Review by barney killer
"Save your money for now.."
Max Payne 2 is the eagerly awaited sequel to Max Payne. Max Payne would have been an average little shooter, but it introduced a new concept into gaming. The game added a feature called “Bullet Time” which let you behave similarly to Neo in the Matrix and dodge bullets, out aim bad guys, etc. It also introduced an interesting story told in a wonderfully corny dime-store novel style and a lot of memorable characters. Max Payne 2 builds on and improves Bullet Time to make you more super-humanly deadly. It unfortunately falls short on the story and some other key elements.
Get ready for a let down when it comes to story. There are a lot of plot holes and things not quite explained. There's a general love story between Max and Mona, as if you couldn't tell from the game box, but it's never fully fleshed out. I won't spoil it for you, but you'll likely find yourself saying “huh?” a few times. Where the first game told a story that was possible if wildly and ridiculously implausible, this one goes further; too far.
The graphics are quite good. People die in realistic ways and the bodies fall as you would expect. They twist and turn in mid air and are very lifelike. You still can't see yourself in mirrors, which is a shame, but you can damage the environment while fighting which more than makes up for that. The physics engine is very impressive.
The sound is good. Max doesn't tell the story in the same tone I liked from the first one, but that's a matter of taste. The sound does come from the direction it's supposed to so you can follow it. All in all, a very impressive job.
This impressive behavior does come at a cost. You're going to need a decent system to run it. If you have a computer that's more than a year or two old, you may need a new graphics card. Be sure you check your specs against the minimums on the box.
Play Time/Replayability 3/10
One of the major gripes people had with Max Payne was that it was pretty short. Inconceivably, Remedy decided to make Max Payne 2 even shorter! It still has no multiplayer support, so they can't even use that as a crutch. They have released some easy mod tools, so the community can make their own levels, but this is a bad trend, relying on volunteers to do the work they are being paid to do.
Replayability is not great. There are a couple of different modes to play with, but nothing revolutionary. They do have a mode where you try to stay alive as long as possible with rapidly respawning enemies, but it gets old pretty quick. One saving grace is that you are now able to skip cut scene movies so you don't have to sit through the same stuff over and over.
Bullet Time is improved and a lot of fun. However, while the game is fun the first time through, it gets boring the second time. Instead of any strategy you just basically run at people and shoot them. Bullet time gives you such an advantage that you'll nail people with ease most of the time.
There are parts where you fight with NPC characters and they are intelligent and usually not suicidal. Those parts are fun. They also got rid of the die in your dream stuff, so that's an improvement. Also improved is your ability to throw grenades more easily and a larger supply of them.
Final Grade: B
You're looking at a slightly easier game that will take you a lot less time than it's predecessor. The story is weak, there are few memorable bosses, the game just isn't as interesting to replay. It's not a bad game. It is really odd that the developer would take so many steps away from what made the original fun to play even today, but they did make some improvements along the way. If you can get it cheap, this is a great one to add to your collection.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/03/03
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