capacity server that had some of the best moments and matches this community has had together. But sadly, while the game is a lot of fun, it has proven that DICE have been brainwashed by EA and that they're making games for the publicity and money, not for the fun. They're designing virtual drugs that are intended to cause addiction, not a real BATTLEFIELD where gaming memories will be created and forever remembered. They're designing games that are meant to expire after 6 months, not live on for years to come. All the DLC in the world won't get the sour taste of Battlefield 3's cheap disgraceful map and weapon design from my mouth.
And just when I was losing the last drop of hope in that broken clusterF of a game, Planetside 2 came along riding on a white horse in the night, and promised me what I had thought was an experience stuck in the past, never to be experienced again in a new title. But being the realistic gamer that I am, I can't help but keep thinking that it'll probably be severely flawed (technically), one way or another. The shooting might feel like total shit. The world and its objectives or quests might get boring really quick. They might try to imitate Battlefield 3 and lose all kinds of purpose in the process. The lag and latency of the fact that its an MMOFPS might make it unplayable. Etc... But a man can dream. And my dream is that Planetside 2, being in Alpha testing now and going into Beta testing and having all the attention and support and hard work of its developer, is going to suffer from issues but come out on top, victorious and kicking ass sideways.
And so, in the case of this game actually turning out to be a solid, balanced and polished MMOFPS that won't come out as a broken wreck of game code trash, I'd like to announce that I will be dropping the Battlefield 3 server and will endorse Planetside 2 and push very hard for it to become the go-to online shooter for the PC community of Giant Bomb.
I will leave you with Total Biscuit who will show you just a taste of Planetside 2's groundbreaking brilliance. Dynamic real-time weather and time change allow servers to switch from daytime to nighttime while the server's running. This video shows how REAL and dark the night time is in Planetside 2. Just imagine what you're seeing being polished into a Golden build and played by hundreds of people in the masses of land in front of you. Just. Amazing.
Last month I posted the first part of this 3-parter blog (which is dedicated to taking you through both Max Payne games after I'd beaten them back to back in February, and making all the possible connections to the upcoming Max Payne 3). In the first part I reminisced about and reflected on the first Max Payne, my all time favorite game. This second part will take you through the sequel in all of its glory.
Just like the first blog, click on the YELLOW WORDS within the blog below will enlarge a picture on-screen.
For the longest time, my relationship with this sequel was rather off. I had always known, loved and played Max Payne, with the protagonist's infamous constipated face, the stiff AI enemies, the bad gun sounds and the overall visual style that blurred the line between photographs and paintings.
I had beaten the first game 3, maybe 4 times up until 2005 without even knowing that a sequel existed. And when I did, I remember downloading a demo from Cnet's Download.com and finding a slightly stocky, creepy pornstar-looking man in a long (too long) black coat rocking my beloved Max's guns and imitating his style. The game also had passed the photo/painting line and clearly landed on the photographic, fancy looking visuals.
I love thinking about this. This is practically the very first gaming experience in my life where I cared about a game so much that my wrath screamed NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO at the thought of a "part 2 game" that did things differently. I've come a long way in hating on sequels, no wonder I've given Crysis 2 more kicks than a baby in a mother's stomach.
Anyway, the reason I decided to finally get the game and play it escapes me. Trying to think about it, I draw a blank. I think it's because my 9th grade classmate at the time was a big fan of it and, being the gamer extraordinaire that I was among my peers, I got pissed at the idea of him knowing a bunch of Max Payne that I didn't know. I also simply wanted to discuss it with him as a friend, I wasn't crazy or anything. Promise.
Download the game and the game's installed, place a shortcut on my then-XP desktop and the game's launched.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (2003)
"Deputy chief Jim Bravura of the NYPD was trailing me by the empty shell casings that I left behind. Gunshots made me deaf to the sirens, but they couldn't drown the sobs of my dead wife."
I was 14 years old and wat is this? Why is this pornstar telling me what happens in Max Payne like he was there? I was there, he wasn't! And why does he have Max's voice? Bare in mind that, like I said, I wasn't too familiar with sequels at the time, especially of story-driven and character-heavy games, so this felt all kinds of odd. I felt like I had stepped out of my room and, instead of stepping into my familiar house hallway, I'd suddenly found myself bare-foot on the cold metal floor of an alien ship. OH MY FUCK WHAT IS THIS?
