These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Max Payne
Anti-Climax Boss: Kaufman, the near-mythical Mafia hitman that mooks warn you about through much of 2's first act. This is a game that at least attempts at realism, so he reacts to hand grenades thrown at his feet just like everyone else. To be fair he can take a lot more bullets than his mooks. Although he does seem to have the same health as the commandos later, suggesting it's a bullet proof vest rather than sheer badass.
Rico Muerte, a very forgettable boss from early in the first game is described by Max as being 'a regular Keyser Soze'. When you track him down, he has his pants around his ankles and is receiving some extra-special treatment from prostitute Candy Dawn. He immediately runs off and hides in the hallway. None of the mooks seem to notice or care about him, and the only reason he's even notable is because he's your very first enemy with an automatic weapon.
The first half of the Address Unknown funhouse in the second game.
The first half of ''A Hangover Sent Straight From Mother Nature" in the third game. No combat happens until you are about five minutes into the level.
Broken Base: Max Payne 3. The addition of cover to the game, for instance. It's extremely poor implementation doesn't help; it will get you killed more often than it keeps you alive.
There's also the abandonment of the stylistic underpinnings of the series, such as the histrionic, pseudo-poetic monologuing, interactive environmental elements and the all important mythological/religious/pop-cultural symbolic subtext which gave the original games their richness.
As well as the replacement of the first two games' graphic novel-style cutscenes with more traditional cutscenes with stylistic, TV-screen style static cuts (though the New Jersey levels invoke the earlier style). There was also Max's change in haircut and facial hair.
From the first game we have Corrupt Corporate Executive Nicole Horne. When the highly addictive psychotropic Super Soldier Serum she was developing for The Illuminati turned out to be a psychosis-inducing poison, she decided to market it to the public as an untouchable corporate crime lord, directly and indirectly killing thousands. When Michelle Payne was inadvertently exposed to evidence that would incriminate Nicole, she had a horde of drugged-up maniacs slaughter both Michelle and her baby daughter just to be on the safe side. Over the following years Horne went on to control the entire criminal underworld of New York through her pawn, Angelo Punchinello, and made a play into politics by putting a hit on the Mayor. Through all of this Horne has no clear motivations, no enlightened intent, no emotion; she's just pure evil. The worst part is when she tells Max: "The deaths of your wife and daughter were necessary, inevitable; it is DONE. You cannot bring them back. Nothing you do will make it any better."
The Big Bad of the third game is VictorBranco, the The Man Behind the Man who recruits Max himself as a fall guy for his criminal enterprises. In his plan to seize control of the family fortune and garner sympathy for elections, Victor has his own brothers murdered, one by being burned alive and Max soon discovers the extent of his evil: He runs a secret ring where the poor of Brazil are kidnapped, held hostage and are harvested of all their organs for the black market organ trade.
8.8: Gametrailers received some flack for giving Max Payne 3 a 7.6.
Fanon Discontinuity: The third game, for a variety of reasons. Sam Lake didn't write it, it changes the character for Max, it has a different tone then the first two (no noir style, but just as dark), Max is fat and bald for the second half of the game, Mona didn't survive, because you can only carry a limited number of guns, because of the massive amounts of Gameplay and Story Segregation due to Max being annoyingly depressed twenty-four seven when the gameplay makes the player feel like a badass, the dropping of the Norse mythology subtext, because the ending is a wildly different tone from even the rest of the game itself let alone the series as a whole, etc.
Good Bad Bugs: In 3 it's possible to edge up on a corner, aim at foes around it and shoot them through whatever the wall is made of as long as the reticle is red and the weapon is an adequate distance from the wall. This makes 70% percent of gun fights trivially easy, not to mention making the cover system largely redundant.
Harsher in Hindsight: During his brief sojourn through the Favela, Max happens upon a small drug laboratory and kills the gang members defending/working in it. Just before leaving, he takes time out of his very urgent mission to set fire to the building using a fireworks stockpile, in order to destroy the laboratory. This being in a favela, a single fire, no matter how minor, can spiral hopelessly out of control in mere minutes and kill hundreds of people, displacing thousands more. Such a fire happened on the very year of the game's release in it's very setting.
Hilarious in Hindsight: At one point in the second game, Max is assisted by old, bald and bearded bum who used to be a cop. In the third game, Max is himself a fat, bald and bearded ex-cop.
When describing Bullet Time to a game reviewer, the developers likened to an elite athlete for whom the games seems to slow down around them. The reviewer described this as "Kobe Bryant with a Colt Commando." Many, many years later, Kobe Bryant appeared in advertising for Call of Duty: Black Ops, toting a Colt Commando.
