Review by GMRZno9

"Payneless..."

After the bullet-fest that was the first ''Max Payne'', Max has crawled out of one hole only to find himself in another in his new XBOX game, ''Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne''.

The game starts off with Max working at his old job at the NYPD. After a call to a gun warehouse, he discovers something big going down involving some hired thugs posed as a cleaning company. He also discovers the woman he thought he lost in the first game, Mona Sax. The game soon becomes a film noir action feast with a nice little love story to boot. The game also returns the use of graphic novel style cutscenes, with nice looking pictures for the panels, and combined with Max's clever little metaphors about trying to escape the past.

Max Payne 2 isn't more of a sequel than it is more of a second outing. There are some pretty nice improvements, like when you shoot-dodge, you automatically go in slow motion to be able to target effectively. One of the most notable ones is a new part to the ''Bullet Time'' function. When you start really shooting, you get a kind of ''Bullet Time Upgrade'', in which, instead of turning everything down to slow motion, Max moves slightly faster (in slo-mo, anyway) while his enemies move even slower. This can make for some really cool scenes. Say for instance, you shoot a group of some enemies in the newer bullet time. Now, while they're flying around in the air, you can continue shooting them to just keep them up there. May be a waste of bullets, but it sure does look cool.

The graphics have been smoothed out nicely. The character models look more realistic, and Max doesn't look like he's eternally constipated anymore.

What's really good for the eyes though, is the game's use of the Havok physics engine. Almost all the items in the environments are interactive or movable, and when enemies are shot down, they fall down realistically (really) and they are positioned accordingly with anything they hit on their death fall.

As I said before, the game is very similar to the first ''Max Payne''. There was no real problem with the first game, it's just we don't like to see too much repetition in our sequels. The other problem is that the game is just too short. Dedicated gamers could blow through this in a short weekend. This is a bad little bump on an otherwise smooth gaming road.

Despite these setbacks, ''Max Payne 2'' is a great addition to an XBOX's owners library and a must-have for any action gamer or film-noir fan. Plus, it's a nice game to unleash your aggression upon.

I give it an above-average, 7/10.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/24/04


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