Okay, now that I've captured the warm loving vibe I received this game with for the first time as the intro movie played, let us move on, shall we? [YouTube: MP2 main menu theme] <== Familiar, heartwarmingly sorrowful Max Payne music in the main menu, and a familiar menu layout, art and design. I like familiar things. So this is good.
:::PART I: The Darkness Inside::: --[Prologue]-- The game begins with a familiar comic stripstyle cinematic, a big mansion in the dark of night, the rain falling down on it while, much like the beginning of first game, the sound of sirens echo in the horizon. Mona's exhausted voice goes "God, I turned out to be such a damsel in distress" (**Reference to what she said when she met Max in the first game). "They were all dead. Love kills. Did I love her? Was there a choice? The past is a gaping hole. You try to run from it, but the more you run, the deeper, more terrible it grows behind you, its edges yawning at your heels." I was surprised. Maybe even a little shocked. When the elevator doors closed in the Aesir skyscraper in the first game, I thought that was gonna be the last time I see her. Max hadn't loved her in the first game, he didn't get a chance to, so she must have a role in this sequel. Either way, Max changing the sorrowful heartbroken tone to one that is puzzled and confused by love just felt strange. It's as if I had expected him to stay true to his wife forever. Somehow. Here you get to see her new sexualized face for the first time.
Wake up in a hospital, all kinds of mindtripping art, the new Max staring into your soul, one of the greatest disturbing introductions ever. You actually get the vibe of his painful psyche from the get go. "I opened my eyes, and everything slid into focus. She was dead. I was hurt. My crime, what I had done, was like a hungry pit behind me. I had to run, as far away from it as possible." You run through the hospital, impressed by the graphics and visual style, and the moment you dive head-first into the first armed asshole you run into, you see how much more fluid the physics and animation are. The enemies and surroundings are no longer stiff objects, they move when force is applied to them. Running along I came across a TV. Oh, how I loved watching the Max Payne TV... Made a quick stop to see what's on the telly.
It's a show that only had like 1 minute of air time in the first game (since Lords and Ladies dominated the first game's TV.) But it felt much more developed and relevant in this sequel, so I was sure I'll be seeing more of it. Run into some more bad guys, then Jim Bravura who yells at you, the old man gets shot for a full 10 seconds by dual Uzis, you jump into an elevator and find yourself in the morgue. A quick day dream of kissing Mona, the first time you ever see Max in an intimate or sexual situation. Then he snaps out of it and sees the woman he just discovered was dead.
--[CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]--- I remembered this level from the demo I resented in the past. It's the warehouse level. Max explains to us why he's not in prison since he got arrested in the ending of the first game. Driving his car somewhere, he gets an APB on his police radio talking about gunshots in a warehouse. The warehouse belongs to his friend from the first game, the Russian mobster Vladimir Lem, so Max decided to check it out. Drop off at the warehouse, check it out, you run into a peaceful CLEANER guy who tells takes you to his manager, and boom he turns on you with his cleaner buddies and you start shooting. "the perps were masquerading as cleaners." Explore the warehouse and find it's full of weapons (weapon factory), and surprisingly we find the old Ragnarock neon sign (fan servic yo) and we find a newer-looking sign that says Vodka. What's that all about? We'll see! Run into Mona Sax 2.0 for the first time and your penis starts tingling. Uh-oh. She escapes. The cleaners kill the warehouse manager, (once again a woman dies because of Max...... que the revenge music) then you get saved by your NYPD colleague, Winterson, as they escape.
Later that evening.... Max drives over to Vladimir's new night club, Vodka, formerly known as Ragnarock. He bought Lupino's place from the first game, one of the most memorable levels.. Seriously, fan service. Vlad is under attack by Vinnie Gognitti, you have one of the most exciting shootouts in the game going through the familiar yet different club, running with Vlad's right hand man, a blonde russssian carrying an AK-47. Hell yea! By the way that guy fucking LOVES Baseball Bat Boy. [VIDEO] You kill Gognitti's mobmen, Gognitti flees, and you save Vlad. "Max! Dearest of all my friends." After talking to him you go home. "Home, sweet home. Something in the night felt like a door had been opened, an echo of the past, an old monster snapping its eyes open in the depths of my brain. "I hadn't slept in a long time. When I did, my dreams were nightmares."
