Review by Schmidty3000

"One of the BEST stories I have ever seen in a video game to date."

First, let me say that I am not quite done with the game. I have been playing for a little over eight hours and am pretty close to the end. Some of you may think that that is a pretty short game, but for how in depth the story is, it turns out to be perfect.

Graphics: 9
The graphics are pretty good in the game, but not as good as they could have been. Not much has been improved over the first game. Everything is still pretty bland. The environments are stellar though, they really fit the game. The best part about the environments is that most everything that isn't bolted to the floor in real life can be moved around in the game. You can dive through a stack of boxes to take out the enemies on the other side, or just roll a barrel down a flight of stairs. Rag doll physics have also been implemented into the game. No longer will someone fly into a wall and continue the preset animation. If you blow someone up and they hit the wall, they will stop dead and fall straight down moving according to what hit the wall first. You will no longer see anyone fall backward and land on their back when you shoot them in the leg with a shotgun. That is unless the force of the blast causes them to tumble all the way over. My favorite thing about the physics though is seeing a guy running toward me, getting capped in the head, and having his upper body fold backward while his legs keep coming. The physics alone give the graphics a high rating, but the bland textures bring the score down a bit.

Sound: 10
The sound in the game is stellar. The voice acting is done really well, and doesn't sound like acting at all. The conviction portrayed by the actors is convincing me, and probably will throughout the rest of the game. The gun shots sound realistic as well. Great attention to detail is portrayed by the fact that certain guns are softer sounding than others. A 9mm pistol is nowhere near the volume of a sawn-off shotgun. Not to mention all the other guns lying somewhere in between. The bullet time effect slows down the sound much more convincingly than the first game. Gun shots take longer to travel to you and pass by. It truly is a great experience.

Story: 10
Granted, I don't know how the story ends, but so far it has been absolutely amazing. The story itself will draw you into the game due to it's immense depth. Without the story, this game is absolutely pointless. Sure it's fun to shoot people, but it can get boring. You do have to pay very close attention to the story for everything to make sense as there are a lot of twists. Not to mention that the story tends to jump through time more than in the first. A few things that players of the first saw are scattered throughout the game as well. The Ragna Rock sign can be found in storage in the first level, and TV shows that are loosely based around the first game can be found everywhere. Don't skip watching the TV shows!! Some are funny and some can be linked to shows found in the first game as well. Familiar faces will make a return as well. Among them are Deputy Chief Jim Bravura and Vladimir Lem. Overall, the story is intriguing and it draws you straight in.

Gameplay: 10
What can I say for the gameplay other than wow! This game is just plain fun to play. The action is almost non stop, and in many parts of the game you will have a lump in your throat bigger than the Pyramids of Giza. You have a huge arsenal of weapons to use including the addition of my favorite weapon in the game, dual Desert Eagles! Each weapon has its own strength and weakness. You will find yourself sticking to only a couple of guns anyway. Another great addition is the secondary attack button that can be toggled to different things. Those things are melee, Molotav cocktails, and grenades. The heart and soul of the gameplay is bullet time which has been revamped from the first edition. Shoot dodging is no longer the first choice. You will find yourself using it in only certain situations, and only when you remember it is there. The main option is the run and gun bullet time option. Each time you kill an enemy, the bullet time hourglass will turn a little bit more yellow. For every shade of yellow, time moves a little more slowly. Max does not slow down however, and can aim in real time. When you reach the maximum shade of yellow, everything is moving at a snails pace and you have a huge advantage over the enemies. You can try to go through levels without bullet time, but it will not work. You will die without it. Other than the bullet time, everything else is exactly the same, minus some minor changes. If you liked the first game's gameplay, you will absolutely love Max Payne 2's.

Replay Value: 7-8, maybe
Again, I haven't finished the game yet so I couldn't tell you for sure, however I can see myself playing this game through many times over. I played the first one over and over, and it is not nearly as good as this one. Most likely it will receive a 7 or 8.

Rent or Buy: Depends.
If you really love a good story or you just love to blow evil people away, you should definitely buy this game. If you think that you would get tired of the game quickly, rent it and beat it in a weekend. It all depends on your tastes.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 12/26/03

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