Review by Yeuh Fei Long

"Is this a sequel or an expansion?"

Finally comes the arrival of Max Payne 2, and with it, there are just about no new mechanics or aspects to be found, whatsoever. If it isn't broke don't fix it right? No fixing necessary, but adding new mechanics is usually the sin-qua non of sequels.

Graphics-7/10
They look the same really, just with more of an anti-aliasing buff and a bit more sharper images. Other than that, no updates. They get the job done, Max still suffers from arthritis and joint problems in his animations, but still has some fluid movements. One thing that was finally prayed and asked for has happened, they wiped that sour, constipated grin off of Max's face, and that's a definite plus. No sense taking someone serious with that type of disgruntled look. This time around, Max has aged, even though the events that transpired haven't been that long since the sequel, as where Max looked to be in his late twenties, now he looks to be late thirties, as if he aged a decade, but who wouldn't after going through all that he did.

Story-8/10
Max is yet again, due for another plot twist, sabotage, exploitation, back stabbing, etc (You'd at least think he would see some of these things coming). He's back on the force, only to be sought after again, ironic isn't it? All because of some woman by the name of Mona Sax who's supposed to be dead, but isn't, and so it delves deeper...

Sound-7/10
The effects are alright, some of it can be rather muffled and hard to hear. The music is somewhat non-existent with the exception of a couple of themes. The 'bullet-time' effect is top notch though.

Gameplay-7/10
It's the same damn game really, just a couple of new things, such as a new plot, a slightly rendered bullet-time effect and a John Woo style reload animation whilst in bullet-time.

For the select few who haven't played the first, here's the low down of combat. Max has an adequate supply of weaponry he can use when picking them up off the dead corpses he blows away. It's really the typical third person shooter with the exception of a quirk called bullet-time. It's the somewhat cliched slow down effect that's seen in numerous movies and games. This gives a great edge/advantage to Max, for obvious reasons. When this is triggered, either by diving or pressing the allocated button, it slows time and Max is able to empty his clips faster then his foe's can say 'cat-in-the-hat'.

Remedy added an interesting aspect, the only real addition other than the cute reload animation. Upon activating bullet-time, the more consecutive shots Max pulls off, the more yellowish the hourglass turns, once this starts to happen, things start to slow down even more, giving more of a ridiculous edge to Max. It's fun having that type of hang-time to fill someone with that much lead, even before they hit the damn ground.

That about does it for the main mechanics of play. You fill up your bullet-time effect, represented by the hourglass in the lower left hand corner of the screen, and then activate it to kill everyone and run past them before they hit concrete and then continue to the next candidates who opt for death.

Replay Value-6/10
Harder difficulties to unlock, and that's about it as far as unlocking anything new. Regardless of any lack of unlockables, it doesn't affect the value of replay.

Over All, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (double pun), really just feels like an expansion with a couple of new additions that don't proclaim it to be a new game, much like the Dynasty Warrior series, it finds nothing really new to add, but doesn't necessarily need it. Truly though, Max Payne never really tends to get old, like Shinobi, it has simplistic mechanics and not a whole lot of variety, but what it does have, entertains the whole way through.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/07/03


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