The brilliance that hits you in the face here is that you begin to realize that Remedy is incorporating the TV shows in the game. While Max was asleep dreaming, a madman in the TV show Address Unkown was talking about knocks on his door, and being chased by bad guys, and stuff like that. Then it all happens to you. Fucking brilliant. Then you realize that the trippy TV show you saw in the hospital in the opening level was the same show, and that it has been paralleling your life all along. It had the same mad man and he was talking about being accused of murder. Alan Wake much? ;) A sniper bullet passes inches next to you through your window and you both hit the ground. Mona regrets visiting you, she escapes, and you run through the bigass building trying to kill the cleaners and escape. Fan service again: You find Max Payne 1's infamous yellow-ish shirt in your bathroom (HELL YEAH), jump from ledge to another, run into your female neighbor who blasts one of the attackers out of her room with a shotgun with offers you painkillers. Then you reach the sniper's nest. "I'd found the sniper's hideout. Room was full of surveillance equipment. They had been spying on me for days, weeks, months even. My every reaction observed, recorded, analyzed. The place was the proof every paranoia dreams of." Then this funny shit happens. [VIDEO]
Run into a bum and a hot chick who tell you to get the special elevator password from the janitor, and....
If you've read my first blog you'd know that the combination to the testing facility's computer in MP1 was 665, the neighbor of the beast. So this is pretty fucking funny. Also that janitor was singing something about the night, that sounded like a cool tune. Watch some good old Lords and Ladies in your dead neighbors' living rooms, then something explodes and the building catches on fire, you go outside and OWN THOSE MOTHERFUCKING CLEANERS.
Such potential for amazing shootouts in this mad house. WHY AM I RUNNING THROUGH IT ALONE WITHOUT ANYONE TO KILL? Mona has a Lords and Ladies poster on the wall. God damn! You approach her bathroom and hear the water pouring down. She's showering. But that's not the only thing she's doing.
Your singing voice sucks, Mona. That was a pretty cool song though, I wonder what it's called. Wait, isn't the the same song that janitor was singing? Interesting.. Walk in on her because it's sexier than waiting for her to get out, check her out from behind, then you begin talking. You discuss the Inner Circle, the secret society from the first game, headed by Alfred Woden, who promised you to make you a free man again if you kill Nicole Horne. Mona tells you she has connections to The Inner Circle, and she promises to help. You jump in the car and head to a fancy apartment building where she claims her connection guy lives. "She wasn't telling me the whole truth." Mona - "The circle goes back to centuries-old Masonic cults, corruption and assassinations reaching all the way to presidential level." Max - "Right. And here I was thinking conspiracy theories had gone out of style."
When you reach the building you find the good ol' black cleaner vans parked outside. "We are here." "So are they." Max enters the building and heads to Mona's friend's apartment while she sits behind the monitors and helps you via an ear piece. YES, MAX PAYNE 2 HAD EARPIECES WITH A FEMALE VOICE ON THE OTHER SIDE BEFORE IT WAS COOL. You find a - lot - of - dead - bodies. Including Mona's man. Then the police arrive and arrest Mona.
::Part II - A Binary Choice::: --[PROLOGUE]-- Now you're in the police station, Bravura yells at you for working with a suspect. Then he assigns you to a desk job... laaaaaaaaame! "Fraternizing with the enemy. I had stepped over the edge. The cartoon moment when the gravity waits for the coyote to realize his mistake before the plunge." You get to run around listening to people. This sort of open diverse environment and real-time human interactions around you is what, I feel, distinguishes this game the most from MP1. I have to thank Rockstar for whatever Grand Theft Auto influence they had on this game. I mean, is this amazing/hilarious or what? [VIDEO] After you explore the 3-floor police station and try to interact with the policemen around you as much as you can, including watching TV with them as they sip on hot chocolate (and possibly be a jerk by turning the TV off and having them yell at you and turn it back on), and also trying to sneak a peek at a fellow officer taking a shit, you feel Max waiting for you to quit fucking around and go downstairs to the prison to talk to Mona. Max is an eager teenager now, you gotta obay that penis baby. To the lock-up! Max runs down there, and once again you have hilarious Max Payne 1-esque conversations happening between the NPCs [VIDEO] "That's fucked up!" I laughed so damn hard when I stumbled upon this gem of a conversation for the first time.
Vlad drops you off at the Funhouse, you run in and catch Mona. --[CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3]--
"The things I want, by Max Payne." "A smoke. A whiskey. For the sun to shine. I want to sleep, to forget. To change the past. My wife and baby girl back. Unlimited ammo and a license to kill."
