Review by meltdown711

"Max Payne returns to teach developers how bullet time is really done!"

Introduction

In 2001, Remedy games, what was then a small unknown developer for rockstar, gave birth to a game called Max Payne. The game almost instantly pulled you in and grabbed you into the games sick and dark story. This was not its best part. Remedy came up with a feature called ''Bullet Time''. There really is no reason for me to explain it but anyway, bullet time allowed Max slow slow down time (himself and his enemies). This gave Max the upper hand in combat by still allowing him to aim freely and dodge bullet or any other dangers. This game led way to many other games that would incorporate this kind of feature but reach the quality of Max Payne, hell even Matrix tried and they couldn’t get it better. Max Payne makes his return in this worthy sequel to the last game.

Story

The games story is once again told through the comic book or “graphic novel” used in the last game. The game picks up shortly after the events in the first game. Max, now a detective, find himself dangerously close to Mona Sax, you may remember her from the last game, who is a murder suspect and part in the bigger story. The game’s story is complex and filled with great dialogue featured with the “graphic novel” and during gameplay. Fans of the first game will enjoy it while new to the game will feel kind of left out. Expect many old friends to be making cameos.

Gameplay

Now HERE is where the game truly shines. In the last game, during bullet time, when time slowed down max would be in sync with the bad guys making bullet time more strategically and had u using shootdodge more than the regular walk bullet time. This while not exactly realistic left a good dose of realism in the game. Not in this case. Bullet Time was fixed around here. Instead of Max slowing down as much as the enemies max can actually start going faster then the bad guys depending on the kills. Its simple as u start consecutively killing people your bullet time bar while start changing from white to yellow. As this happens enemies will begin to slow down and down while Max retains a slightly slower pace then normal. When the bar gets at full yellow you will start blasting through baddies like nothing and with each extra kill your bullet time will fill up (slowing down the emptying process). This unfortunately makes the shootdodge feature less useful then the last game. This is supposed to feel a more exaggerated feeling of an adrenaline rush (much more exaggerated). This is a complete blast to use. The game is also the first game to use the Havok physics engine. Once you start playing around with it you will get addicted to it. The engine adds fairly realistic physics to things from tires to humans. Also the addition of the ragdoll physics makes enemies fly up high in the air. While a bit farfetched its so much fun to take an M4 in and start blasting at a baddie as he is flung in the air from a grenade, its is very very addicting.

Graphics

The graphics are a huge improvement from Max Payne 1 and now you aren’t stuck with the Johnny Knoxville constipated look. In fact just about every character has been replaced now, and I must say the new guys look a lot more fitting. Unfortunately while leaps above the PS2 version the Xbox version suffers a bit compared to the textures you would find on a good PC. Also the character models are less polished and have less bump mapping on them compared to the PC version. This is to be expected. On its own Max Payne 2 on Xbox looks good.

Sound

The sound in the game is great from the great voice actors to the music and sound effects everything is fine and dandy. It would help if u had some nice surround sound then you really could enjoy the games sound. The only thing that bothers me is the sound of the regular pistol. It sounds as if u were shooting a BB gun rather then an automatic. Not even a glock sounds that low, a .45 should not have that low of a sound. Other than that the sound is good.

Play Time/Replayability

This is where the downside comes in. First time through Max Payne on detective it will take you around 5-6 hours. This is even shorter then Max Payne 1. This is a game which heavily relies on replay value. Which is good because most fans of the game will play through it tons of times. Also modes like Dead Man walking and New York minute will add to the replay.

Final Recommendation

Max Payne is a must PLAY for anyone with Xbox. The games mix of story and gameplay is done extremely well. I won’t say you should disregard the short play time, because if you are just in it to beat the game can just rent it and beat it within the rental time and even beat the different difficulty modes. This is a must own for any of the fans of the original. If you are willing to undermine the games length, goes ahead and pick it up. This game is a great sequel and one of the best games of this year.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/15/03


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