Review by kianbung

"Time is relative to the observer - and to the excellent Bullet Time 2.0."

Max Payne 2 is the (duh) sequel to the hit action game Max Payne. The original Max Payne was the first ever game to successfully implement an on-demand slow motion ability, otherwise known as Bullet Time - within its fast-paced, action-packed gameplay. Max Payne 2 stays true to its lineage - offering exceptional gunplay even at this age where slow motion is utterly overused, and a gripping storyline.

GRAPICS - 8
This time around, Max Payne looks even better than his predecessor with detailed character models, decent texturing and realistic character animation. Coupled with the Havok physics engine, Max Payne 2 features an extremely realistic graphics experience. Granted, Max Payne 2 will definitely not get any awards for innovation as there is nothing we haven't seen before, but it remains a solid contender in this age of hyperrealistic graphics.

SOUND - 9
The sounds in this game are realistic, without a doubt. The sound effects are nothing to scream about in real-time speed - but as we slip into Bullet Time, the sound transition from fast to slow is amazing. Throw in the melancholy voice of Max and the seductive voice of Mona, this game is one audio extravaganza.

GAMEPLAY - 8
This game is easily one of the most addictive games out there. A third person shooter by itself is nothing much, but throw in the then-innovative Bullet Time, this game is one great ride from start to finish. This time around, Max Payne 2 features Bullet Time 2.0 - which unlike the old Bullet Time, has multiple 'zones' of effectiveness. When you start using it, Bullet Time is not much slower than real time, but as you start to kill more and more enemies, Max's 'adrenalin' starts building up and the enemies start to move slower as you remain in normal speed. My only major complaint about gameplay is that it can get extremely difficult at some parts of the game, especially during some 'bodyguard' missions, where you have to protect someone.

STORY - 10
It's rather wierd how a homicidal NYPD officer seems to have a Master's Degree in English and Literature, especially as you listen to the way he describes things - a must see for all writers and literary entusiasts. The story is compelling with twists and turns, though it takes a while to absorb and may not be understandable the first time you hear it.

REPLAYABILITY - 7
Sure, you can always replay the nice levels with the level selector after you finish the game, but playing the game over again with sadistic difficulty is not my idea of fun. Dead Man Walking mode might be interesting for a while, though. Also, the mod community is always willing to extend the life of this great game.

OVERALL - 8
Highly recommended to action gamers and fans of the original Max Payne. This game is one great shootout from start to finish. It's mod-friendly build will also guarantee you get the bang for your buck. (no pun intended)

PROS
- Bullet Time 2.0
- Now with physics engine
- Great great story
- Excellent source of literary inspiration

CONS
- A little hard at times
- Gets a little tedious


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/23/04


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