Those cleaners are a bunch of cock-blocking MOTHER FUCKERS! Mona and Max make a run for it, but he falls off a ledge and forces her to go on her own.. "The trouble with wanting something is the fear of losing it. The thought makes you weak."
So, hey, remember when I was upset that the maaaaad funhouse didn't have any combat in it? It does now :) Long story short, you run through the entire joint killing dudes as the cardboard characters pop up and all kinds of shit happens. With Mona's help of course! The highlight of this firefight [VIDEO]
After killing many cleaners, Max jumps into one of their vans as they flee. Jump out when the van stops moving and you find yourself in one of their "bases", so to speak. A lot of running and shooting through a very memorable building, simply because half the floors were cracked, there was a lot of staircase climbing and ledge jumping. These guys love their chairs. Then you find a room full of dead bodies.. "Like always, the dead had all the answers I was missing. It wasn't that they weren't eager to talk. Quite the contrary. The dead had plenty to say. And once they started, they would never shut up. Their words would keep you awake at night." "The bodies, all the evidence of the murders the cleaners had done. All the answers. It would take days to dig through it."
Watching it is much better than reading words: [VIDEO] RIP.
"I had a dream of my wife. In it, I murdered her for my lover. [hospital noises of nurses trying to save Max] I had chosen Mona. It felt like I had lost her." Mona: "You're a real angel, Max."
:::Part III: Waking Up From the American Dream::: Hell even the name of the last MP2 part is a reference to the name of the first MP1 part.. Trip my balls some more would ya? --[PROLOGUE]-- "You come to, amidst the wreckage of your own making. Do you stay there, eyes squeezed shut, afraid to move, hoping to bleed to death? Or do you crawl out, help your loved ones, make sure the fire doesn't spread, try to fix it?" "All this time, we had the fable of Sleeping Beauty wrong. The prince didn't kiss her to wake her up, no one who's slept for a hundred years is likely to wake up.It was the other way around, he kisses her to wake himself up from the nightmare that brought him there."
Still being true to the first game by starting the next part with yet another nightmare sequence. In these nightmares Remedy focused more on showing a man that is confused and struggling to pull himself out of whatever he's drowning in, as opposed to being truly HEARTBROKEN and sorrowful trying to push his demons away (the nightmares of the first game). That is why instead of running on the trails of his dead baby's blood and crying as she cried, he's more aggressive and persistent, running through the hallways of the hospital trying to chase Mona, his apartment building,the prison where they were attacked and where he FINDS HIMSELF LOCKED UP, explosions occur and Max breaks out, finds Bravura dead, sees Mona on TV, then he goes to his office to find her and Winterson pulling guns on each other, replicating what you watched in the above video.
Max is all like "My name is Paul and this shit's between ya'll" but he didn't have much luck there. By far the coolest moment in the entire franchise happened during this nightmare prison break out: [VIDEO]
--[CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3]-- Wake up in the hospital. Winterson's dead. Max killed her, a fellow police officer. She had Vlad's VODKA card in her pocket. Mona's nowhere to be seen. He's unarmed and the enemy mercenaries are here to kill him. This is thee Max Payne level where you just have to look it up or watch a yourube video of it because it's the perfect I'M STUCK level.
Here's how it is: There's an enemy goon waiting for you outside the locked morgue, you leap out of the room to push him to the ground, then keep running and leaping up the staircase, reach the highest floor, enter it and leap by two more enemies, and then you find yourself stuck in a room full of cubicles with nothing but a painkiller container. So WHAT NOW? The two enemies enter and they start searching for you, and it never even passes your mind that what the game wants you to do is remain hidden until something happens. When you figure it out, or watch a video of it, the hospital guard runs in and gets killed, at which point you pick up his MP5 and let the good times begin. You speak to Woden, who tells you that the commandos belong to your dear friend Vlad and that he's a member of the Inner Circle. You visit his club Vodka again, formerly known as Ragnarock of course, the place where you saved him the first time around. Kill a whole lot of his goons, SHOOT THAT GREEN GUY, MAX PAYNE 1 RAGNAROCK CATWALKS AW MA GAWD <3 Then find the cleaner's dressing room, pick up the beastly shotgun DAO-12 for the first time (just like MP1 introduced you to the Jackhammer in the ending levels. Remedy love rewarding you with a fat high-fire-rate shotgun, dude). Then you get a clue of where to go next, drive there in a cleaner van and crash the fuck out of it. On your way there you listen to a tape of Winterson while she was on the phone with Vlad. "I don't know, is this a crime? Is it against the law to be happy? They haven't seen you with my boy, haven't seen you with me. Miss you, call me." "The gilding on the mask had cracked to reveal the rot underneath. Winterson's confession didn't wash away my guilt, It made me feel worse. I had a meeting scheduled with Vlad at Vinnie's place."
