Review by erico2858

"The Rise of Max Payne"

It's always fun to find a game you know is going to be great and it turns out better than you expected. Celebrating the release of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, I decided to play it through from The Beginning, which meant pulling out my copy of the original Max and ridding the world of Aeser Corperation before taking the fall. I did this for the same reason most film buffs watch the Star Wars Trilogy or the LOTR movies back-to-back, to preserve it's dept and to see how it fits with the rest of it's universe. What I realized doing this is that MP2 not only is a better game than it's predecessor, but it's origins are vital to a much grander saga, like the pulp comic books the game tries to replicate.

Max Payne 2 holds it's power in the revolutionary bullet-time mode, that in this incarnation is a lot more controlable (as well as a lot more required) to use. It still grounds itself in the same John Woo-style gunfights and enough new weapons to keep you feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. Also, Max 2 allows players to interact, if only a little, with anything that hasn't been nailed down (and even then, you might just be able to). Another accomplishment is that they made the trademark nightmare sequences even more freaky yet less aggrivating (I HATE those blood lines in the first).

The story unfolds through a unique set of jump-cuts back and forth through time. In the space of two days, friends die, fiends are resurrected, and NOTHING is as it seems. Just when you think you know what's coming next, the game pulls a new one on you. It sets up well for Max Payne 3, which I am already excited for.

The only things I feel are missing from this game are just those I feel are missing from the franchise; a hand-to-hand mode of some sort, more interaction with environments (which they have done to an extent already with this sequel), and it's story mode needs to be at least 33% longer. But hey, that's just me.

Overall, Max Payne is about style over substance, but in a good way. It doesn't try to become more than what it is; a shoot-em-up with attitude. Max is already a classic character in gaming, but there are more than a few contenders who wouldn't mind pulling a little bullet-time of it's own on him.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/26/03

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