If you're playing Max'd by yourself, there's a career mode with 29 different tournaments to compete in. The tournaments are spread out around the world from Texas to Cambodia, and as you win you earn credits and experience points that you can use to purchase gear and improve your character's skills. You can purchase new markers, jerseys, shoes, goggles, hoppers, harnesses, and more, all from licensed manufacturers like Tippmann and Kingman. As you complete tournaments you'll earn your way up the ranks from rookie to novice, and eventually you can go professional. The matches get progressively more difficult, thanks to the solid artificial intelligence of the high-ranked teams. The AI poses a challenge not only because it's fairly sophisticated, but also because it varies quite a bit from team to team and player to player.
The multiplayer component of Max'd offers about as many options as you could possibly want from a paintball game. You can play online with up to 14 players in any of the three game types. You can set the number of rounds, the course, whether or not to allow cheating, what type of paintballs to use, and more. We didn't have any problem finding people online to play against, and we didn't notice any lag or other issues during our online experience. The matches move quickly, though, so if you're playing against some experienced opponents you won't stand much of a chance. That isn't much of a problem, though, because you can set a skill-level restriction when you create a game. If you prefer to play offline, the game supports system link and offers a four-player split-screen mode.
The new team controls and the breakout manager make it easier to plan your attacks.
Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball Max'd does a great job of authentically recreating the sport of paintball, but the presentation is somewhat disappointing. The player models and the courses look extremely outdated. There are some decent textures on some of the bunkers, but for the most part everything looks washed out and dull. The player models are blocky and they only have a couple stiff animations. The sound is also pretty lackluster. The markers sound good enough when firing paintballs, but everything else sounds cheap. The soundtrack comprises a bunch of generic rock tracks from bands like Puddles of Mud and Static-X. The tunes are harmless enough, but if you really don't like them you can create your own playlist using the custom soundtrack feature. The worst part of the sound is the announcer. He sounds like he's trying too hard to be cool or extreme, and it just comes off as annoying. He also repeats the same couple of phrases over and over again, and they're all terrible.
The biggest challenge with a paintball game like this one is trying to justify spending $40 for a game that will likely appeal only to people who are already involved in the real-life sport of paintball. Max'd is as authentic and feature-laden as paintball games come, but that really isn't saying much. Sure, there are almost 300 different course designs, and even a course editor for you to create your own, but they all feel so similar that anything beyond the first dozen or so will feel all too familiar. Plus, there are only three game modes, so after a short while the matches become repetitive. The solid AI in the single-player game makes for some fun challenges, and the online play is great, but in the end it's still just a game of paintball. Still, if you're a fan of the sport or are interested to see what it's all about, this game is definitely worth checking out.