Anyway we just crashed the van into this building, jumped out to find ourselves in a pretty intimidating New York neighborhood that I remember being very uncomfortable running through all those years ago, especially that the apartment buildings and alleys within it are pretty fucking confusing.
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Oh, Max. Your game is the only one that accompanied me since I was a kid, reflecting whatever mental or psychological state I was in at a given time, paralleling the emotions and the mazes I've had in my head throughout the years, always showing me yet another side of its multi-layered brilliance with every playthrough, causing me to cherish it even more once and once again.
If you've always wondered what the hell this franchise is about, In this 3-parter blog I will take you on a tour through both games, show you some pictures and videos, reminisce about and reflect on those games and try to make all the possible connections to the upcoming Max Payne 3. I don't know if it's possible to write a blog that delivers and manages to capture the inside-jokes, inter-related references and brilliant level design, story writing and inner dialogues of the two games and their connections to MP3, but hey, I can try. Enjoy this Payneful journey!
I remember the day I was visiting my best friend at the time, long years ago on a sunny Friday morning, the person who introduced me to things that later defined my life such as high caliber gaming, metal music, torrents and foreign novels. His brother had just bought this new game called Call of Duty, a shooter we spent the hours of the morning all through the afternoon playing and wowing in fascination. Then he pulled out this disc with "Payne" scribbled on the front.
I didn't want to play this game. I wanted to continue playing Call of Duty because we had finally reached the last phase where you play as a British soldier. He shoves the disc in and installs the thing as I expressed my dissatisfaction by downing two cups of Coca Cola, a few minutes later Max Payne was launched and all I had in mind was keeping my eyes on that fat monitor of his. From the very beginning, from the moment that intense intro video played to the sound of restless heartbeats, I was hooked.
I had never seen anything like this. From Commander Keen 4, GTA 2, through Age of Empires, Soldier of Fortune and to the then-new Call of Duty and Freedom Fighters, games were simple, they offered me pretty visuals, engaging gameplay and cool atmospheres. I had never expected this bleak, emotionally-demanding and fancy-written explosion to hit me. Not from a video game. Not on a computer. >>>In those days I was young , my English wasn't too advanced, and I didn't understand love, betrayal and friendship, so my entire impression of Max Payne was.. a grim vibe that sent shivers down my spine, a protagonist that felt very human and very real and very flawed, a harsh, cold and dark American city, and a lot of fan-fucking-tasticly satisfying and cool-looking shootdodging and explosions. He also used to love The Matrix and tried to get me into it but I found it too alien and confusing. The fact that he used the Kung Fu mod for Max Payne which turned it into a Matrix game was all the more hard-hitting and compelling.
A month ago I got hyped by the Max Payne 3 trailers, so I proceeded to play Max Payne 1 & 2, back to back, in the span of five days and a total of 14 gameplay hours. While installing the first game, I tried to remember some of its key characters, events and moments from the several times I've played it over the years. I hadn't touched a Max Payne game since.. 2009 I think, so the whole franchise was a blur in my mind. >>> Then it all started coming back . The playthrough with my cousin on his then-new PC around 2005 when the game was all about clearing a room of enemies without getting hit. The playthrough of both games a couple of years after that when I was a growing teenager infatuated with sex where the highlight of the adventure was Max's scorching relationship with Mona Sax , and the one from 2009 or 2010 when my English was good enough to realize that Max's inner monologues while moving in the shadows, the dialogue with other characters and the comical narrative cutscenes were heavily rich with thought-provoking and emotionally-manipulative speech, so good to read and listen to that the gameplay and sexual themes took a back seat to them. (MonAsaX)
Looking back at those years with my eyes chasing the installation bar made me realize why I love Max Payne. It's the fact that it has been thee single piece of entertainment to connect to my mind as a child, a growing teenager and an older adult, always providing an aspect that caught my attention.
Max Payne (2001)
The links below consist of pictures and comic strips from the game. Click on the yellow words to enlarge a picture on screen.
After fixing a few known PC issues with the Steam Max Payne, the adventure once again began. This time around I was a 21 year old dedicated gamer with a lot of memories, nostalgia, gaming experience and a mind that can tie the game's entire aspects together in one experience rather than focusing on one of its many layers as I did in the past.
