Review by Korkskrew

"Max is back..."

Introduction.

Max Payne 2, sequel to the 2001 hit Max Payne has finally been released. But it has had a makeover! Now it is a bleak film noir-esque game with a nice little love story thrown in too!

The original Max Payne became famous for its ‘Bulletime’ effect, in which players of the game can slow down time during gunfights for a very action movie-like feel. MP2 (as I will refer to it as from now on) this time brings a new and improved ‘Bulletime 2.0’!

…and now! On with the review…

Gameplay

The gameplay of MP2 is without a doubt the best part of it, particularly the bulletime element, a really innovative addition to the game… which I must say really does add to the
Whole experience. You can either click the right mouse button and go straight into bulletime and do as you wish in it, dive around double uzi’s blazing destroying everything in site, picking off each enemy one by one with the double desert eagles and their venomous rounds etc. or you can press shift and you will dive in the direction you are facing and dodge bullets being shot at you. When doing this dodge you can still shoot at the enemies too!

Bulletime can be summed up in one small four-letter word. That word is ‘cool’. You really do feel as if you are in an action film of some sort when using it.

other than the bulletime the game is pretty standard as 3rd person shooters go… walk about, shoot people, look for stuff etc.

The physics engine of MP2 is absolutely marvellous, everything acts pretty much as you would hope it to in real life. If you walk into a table with a box on it, the table will move, as will the box… if you run into the table hard you could topple the table over and send the box flying!

The ragdoll effects used for the characters in the game is real nice too… if you go into bullet time you could keep a man in the air for however long you want (with the aid of a few shotgun blasts) in a rather comedic but yet not-so-realistic fashion.

Story

The story of the game is told through many means, there are cutscenes using in-game graphics, but also, another innovative idea in the Max Payne series there are comic book cutscenes which are used every so often.

I am stuck on what I think of the story personally, I mean yes, the story is quite good. But I wonder if I think that just because of the utter style that it is presented in? Also, I cannot say that the story was too gripping, at one point I had forgotten why I was after the people that I was after! But yes, the story is good… and presented very well, but it isn’t the greatest story ever told…

…and it is by no means bad.

Graphics

MP2 features beautiful graphics… the character designs are fantastic, they portray emotions really well and you can connect with them. The textures are great looking and are used very efficiently, giving off the feeling I believe the creators of the game had strived to portray.

The lighting is also good looking… I cannot really put down anything about the graphics at all, so I won’t!

Sound

The sound acting used in this game is used very well I believe and the voices fit the characters like a glove. Other sound effects used… gunshots, footsteps etc. are pretty standard but there is really no fault with them. The music is great, especially the ending theme that bellows out as the end credits roll.

Play time/Replayability

Although MP2, like its predecessor is quite short, there are a few modes and difficulty levels there to get you playing the game again. I personally believe that the game is just about the right size… but it would not have hurt to be a bit longer.

Final Recommendation

Buy! Max Payne 2 is a great experience that has few flaws which are by far outweighed by the other fantastic and gripping elements of the game. A must have for fans of the genre… but if you are particularly against 3rd person shooters you may still want to give it a go just to check out the bulletime.

Final score…

9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/27/03


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