Review by Mechwarrior 02
"Just simply incredible"
You're walking down a hallway. Having just taken down a underworld thug you reload your Ingrams getting ready for the next firefight. You walk through a door into a room occupied by 5 gunmen. All of a sudden time slows to a crawl, bullets start flying, clips and shells fall to the ground as you take a fantastic cinematic dive for cover behind some boxes. You managed to take two down. You switch to your grenades, and toss one in their direction. A loud explosion goes off and you see two bodies fly in the air, flimsily falling down lifelessly into some paint cans. The fifth remains, you switch back to your Ingrams and take a roll from your hiding position to have him directly in your field of vision. You fire, and you just hold down that trigger. You see his body pumped full of lead, and watch as he slumps to the ground. Enter Max Payne 2.
Max is a guy who led a perfect life. Had a great job, wife, house and all. One day he finds some gunmen have broken into his house, and finds his wife and child dead. Since then his life was never the same. In the present, he's a Detective for the NYPD, taking down crinimals as they come, until unusual circumstances at a wherehouse take place where the plot further unfolds. Without giving away too much, the plot is involving. Coming from a guy who's read many books, played many games, and watched many movies I can honestly say the plot is very original and very intriguing.
This is what Max Payne is all about. You play the game from a 3rd person view, going through levels such as warehouses, apartments, and dream sequences while taking down thugs and criminals in cinematic fashion. What this game gives you is Bullet Time 2.0. With a simple press of a button everything in the world slows down, making aiming much easier, watching bullets fly at you. It helps tilt the odds in your favor, cause since Max can't take too many bullets, it's what gives a helping hand during gun fights. Add the Havoc engine in the mix and you get very interactive environments such as tumbling boxes and destroyable balconies. It does not get any better than this.
The graphics have been greatly improved since the first May Payne. The first thing noticed are the character models. Characters are now capable of showing emotion, anger, pain, concern etc. So now no longer does Max have that constant grin on his face, he now shows real emotion, or lack thereof anyways except when a situation comes down. Textures are detailed, different effects such as mirroring and the Ragdoll effect always give pleasing results. Nothing better than to take down a guy with your shotgun and have him blast through some boxes.
Sounds are a bit stepped up from the original. The music is appropriate, it can be moving and dramatic when it needs to be as well as get your blood pumping through you when in a gunfight. Gunshots pierce through the air as you hear clips clinging off the ground as you hear your enemy scream and wail. I've heard of many sound issues on the net, and I for one have not experienced any. In my opinion all is well.
This is where the game falters a bit. Taking your time one can complete the game in about a dozen hours, or rushing through in about 5. Multiple difficulties and game modes make up for it, namely Dead Man Walking. In this mode you are placed in a map with an enemy. You take him down and 2 enemies appear on the map. You take them down and 3 appear and so on until you are taken down yourself. You cannot win. Basically it's just a high score sort of thing, but it is a welcomed mode nonetheless. The first Max Payne had a great mod community which kept it going for a while, I'm expecting the same with a great game like Max Payne 2.
This is a must play game for 2003. If your computer doesn't not have the capabilities of running a game like this (and the requirements aren't that too harsh either) then I recommend picking this up at least for the Playstation 2 or XBOX. It's a great gaming experience except if you are one of the few who did not enjoy the first. Other than that this game does not upset in any way.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/17/03
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