The game begins with a bloody, stitched up young man in a black coat, holding a sniper rifle, standing on the edge of a helipad atop an enormous skyscraper, looking down at the wreckage of a destroyed helicopter, his voice swaying with the sound of far-away police sirens as he says "They were all dead. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point. I released my finger from the trigger, and then it was over. "
---[PROLOGUE]--- In a slow, gravelly-voiced flashback, this young NYPD cop takes us back three years to when he went home one day to find his wife and baby daughter dead. Murdered by the hands of hallucinating junkies who painted the letter V on the walls of his house and spoke of "The flesh of fallen angels." The joining of the appalling tragedy, the mystery surrounding it, and the jaw-dropping bullet-time action you jump (ha!) right into from the get go, makes for one of the best most memorable starting levels I've ever experienced.
---[CHAPTER 1, 2]--- Moving on, you start working for your colleague Alex Balder as an undercover cop, a job you refused when you had a family to care for. "Outside, the mercury was falling fast. It was colder than the devil's heart, raining ice pitchforks as if the heavens were ready to fall." On your way to meet him in the Subway, you stumble upon a massive gunman attack on the station, a lot of dead bodies and a gang of thugs who blew their way into the nearby bank safe, leaving the gold untouchedas they snoop around the inside vault looking for documents. They were after the Aesir Corporation files, a company whose recent successes have been getting a lot of attention. Needless to say, you go motherfucking Neo on these thugs' asses. This is the first level you get to freely run, shootdodge and watch cool as hell, erm, killcams and physics in motion. Feelsgoodman. Also, rat brutality.
After you blow a fucking door open by detonating the explosive on it, you're met by your buddy Alex, whom, before your eyes but out of your reach, is murdered in cold blood. You were seen escaping the station. You are wanted for the murder of Alex Balder. "Alex had kept me relatively sane for the past three years. Now I didn't know how I felt." A set-up fugitive with a dead family, a dead old friend, a storm of mysteries twisting your mind and the cravings of revenge taking over you, you have nothing to lose. It's time to go after the thugs who did this.
---[CHAPTER 3, 4]--- Max drops by Jack Lupino's hotel, the thug boss whom Alex accused of being behind this. His very last words before taking a bullet to the head. "Lupino thought he could get us by taking Alex out, and leaving me to take the fall for it. All he had gotten was my attention." You enter the hotel, run into the Finito Brothers who work for Lupino's right hand man, Vinnie Gognitti. Long story short, you finitto the Finitos, and look for Rico Muerte, the man they're closing a drug deal with. All the while kicking ass sideways. Awesome stuff during this level was blowing wooden doors open with your shotgun, listening to the mad Valkyre junkies talk doomsday, causing real-time destruction, shootdodging some moar, getting a glimpse of the prostitution going onand more. You kill Muerte and escape the hotel. Muerte had connections to head mobster Angelo Punchinello. Something big and fishy was going down. "Collecting evidence had gotten old a few hundred bullets back. I was already so far past the point-of-no-return I couldn't even remember what it had looked like when I had passed it."
One thing that occasionally entertained you as you ran across these dark hallways and living rooms silently was the TV series. The universe of Max Payne had two programs on the TVs you occasionally run across: Lords & Ladies and Address Unknown. The first time I came across Lords & Ladies in the hotel I was blown away.
Or if you're not interested in these TV shows, you'll probably enjoy the goons and thugs' conversations if you pause around the corner before shoot-blowing-them to bits. Here's a funny example for you:
---[CHAPTER 5, 6, 7]--- Next up, you go to Jack Lupino's house, only to find Vladimir Lem, a Russian gang head with VODKA as the license plate of his car, blow up Lupino's place. You run through the half-collapsed building killing more dudes and bashing more junkies until you reach Gognitti and his goons hiding in an office there. And then the epic Gognitti chase begins. One of the most exciting levels in the game. "I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings." YOU JUMP ON A MOVING FUCKING TRAIN IN SNOWY MIDNIGHT NEW YORK CITAY. WEEEEEEWWW. "New York sped by on fast-forward, dark rooftop water towers and a dead forest of antennas and chimneys, all a blur."
In the end you catch Gognitti, interrogating his breathless, bleeding soul with a sad inner monologue that straight-up set the mood and made things clear: Max is no hero, there was no glory in chasing down scumbags for him and he didn't ask for this, it was just him, his gun and the crook on the other end of it, the ghost of his dead wife on his mind driving him to push forward.
