Review by Grimmbo King

"This game should mark the RISE of Max Payne"

I was a fan of the original Max Payne. I thought everything about it was awesome...the gritty story, the conflicted hero, the amazing visuals and sound, and, of course, the bullet time. At the time, I thought that nothing could top this game...and here I am now, humbly yet rather ecstatically admitting I was VERY wrong.

Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne takes the first game, overhauls it, tweaks it, brushes it off, and puts it back out in the field...but this is not a bad thing. The gameplay hasn't been tampered with, only improved. It is very satisfying to clear a room of bad guys without the poor, bullet time deprived thugs even getting a hit on you. The new Bullet Time takes some getting used to, whereas before, time just slowed completely, this time around it seems to give Max better reflexes. This means that Max will be moving faster than his opponents while in Bullet Time, and the more you kill, the more of an advantage you'll have. The meter fills up over time now, so you shouldn't find yourself in too many situations where you're out of juice when you need it the most. The game has several moments where, after killing a certain enemy, the game will go into a slo-mo cinematic style, showing off your handiwork. The controls are tight and responsive, and you should have no problem having Max dive around if you've played the first game...and even new players should quickly pick up the hang of of Payne. AI is generally very good, enemies will try to ambush you, or will attack in groups. They do, however, seem to have problems with throwing weapons, such as molotov cocktails and grenades. The graphics and sounds are terrific as well; however, there seems to be some trouble with the dialogue volume at can be standing right next to someone and they'll sound like they're talking to you through a wall. The game's physics engine is top notch...bodies will flop, fly and fall very realistically, sometimes slumping against walls or being thrown out of a window.

If I were to say I had any problems with the game at all, it's the very short playthrough time. Depending on how much of a stickler for perfection you are, you can probably beat the game in 8 hours or less. However, Max Payne 2 is worth every second of that time. If you liked the original, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. If you're playing for the first time, though, never fear...Payne and pleasure definitely go hand in hand this time around.

Personal Ratings (1-10 scale):
Graphics - 10
Sound - 7
Gameplay - 10
Longevity Factor - 8
Overall - 9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/23/03

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