Review by Exodist

"Love Hurts..."

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. A film noir love story. What we have here is one hell of a game. This is a thing of beauty. Max Payne 2 isn't your average 3rd person shooting game. You play as Max Payne, on a journey into his own personal hell. A story so brilliantly told, you first think it could be a film. But no, it HAS to be a game to make sense. Much like the first Max Payne, you go around many levels, all brilliant and fun to play, shooting the bad guys (mainly cleaners) and then watching some cut-scenes. It sounds pretty dull, but it fun, and the story doesn't let it down at all.

You load the game up, you see Max Payne spin around in a circle, the title comes up and you hear the sound of a bullet casing crashing to the fall. Effective. It has a movie feel to it, and it does it very well. Once you start the game, you will notice that most of the plot is told in comic book style pictures. Thats right, completely STILL pictures, with some text popping up on the screen for the characters. Its done pretty well, and at least I think, all the pictures are photos, so its real people (it has something about comic character actors in the credits or something like that) and it looks great. The story carrys on from Max Payne, you can watch a little comic book of what happened in the first MP game. The plot is pretty good, seeing Max Payne back in the police force. He finds a case he just cannot let go.

So you start the game properly inside a warehouse. You look around, and soon, you find some cleaners. Enemy cleaners. Obviously, you shoot back. Its a bit like a FPS game, you look around, kill some enemies, quick save, load occasionally. But its all in third person. Now what makes it better, is the bullet time. Pressing the right mouse button, Maxs reactions will increase, and so does his speed, whilst all the enemies around you slow down. You are able to kill enemies faster, whilst your in this mode, the little bar to the left of the screen gradually goes down. Killing enemies restores a little bit of it, and when your not in bullet time, it will fill up again. Also, pressing the shift key and a certain direction (with the WASD moving settings of course) you can dive, making everything slow. This is great, you can see the enemy around the corner, you get your Dual Ingrams out, dive round the corner and FIRE!!! Killing them in all their rag doll glory. To todays standards, the ragdoll physics aren't as good as todays, but for then, they are pretty cool. It uses good old Havok, so when there are some big explosions about, theres going to be objects flying everywhere. This makes this game not your average shooter.

So what else is there? Well, some of the levels are great. For example, the first time you enter the tv studio. Well, its a fun house, but its where a TV show is filmed. Its great, this whole level just contains you running through it. All of the things going on it are crazy though, your trapped inside a cage, and a GIANT (and I mean giant) syringe comes flying towards it. It doesn't kill you though, although it makes you think your going to die. Also, you walk past a tower of crates, and they start to fall. But they stop just above you. Later on, when the fun house has enemies in it, there are some enemies standing next to it. Pressing a button activates the tower of crates, and the enemies scream "****!" as they fall. Then you shoot them. Heh heh. The enemies are pretty intresting as well. The A.I. isn't too bad, but the best part is listening in on conversations. For example, run down stairs, but don't go round the corner. You can listen in on enemy conversations about their normal lives. This can lead to be pretty fun some times, and then killing them makes it better for their problems, if they have any. There are also TV shows playing on the TVs you find around. Lords and Ladys, Address unknown, and Dick Justice are all sometimes funny to watch. Dick Justice follows the events of Max Payne 1, so if you have played that, you may recognise some quotes, and "I have a permanent constipated grimace on my face." (or something along the lines of that). In Max Payne 1, Max looked like he was constipated, well his face did. All the other shows all some how match the current, or future, or even past events of the game. For example, just before a building sets on fire, a building does in Lords and Ladys. Very clever. This makes the levels all that bit better, and the escort level later is funny, and fun at the same time. Who ever thought a tough guy could be a fan of Captain Baseball bat boy (another TV show that doesn't appear as often as the other ones). Most levels are fun to play, and never ever boring or a chore.

There are some problems with this game. First thing, its incredibly short. I mean, play this game for about 5 hours, and you could have it finished. Maybe a little longer then that, but not very long. Then again, I guess the kind of events that happen in this game wouldn't last for about 20 hours of game play. Although short, once you complete the game on the easy difficulty, you unlock medium, complete that to unlock Hard. Finishing the game on Hard mode will let you see a special ending! Its pretty short, meaning it won't take ages to get this special ending either. There is another mode, unlocked after finishing the game normally, New York Minute. In this mode, your objective is to complete every single level in the game, as fast as possible. Killing enemies will make your time go down, so don't try to avoid as many of them as possible. This adds more fun to the game, I have seen a speed run of the game completed in 24 or so minutes (not including the cut-scenes). Also after completing the game, you unlock Dead Man walking mode. You choose a level, and you have to survive as long as possible. Kill all the enemies you can, and try to survive. Your usually low on ammo and pain killers, but it is possible to get some high times (unless you cheat). And then, after competing the game normally yet again, you can unlock level select. Allowing you to pick any level in the game. There are so many Easter Eggs in this game, this is very helpful in finding them all. This adds a lot to the life span of the game.

So then, is this game good or bad? Very good. The story is brilliant, and brilliantly told. The action is great, bullet time works, and the game isn't too hard, but you won't be able to whizz through it even with Bullet Time on most of the time. The level design is great, the music is good, the graphics pretty detailed, the music is OK, I guess. I couldn't really hear it that much, but what I did hear suits the games mood. Also unlocking every thing and finishing it all is very fun. Don't rent it though, BUY IT!!! You hopefully, won't be disappointed. I wasn't.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/14/06

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