Review by lightfighter

"Perfect Combination Of Story And Action"

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a 3rd-person action game by Rockstar Games and is a sequel to Max Payne.
I recently completed the game and decided to write a review.

Gameplay 9/10
The controls can be altered to however you choose (if you don't like the default setup). There is a list of actions and beside them you choose which button to assign.
You can also choose options such as, auto-aim, auto-lock, and invert aiming to name a few...making the game more easy or difficult to suit your liking.

As for the camera, you can freely rotate but while in action, you won't need to adjust it at all. Not once throughout the game did the camera interfere with the action/movement.

There are very few platform elements of the game and making Max jump doesn't look or feel too natural and it doesn't have much in respect to precision, however it doesn't take away from the game itself and isn't difficult. There is an auto-save feature between scenes
and you can save your game at any point, any time, any number of times.

''Bullet time'' is again in Max Payne 2. Max can stay at his normal speed as the action slows down, instead of everything being in slow motion like the first game.
He can also continue to fire on the ground rather than automatically returning to his feet.
For those that are new to ''bullet time,'' here is a brief description: by pushing a button, bullet time allows Max to [temporarily] slow down time. The gameplay slows but Max can still aim in real-time. Bullet time combo (aka shootdodging) allows Max to dive left, right, forward, or back while slowing down time. It's something you almost have to experience to fully appreciate how neat/effective
this feature is.

Story 8/10
''A film noir love story.''
The story features Max Payne a part of the New York Police Department. During a murder investigation he meets up with Mona Sax, a murder suspect and the story goes from there...with twists and turns. A gritty New York action/crime drama. After reaching a point in the action (throughout the game), the game cuts to a scene and allows the story to evolve. It blends story and action perfectly. Will you need knowledge of the story from the first game to play? No. At the main menu, there is an option of choosing ''previously'' to summarize the events in the first game to bring you up-to-speed on what lead to Max Payne 2.

Graphics 9/10
I think the graphics are very smooth and have incredible detail. It is greatly improved from Max Payne 1. Explosions and fire [and the effects of] look very real. Max Payne 2 graphics use the ''Havoc'' engine which features ''rag-doll'' effect. While shooting enemies, you'll see bodies falling back against walls and landing on the floor like they would in real-life.
The Havoc engine allows many things to be interacted with. Boxes can be moved/fall, chairs can be pushed across a floor and tip over, a guy leaning over a railing
gets shot and falls over the ledge - basically, everything has its correct physics...impressive.

Sound 8/10
Gunshots from different weapons, explosions/fire and raindrops sound very real. AI voices/screams all sound realistic and react accordingly. Max's voice suits the character well. The game has some profanity but fits the atmosphere/story. Superb audio throughout featuring In-game Dolby Digital surround sound.

Replay value7/10
Max Payne 2 is a short, single-player only game. An average gamer will probably beat the game in under 10 hours. However there are more difficult modes to unlock.
If you replay this game it will either be for the higher difficulty level(s) and/or the pure enjoyment of the game.

Final Word 9/10
I enjoyed Max Payne 2. It was challenging and fun and never frustratingly difficult. While the game is somewhat repetitive it has its way of not letting you feel it by changing and expanding the environment, introducing new weapons and anticipating more. Playing Max Payne 2 doesn't require much thought but it's a wonderful story that involves a lot of great action featuring its, ''bullet time.'' I highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/09/04

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