I just recently finished Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. I had previously finished Max Payne a few months ago. They tell a dark and gritty crime story in a film noir like fashion. Max narrates a monologue throughout the graphic novel like cut-scenes, every phrase uttered like it came from a classic crime drama film. These monologue's really are fantastically written, poetic in a way. Throughout these two games, albeit different situations, Max Payne, a New York city detective is down on his luck, framed, assaulted and more. When he develops the feeling of nothing left to lose, he pursues answers to questions that only serve to get him in deeper than one would want to be with the mafia, as well as other gangs.
The music is excellent, minor themed overtures throughout and fitting for the story. Depending on if you're playing on the PC, the game can look really nice. Max Payne 2 has noticeable upgrades in graphics from its predecessor. The gameplay is tight as well. Most people know the series is famous for its bullet time mode, where everything enters slow motion in your efforts to dodge bullets and shoot the enemies you are face with accurately.
Neither of the two current games lasts very long, but they do leave a long lasting impression. Each has a sad and symbolic story that you are likely to reflect upon after the game ends. A movie had been planned since Max Payne had originally been released in 2001, but didn't come out until 2008. In theory it is a great concept, but Hollywood doesn't always deliver in game to film adaptations. I have not seen the movie yet, but from what I had heard it isn't very true to the series. I remember reading that Mark Wahlberg who plays Max Payne in the movie had said he never played the games and didn't intend on it, due to his "addictive personality," he didn't want to open up a gateway to game addiction.
A third game in the series had been announced that is to take place 8-10 years after Max Payne 2 seeing Max as older and more downtrodden than ever. It was supposed to come out in 2009. It had since been pushed back to 2010, and now 2011-2012 at some point unverified. Although it apparently isn't going to be written by the same person as the first two, Sam Lake, nor will it be made by the same developers at Remedy, it will be handled by Rockstar Vancouver. I am anticipating it. If they handle it with the same passion and meticulous effort that was put into the past games, it is sure to be Amazing. If you have not tried these first two games yet and their description and artistic atmosphere peaks your interest, I highly recommend you give them a try.