Review by ZeoX

"Quentin Tarantino would have loved this one"

Max Payne 2 is great. No, is excellent. Superb. Astonishing. It should be the basis for all future action games. It should be an inspiration for many film directors out there. It's so much more than just a shooting game...

From the first moment to the last, you will live Max Payne's drama. His love for the assassin Mona, who returns from the dead with a mission. His battle against friends or foes alike, as he tries to escape the grasp of an ever-rising gang war. His nightmares that haunt him every time he closes his eyes and begins to wonder why does he keep on going, even if he gets beaten over and over again...

Storyline - 10/10

First things, first. Max Payne 2 is so deep and intense, it could easily have been a blockbuster movie hit. It has all the ingredients you need for a good story: the bad cop, mentally tortured; the femme fatale, beautiful and dangerous; the corruption, the drama, the action. It has love and it has death. It has insanity. It has betrayal and mind games. It has Mona. It may possibly have everything you ever wished a game like this could have.

Controls - 9/10

Easy to learn and efficient to use. Max's ability to warp into bullet-time and dodge fire has been enhanced and it works perfectly.

Gameplay - 10/10

Take this game slow, and you will enjoy it to the fullest. Make ambushes, use and abuse of the bullet-time ability, get yourself into those old behind-the-cardbox firefights. The game runs smoothly and in several areas you will need careful planning of your actions, rather than just bashing in unloading lead. In several parts of the game you will even be joined by temporary henchmen, some who can defend themselves, some who must be protected. Truly, an immersing experience.

Sound - 10/10

The voice acting is great. As you see the graphic novels, hear the characters speak and listen to the background music you'll thank that Max Payne 2 doesn't have any movies. And the in-game sound works very well, with little details like gangsters arguing with one another, TV and radio shows, or just beggars mumbling around... all is made to near perfection.

Graphics - 10/10

You can't go wrong with Max Payne. It has excellent quality graphics, and very nicely done animated sequences. The graphic novel is a real work of art. All the environments are heavily detailed and one must simply love the parallax effect while guiding Max through his troubled dreams...
Max's animations are also very fluid, especially in bullet-time mode, where the new reloading moves really makes you wonder if you haven't install some version of a Matrix game. Very good indeed.

Replayability - 7/10

Well, this may be the only weak spot in the game. It is not meant to multiplayer, and the single player game is pretty straightforward. Once you've cleared it, there is little reason to do it again except for trying new techniques or... admiring the dark beauty of the landscape. It is also a bit short for a 3 CD game, but you are sure to enjoy every moment of it.

Overall - 10/10

The first Max Payne was good. The sequel is pure bliss. It will pick you out of reality and drag you into a world of tortured love and dark thoughts, of criminals, corruption and loss. I tend not to think of Max Payne 2 as merely a game, but more of an interactive movie, where you play the main role and live the story from within. Max Payne 2 has this power. It's one of those games that you will feel sorry for reaching its end. Do not let this game escape from your collection.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 01/07/04

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