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Classy_Cojones

Max Payne the RPG

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Max Payne is a role-playing game. Am I out of my mind? Not likely. Max Payne keeps you within the boundaries of one character (unlike most RPG's, right? most RPG's giving you real choice as to what and how your character will be). Not only does it keep you within the boundaries of the character, but you must role-play well, or else! Let me explain. Max Payne is a cop, a good one at it, and presumably capable of completing his insane quest for revenge. That means his role, apart from the one-liners, includes being able to shoot well, dodge bullets, and generally outwit large masses of opponents. The player must live up to this role, role-play that is, and do it well in order to finish the game. And this is fun fun fun role-playing, more than I can say for the pen-and-paper kind. And the player's rewards for being such a good role-player? In a traditional RPG, it's "experience". Experience doesn't mean much, it's just a way of pushing the game along, the skill balance between the player and what he has to do never really evolving. In Max Payne, the story itself is a reward (sounds like a quest? a bit, only that quests are "story-playing", the player never assuming a role; or better still, always assuming the same role - that of an intelligent, problem-solving human), detailed, complete, and all in all a real good story. And the real reward - you get to play it, getting better at role-playing within it all along, reaching new levels of immersion and fun fun fun.

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According to Richard A. Bartle's thesis, there are four major types of players: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. Considering this taxonomy, I think there are various ways to design a Role-Playing Game with each way appealing to a different type of player or a combination-of-types type of player.

I agree that Max Payne is a Role-Playing Game.

I would classify Max Payne as a story-driven Action/RPG.

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Bartle, Richard A. Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs. 1996.

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I would say that Max Payne has appeal for all four player classes. The one that is less obvious is the "Socializer" class. Their appeal comes from the fact that Max Payne is heavily character driven, with full emphasis on secondary characters as well. Socializers tend to have an adversity towards non character-dense levels (which Max Payne does not suffer from), and towards hard action. That is the only thing that can push away a Socializer.

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But by this definition, most games would be RPGs.


I think you'll need to narrow the strictures of the genre a bit more before you can come up with a meaningful comparison. You'll have to fence in what does an RPG has, and fence out what it doesn't.

I warn you, however, that you're in for a long debate over well tread ground, which usually never resolves itself (see the forum faq).

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