Mafia 2 vs. Max Payne 2: Admittedly, the two third-person shooters are not directly comparable, but there are many similarities. Mafia 2 is also reminiscent of Max Payne 2. PC Games Hardware dares a slightly different comparison.

Note: In light of Remedy's announcement that they will be developing remakes of Max Payne 1 and 2 with Rockstar , we dug into the archives and exhumed this early Raffael Vötter gem. Have fun with it.

Max Payne. As soon as this name is mentioned, shooter fans prick up their ears. The second outing of Remedy's Avengers has been around for a few years but remains popular among fans. The basis for the 2003 title - a thoroughbred PC game - is Futuremark's MaxFX engine (3D Mark 2001) in an advanced version. In addition to T&L support for numerous polygons, the developers also rely on a pinch of pixel shading, among other things to display mirrors and the correct accentuation of Max's leather gear. Other surfaces are not illuminated with pixel precision, SSAO, HDR rendering or bump maps for displaying physical unevenness also belong in the "future music" category - but motion blur is on board.

Still, Max Payne 2 still looks amazing by today's standards . The game owes this fact to the use of multi-texturing in perfection: high-resolution photo textures meet layers that incorporate further details into the basis. The result looks excellent at first glance, but it is static: if an object is moving, its bumps are not illuminated differently, and dynamic light sources are also missing.

Mafia 2 embodies the current shooter generation. The renderer of the illusion engine masters almost all modern 3D functions (or marketing buzzwords) including ambient occlusion, global illumination, soft shadows, depth of field and the obligatory motion blur. Since Mafia 2 is a cross-platform title, i.e. the game will not only appear on the PC but also for the consoles, the developer 2k Czech has to make technical compromises. Memory is a valuable commodity on console hardware because it is rare.

Since textures are among the biggest memory guzzlers, it makes sense to cut corners at this point. Current games have a completely different approach to the "good graphics" mission than Max Payne 2: Instead of static textures without much post-processing, relatively sparse base areas are used, which are subsequently pimped up by an armada of shaders. The advantage, in addition to saving memory, is that the lighting can be carried out with pixel precision, which means that the credibility of each material increases significantly - at least as long as it is

result succeeds. The optimum would be a combination of high-res textures and the shader army - Crysis shows how good that can look and how big the hardware hunger turns out to be.

Mafia 2 offers good to very good graphics over large parts of its large, dynamically streamed game world. However, the player often encounters total failures , in which the basic textures mentioned have apparently been "forgotten" and texture mud characterizes the picture. Of course, this can also happen with simpler texturing like after the turn of the millennium, but Max Payne 2 only has a few of these new German "fails" baptized problems.

Of course, as a linear shooter, Max Payne 2 doesn't have streaming and storage issues, so the intended comparison isn't entirely watertight. Still, it's interesting to see how a supposedly totally outdated game can keep up with current blockbusters. Ancient meets mainstream: can Mr. Payne still keep up?

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