Idiot Plot: In 1, Woden could have punctured Horne's entire criminal enterprise by mailing his evidence on the Valkyr project to multiple legal bodies and individuals. Instead he posts it to one woman. Who gets brutally murdered shortly there-after.
Whether due to drug addiction, depression or bullet hole shaped brain damage, Max blunders through the third game like an imbecile.
Raul's plan of falsely claiming to be an associate of Max in order to fool him into working with him is asinine. Max has a reputation as a blood-soaked serial killer with over two hundred first degree murders under his belt, and the public knowledge that he failed to protect his family from deranged junkies. What would convince anyone that he was an appropriate partner for this kind of work?
On the other hand, he mows down several mafia groups, destroys a corporation's much better armed and much better trained goons, and then goes on to destroy two sides of one of New York's most powerful gangs. Vladmir Lem wanted this guy on his side, for the body count alone!
That makes Max an over-medicated mass murderer, not a suitable bodyguard. Hell, he's most famous for failing to protect: His Wife, His Daughter, Mona Sax and Alfred Woden. That's not even mentioning key witnesses he's failed to protect, like Vinnie Gognitti or Angelo Punchinello. Even the briefest gander at Max's record marks his as someone you don't want to get anywhere near you, let alone bodyguarding you. And Lem wanted Max eating out of his hand so that he could more easily kill him, which he repeatedly attempted and failed to do right up until the ruse failed.
If the entire employment was under false pretences at the behest of Victor Branco, then the rest of the family should have noticed that Max's behaviour is not conducive of effective body guard work. Just how vapid and worthless is this family supposed to be?
The entire Branco family is stupid for refusing to go into hiding when they are clearly being targeted multiple times.
Rodrigo Branco is an idiot for failing to suspect Victor when he had everything to gain from the death of his siblings.
Every member of the De Marco family is an idiot for inexplicably forgetting that Max Payne murdered the entire Punchinello syndicate including Jack Lupino, "The Bat" Niagra, Rico Muerte, Pilot Providence, "Deadpan" Salem, Vince Mugnaio, and not forgetting the Gognitti gang, and Lem's Mafiya.
The Crachá Preto are idiots for attempting to assassinate Max while he's stationed in a heavily fortified building instead of at his home, even if that was just a completely unnecessary excuse to cover for Bachmeyer's assassination attempt on Rodrigo.
Becker's right hand, Bachmeyer, is an idiot for murdering Rodrigo Branco in full uniform, without a disguise, then failing to Destroy the Evidence after he steals it and just leaves it lying around his office.
Iron Woobie: You'll notice that Max is pretty Stoic for someone who's going through a living hell.
Moral Event Horizon: Nicole Horne, a.k.a. "Ms. Valkyr," is catapulted straight over this line when it's revealed she was the one behind the murder of Max's family at the very start of the game.
Narm: Max's constipated expression in the first game. Also, in the first game, the mooks' screaming (AWWWW! OWAAHH! HUWOOOOOH!)
In the first game, the sound bytes can get mixed up, causing the professional killers such as Mercenaries and Killer Suits to report the same narmy groans when killed by a grenade weapon.
There's also his famous constipated expression mentioned directly above, that a lot of fans have love for.
Looking back on the first two games, the dialogue could be downright awful at times, full of awkward terminology and bad humor. This is understandable given the game's Finnish origins, and years later Sam Lake still has a similar style in Alan Wake. Yet for all it's flaws, it still has an inimitable, goofy charm all it's own.
One-Scene Wonder: Brewer from Max Payne 3. A Crazy AwesomeRobin Williams style neighbor of Max's with a hobo beard, military jacket covered in badges, a beanie, boxers, a semi-automatic shotgun, and a lot of wires sticking out of his coat. He arrives by shooting a thug ambushing Max in the face, then gives a short speech on the cleansing properties of fire and suicide bombs a squad of mobsters running down the hall. He makes a hell of an impression for a character with less than a minute of screentime.
The original game's opening level where Max can't save his family.
It gets worse than that Fabiana, after spending hours of game time (and days of Max's time) on her trail getting just this close to saving her, Max is forced to end up watching her get casually shot in the face and die.
Scrappy Mechanic: How some people feel about the addition of cover in the third game. In addition to slowing down the pace of the game, it's a rudimentary system that doesn't even let you round corners without getting out of cover. The third also removes ability to skip the cutscenes, due to many of them being used to hide loading sequences.
Arcade mode actually has an "Old School Mode" which prevents the player from using the cover system or weapon zoom. However, enemies can still use the cover system without incident and their AI is not altered in any way to benefit this style of play, making the addition seem more like a spiteful slap in the face to the fans who complained.