---[CHAPTER 8, 9]--- We finally found out where Lupino's hiding after our little chat with the coward Gognitti. He's in his nightclub Ragna Rock surrounded by even more dozens of goons for you to exercise your slo-mo moves on. You run through the joint popping dudes and reading books, discovering the fact that Lupino is a mad gothic-ish man with crazy books on the end of the world. His shit reads: "After Y2K the end of the world had become a cliche. But who was I to talk, a brooding underdog avenger alone against an empire of evil, out to right a grave injustice." As you approach his lair on the second floor of the club, his wails, weeps and screams send shivers down Max's virtual spine. "THE FLESH, OF FALLEN ANGELS!" You open an electric gate at the end of a dark hallway, step into a big hall with a fountain in the middle and a stage, grab some ammo and the curtains open. The man himself is standing before you, with one of the game's hardest boss battles awaiting. You kill the bastard and, oh, what's this, a female? You're met by Mona Sax, Lisa Punchinello's evil twin, the woman going after the same man as you.
---[PROLOGUE] --- In the three years since his wife and infant were murdered, this was Max Payne's first chance to actually rest. A powerful hellish drug dropped in his drink was all he needed to let his mind completely take over. But this is Max Payne we're talking about... His rest is non-existent. He let his guard down and the nightmares finally consumed him. In this morbid level you run aimlessly across hallway mazes resembling your dead child's bedroom and creep along the trails of your family's blood,all going on in your raging mind. Saddest fucking thing I've ever seen in a game.
---[CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]--- Punchinello's guys find you next to Lupino's corpse, shivering like a creature exhaling its last breath, and they take you back to Lupino's hotel basement where you're tortured by Frankie "The Bat" Niagara who beats you up with, wait for it.............. A bat. He leaves and you break loose. "They had dragged me back to the basement of Lupino's hotel. I was beaten, bruised and blue. I felt like the chair I had broken to get free."That oven room ...I love it! You make your way through the hotel once again, killing brosefs. This double-use of the hotel location is my favorite progress mindfuck from this game.. I always get confused trying to remember what I was doing in that hotel and who I was there to kill. How I got there, even. You get out and bang,the coolest motherfucker in the game is here. Vladimir Lem, dearest of all our friends. (MP2 reference). Vlad asks us to go eliminate his Russian competition, mobster Boris Dime, with the reward of looting the latter's ship filled with guns.This is the docking area levelwhere you get that super sniper rifle and start sniping dudes and watching the bullet fly into their skulls. "Rust had crept over the sides of the cargo steamer a long time ago. Boris Dime would be on board. I'd have to smoke half of his crew to even get near the gangplank."
Wam bam thank you Dime, Angelo Punchinello calls for a truce,invites Max to his restaurant,and proceeds to barricade the doors and set the entire joint on fire. IT'S A TRAP! You escape through the sewers,go to Punchinello's own Manorand kill his three right hand men called The Trio, alongside a hundred of his henchmen. The fucker kills his wife Lisa,Mona's twin sister. A sad day indeed. Break into his office and you as soon as you realize that he's nothing but a puppet, the killer suits (Agent Smith?!) come in after you and kill him. "He was trying to buy more sand for his hourglass. I wasn't selling any ." The suits are lead by an old evil looking womanwho injects you with Valkyre,the very same drug that caused your family's brutal death and the rabbid infection of half of the city's population. Time to sleep again... Time to let the drug take over. Will Max ever taste peace of mind again? Oh well, at least he got a hot bath in a very kinky bathroom.
Overall this Act turned the heat up a few licks and focused more on the plot and the diversity in locations, enemies and the general action than the sad story and the deep inner monologues. It consisted more of observations than emotions and thoughts, because Max was too caught up in this hot mess to think or feel.
