Review by DaNo1Stunna

Reviewed: 10/22/03

In a sense, it should be The Rise Of Max Payne.

In 1997, Remedy started work on a game that would revolutionize the art of third person shooters. In July of 2001, Max Payne was released to the public and immediately became a hit. It introduced a gaming concept called 'bullet-time', where all the action would slow down around you, to a point where you could see bullets in motion, and move to dodge them. This feature, mixed with an awesome story and all-around great gameplay, made all the fans wanting more. Two years later, we got just that. Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne, has arrived.

Gameplay – 10/10

Wow! Everything feels so smooth. When you engage in your first gunfight, you'll be in for a surprise, and you'll be eager for more.

For Max Payne 2, Remedy included the awesome Havok engine (popular as well for its appearance in Half-Life 2), creating super-realistic battle sequences. When you shoot the enemy, they'll take the hits appropriately, according to where you shoot them. When they fall down to their death, their corpses will 'rag-doll' against the environment. For instance, they'll lean up against a wall if they were shot into one, or topple over paint buckets on their way down.

Bullet-time returns from the original Max Payne, but with a twist. Bullet-time 2.0 is introduced, which slows down everything except for the player. This adds an interesting twist to gameplay.

All movements/actions are very fluent.

Story – 10/10

Sam Lake once again writes a perfect story. In a lot of FPSes and TPSes, the story isn't as looked upon as the gameplay is. In MP2, everything is quite balanced, and the story even has reason for game elements such as bullet-time. The story continues on from the original Max Payne. Max is not over the death of his family. He meets up with a former ally, and they fall in love. I won't say anymore, because such a great story shouldn't be spoiled. There is so much to the Max Payne 2 storyline, I couldn't cover it all.

Graphics/Sound – 10/10

All I can say is, Wow. The graphics are extremely detailed. Gone are the single textures for faces. Now, every part of the face moves, and the dialogue is lip-synced. Shadows and mirrors have been implemented for Max Payne 2. With more advanced anti-aliasing and quality settings, the powerful PC is in for a nice treat.

One thing that is great about the Max Payne engine, is that it runs well on older systems. My 450MHZ computer with only 32MB of graphic memory and 256SDRAM can run this with no problem, although the frame rate isn't that beautiful. Very playable, though.

The sound takes use of new EAX technology, making it sound as if you were there. There have been reported sound issues though, with the sound skipping all the time on SB Live 5.1 cards. I fixed it very easily though, and its awesome now. All the sound effects are very well recorded, and makes the experience much more fun. Am I really shooting these people? Seems like it.

Replayability / Playtime – 9/10

The game is rather short. I beat it myself in 7 hours. Although, this is one of those games where you could just go back and play it over and over again to try new things. Not to mention there is a surprise for the third time you play it. Soon, the developer kit will be released and people will make mods, adding extra replayability.

Final Recommendation – Buy it. 10/10.

This game is truly awesome. It has already received much publicity. it, live it, love it. I'm playing it for the fifth time, and I am still having legions of fun. Best $50 bucks I've spent in a long time.

MP2 truly lived up to the hype. With the help of its older brother, the Max Payne series has become legendary, hence The Rise of Max Payne.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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