The constant, eye-acheing visual effects that make the game painful to watch for most players and impossible to play for epileptics. Arcade Mode has an option to remove the effect from bullet time, and it makes the game significantly easier to play.
The Last Chance mechanic is a concept that can work as proven by the likes of Borderlands and Guild Wars 2, but it's implementation in 3 leaves a lot to be desired. When put into the "Downed" state Max cannot move or reload, so that if he can't hit the enemy due to them being behind cover or his gun being empty, the player has no choice but to wait until he dies, which can be agonizing due to the bullet time the mode operates in. What's more, if Max goes into the state while behind cover, he has almost no chance to fire over his cover and will instead empty his clip into it rather than the foe the player is targeting. Another problem is that the mechanic defers to hitting the foe who downed Max, forcing the player to aim only at that one enemy. This is even if it would be easier to hit another, easier target that would glean the same result.
Scrappy Weapon: Weapons with laser sight attachments from 3. Grabbing a weapon with one removes your crosshair and replaces it with a laser sight that bounces around as you move and fire. This makes aiming significantly more difficult, if not impossible.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Every single game that comes out with Bullet Time now is met with dubious cries of "oh, another one?" Though the third game averted this as it received high scores from both critics and fans.
Spiritual Licensee: The Max Payne games are some of the best John Woo games ever made before Stranglehold. Also Max Payne 3 seems to be heavily inspired by Man on Fire. Just look at the first trailer of the game when Max describes his situation and you will notice the similarities instantaneously.
It's to the point where it's lampshaded in the first game, the password for one early part in John Woo, and Max said soon after that he'd need to make like Chow Yun Fat.
Fans have been known to joke that 3 is a surprisingly good Kane and Lynch sequel.
That One Level: The two nightmare levels in the first Max Payne. They each start off cool and creepy, and then tack on an infuriating maze. The first maze has you running down featureless hallways endlessly until you take the right combination of turns. The second has you running around a maze of bloodtrails in otherwise featureless blackness. Every time you reach a dead end, a scream plays that exactly mirrors your own. It's even worse on the console, owing to the imprecise controller movement and use of checkpoints instead of quicksaves.
The airport terminal from 3. With it's entire environment massively spaced out by design and small outlets of cover, as well as the enemies throughout armed with powerful weapons as well as pinpoint accuracy, the battle is a painful slog from one side of the terminal to the other. The layout contradicts and outright forbids the kind of frenetic, two-fisted gunplay which the series is based on, and on higher difficulties the best, neigh, only way of beating the section is by abusing the "Shooting-through-Walls" glitch while engaging foes at huge distances. This is made tragic by the fact that the game designers decided to place the game's trailer theme, TEARS by HEALTH over this section.
The stadium as well, in Chapter III, which has a modicum of Difficulty Spike to it. Particularly the section after Passos gives you the headset and sends you on your way. The situation you're dumped into is really unfair (the enemies are all on the other side of the gate, which can impede your ability to shoot them, and your best cover option frankly sucks) and it can be difficult to get a bead on where all the enemies are coming from (at least two come up from the bottom of the bleachers and can catch you off guard if you're focusing on the four or five foes in front of you). Pushing forward is made problematic because more enemies appear when you think you've cleared a path for yourself and then you've gone too far to take advantage of any cover. You might try to walk down the bleachers to the lowest level and then work your way back up on the other side but even then you'll probably find yourself pinned down.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Max's body and especially face received a Hollywood makeover for the sequel. YMMV on whether this was a good thing.
The third game was reviewed well by mainstream outlets, but was received far more dichotomously by fans.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Max running from New York to Sao Paulo feels a little bit forced, because he easily slaughters every wiseguy De Marco sends after him and he could just go full Chow Yun-Fat on Mafia once again, like in good old Max Payne 1. One might see Max's flight to Sao Paulo as moving on to his new life, letting go all the bad things that happened to him in NY... but on the other hand, a conflict between vengeful De Marco and grieving Max seems interesting enough to skip the Brazil thing.
Wangst: Most of Max's inner monologues delve into this in 3. It's weird to see how Max, in a drunken state, singlehandedly kills hundreds of mooks, yet complains about what a loser he is every ten steps. Absence of comic reliefs doesn't help.
An opposing viewpoint might hold to the idea that for a former law enforcer, killing men in droves does not (or even should not) automatically increase his self worth.
Rather, it's that he's now a bodyguard with something of a White Knight complex, yet most of the people he's supposed to protect and many civilians who were just there end up dying.
Zero Punctuation lampshaded this by pointing out that for all of Max's whining about how he has nothing to show for his life, his job as a bodyguard in Sao Paulo more or less is a dream assignment for most people. Before the events of the game, it mostly consists of him being surrounded by beautiful women and alcohol with few responsibilities.