First-person shooters and paintball would seem to have much in common. Both offer the chance to run around with weapons and shooting your mates without having to worry about hiding the bodies or avoiding the cops afterwards. With that in mind, it's surprising that there aren't more paintball games to choose from. Or is it? Greg Hastings Paintball Tournament Max'd provides a thorough and detail-rich adaptation of the sport. So why, then, is it so incredibly dull?
Starting off like most Activision extreme sports titles, you choose a character from a small, stereotypical selection. The inability to create your own avatar is the first sign that this is going to be a limited experience. The usual mechanics are in place - squadmates, stat improvements and weapon upgrades - but overly complex controls and a general lack of oomph blight the gameplay.
The core concept simply works far better in real life than on a joypad. There's no reason to choose the play-fighting of paintball over shooters like Black, when the latter is a simulation of combat and the former is a simulation of a simulation of combat. It's already two steps removed from the basic appeal of the sport, and thus even the finest gameplay engine - which this game certainly does not have - couldn't make it appeal to all but the devoted.
Live matches offer some sense of the real thing, but you can't shake the feeling that you'd be having more fun on Halo 2. If you're a paintballing lunatic you might enjoy this. But then you're probably getting pleasure from all that pain - which this doesn't have, being just a game.
A poor excuse for an FPS makes for an adequate, if pointless, adaptation of a sport better experienced in the real world.