---[PROLOGUE]--- Injected with Valkyre, once again a new act is started with a morbid nightmare level. At this point you begin to feel Max's despair-painted pain like it was your own. At least I did. You revisit your old home from the game's very prologue, this time around it's soaking in yellow-lit fog, like it's one of the other Silent Hill dimensions. This is where Max Payne goes all Inception on you. Hardcore. One of the most memorable bits of the game where it goes so self-aware meta it makes you think you're tripping balls. Max's mind jumps from his foggy empty house, to being in a graphic novel, to being a video game character, to being trapped in Punchinello's burning office, to another grim sequence of hallway & bloodtrail running, ending up on the side of the road as the green haze slowly lifted and faded away. Here's a collection of pictures from that mind trip:
---[CHAPTER 1, 2, 3]--- Before completely losing your shit you heard that old hag utter the words "Cold Steel." That's the name of an factory in New York. Let's go there. "The bad trip had put me in a crazy mood, adrenaline pumping through my aching veins." You climb a back ladder and enter a small warehouse room. "Out in the night, snow fell like confetti over the devil's parade. The storm was anything but over." Going forward through the factory's rooms and halls you come across some very cool machinery in the various corners of this factory, with the newly-added laser protection system thwarting your progress every now and then. You kill a lot of commando dudes carrying M4's, a brand new weapon in the game, until you find an elevator marked D-6. You take that lift down to the bowels of this hell hole.
"I had taken on the role of the mythic detective, Bogart as Marlowe, or as Sam Spade going after the Maltese Falcon -- To unravel all the mysteries."
You find this little gem,then continue moving forward, discovering a huge laboratoriesfacility with all kinds of test chambers. lol. After a lot of commando killing and jumping from one chamber to another trying to avoid the high flames and the laser beams, you run into a scientist who gives you the passcode to the most important room in the facility, the one with the main computer. The passcode is 665. "The neighbor of the devil."
You enter the room, search through the computer, and.. The mystery is uncovered. At large. This is the revelation Max has been pursuing all these years, and he finally has his finger on the pulse. It's only up from here, no downward spiral. You get the hell out of there as the lab is set to self-destruct.
---[CHAPTER 4, 5, 6]--- You go to an all-night diner, trying to catch your breath and to absorb the massive conspiracy you've just uncovered. The one that cost you your wife and child. You're contacted by B.B., a colleague, who tells you to meet in a big parking lot building.
B.B. turns out to be a traitor. He killed Alex in the subway station. He's asking you to cooperate.. "B.B. turned out to be another cardboard cutout bad guy."
You go about 5 floors down this parking lot building, ON FOOT, killing dudes any way you please. On your way down, a public phone rings. Alfred Woden is contacting you because he wants to help. You visit him in his mansion. In this level you pick up the Jackhammer, a quick-firing shotgun. Just when you thought the game couldn't provide more cool kill animations, the jackhammer hits you in the face with its awesome effect.
Woden is a part of a secret society called The Inner Circle who wanted you to take Nicole Horne down because she blackmailed Woden using a sex tape of him and Candy Dawn, a prostitute.
REMEMBER THE PROSTITUTION PICTURE FROM ABOVE? THE CAMERA RECORDING THE BED? IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER NOW!
The killer suits swarm the place as usual, you escape for your life in a very, VERY impressive level. All kinds of complex staircases and floors and hallways and libraries, seriously it's such a confusing rush, it's amazing. "I had dreamed of revenge. Those dreams were always nightmares, of coming close and then failing."
********[CHAPTER 7, 8, EPILOGUE]*********
It's time to go after Nicole Horne. "Mine wasn't the most original approach to the problem. It wasn't as if it hadn't all been done before. An eye for an eye, the first principle of revenge, old as dirt, still going strong. " You enter the huge building, the reception hall is strikingly reminiscent of the one from The Matrix, and according to Sam Lake the movie did slightly influence the design of that room. The action goes crazy here, brutal shootouts, dozens of snipers, shotgunners, M4's, grenades flying your way, grenade launchers aiming for your head.
On your way you run into Mona Sax again, the closest thing you have to a lover right now, who gets shot in an elevator as its doors closed. You kill her murderers, turn to the elevator and find her body gone. Did she die? No idea.
Still going up the floors of this building, higher and higher you go as your kill count climbs too, and so does the number of corpses on the floor and bullets in the walls. Staircases one floor, elevators the next. You can hear the bitch's voice. She's drawing near. "Valkyre had been meant to be a white-winged maiden that would lift you to a warriors' heaven, but it had turned out to be a one-way demon ride to hell. The devil was in the drug. I knew, I had met him." "And now I was going to kill her. The queen of the underworld who had tried to lift herself a bit closer to heaven with her drug money." You go up to the helipad, and your task is to shoot the four wires keeping the huge antenna tied to the rooftop, so it would fall and crash into the helicopter, taking Horne a bit further from heaven and closer to hell. " They were all dead. The final gunshot was an exclamation mark to everything that had led to this point."