Created by Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment, Max Payne has been in production for a very long time. It's a gritty third-person shooter that's clearly inspired by the stylish cinematography and choreography of the Hong Kong action movie genre, particularly the work of director John Woo. Like many of Woo's films, Max Payne is rife with gunplay that's almost indescribably beautiful to watch--and yet actually playing it is even better. Max Payne does have a few weaknesses, most notably in that it isn't very long and lacks any multiplayer features--but these things are hardly detrimental. After all, it's not often you get an outstanding and original action game that's not just different from all other shooters to date, but also in many ways superior.
You play as the title character throughout the game. Max is a modern-day New York undercover cop whose wife and baby daughter were brutally murdered and who has since been framed for a heinous crime. Thus begins his blood-soaked battle to find the truth--and to get revenge. The game has many superlative qualities, but one of the best things about it is how it actually plays. It's very easy to get into, as the control is smooth, simple, and responsive. You use the keyboard to make Max run in any direction and use the mouse to aim your weapons. The game's third-person camera perspective trails closely behind Max and gives a good sense of your surroundings, which is important since you'll need to move carefully through the game's enemy-infested environments. By default, the left mouse button fires your equipped weapons as rapidly as possible, while the right mouse button triggers Max's "bullet time" special ability, which temporarily puts everything in slow motion, as in a John Woo movie or the 1999 sci-fi hit, The Matrix.