Review by Patriotwolf

"A must own for any action gamer."

For quite some time I’ve been looking for a game to engross me in its story. Several other games, although few, like Zelda: The Ocarina of time, come to mind. I can say with all certainty, that Max Payne 2 is the first game of this console generation to fully immerse me in its story.

Like the original Half Life proved that First Person Shooters deserve a good storyline, Max Payne 2 has again raised the bar for video game stories.

This game’s story grabs you and wont let you go, dragging you, forcing you, to progress through the game, just to see what happens next, and the unexpected twists keep you guessing. This is by far one of the best stories I’ve seen in a video game. And unlike other games which try to present themselves as movies, this game truly immerses you, sticking you in the middle of a world, frustrating you, challenging you, perplexing you, and rewarding you. That is a good thing, because as a result this game becomes as close to being in an actual movie as you can get.

Another great thing I like about the game is its adjustive difficulty, something I think should be in more games. The system works like this. Lets say you blowing through a level, taking out everything in your path like a pro, the game will then start adjusting to you, and become harder and more challenging. On the other hand, if your having a hard time, or keep getting killed in a certain spot, the game will back off some, and make it a bit easier by giving you some breathing room. This was particularly evident when I was doing very well up until a certain part in the game where I hard to do some sniping, I was having a little difficulty with it, so the game then adjusted to me, and gave me a little more time.

Another thing I like about the game is obviously the “Bullet Time”. Doing a dodge and then continuing to fire after you have hit the ground is a nice touch, and the “Matrix-ish” way of reloading while in bullet time is also a nice little feature.

Graphics 8/10- Not exactly Splinter Cell, but not bad at all. The way you can see bullets in “Bullet Time” is a priceless addition, and the levels are nicely done. However, explosion and player models could have used some work, and the way Max’s coat stays stiff looks odd (at least in video sequences), but otherwise not bad at all.

Gameplay 10/10- Honestly, I haven’t played a single-player game this much fun in a while. And the engrossing story only adds to the fun. Heck, you can have fun just shooting the large standing plates in one of the levels to see how many you can knock down before you land. And the ability to snipe while doing a slow-motion dodge will have you talking smack to the A.I. The controls are great once you get used to quickly switching weapons, and diving through a door and blasting away at the cleaners is great. The only downfall is that the A.I. is not quite as smart as I would like, and I would have liked to be able to shoot while cartwheeling while playing as Mona.

Sound 9/10- The only real problem I found with the sound is that the effects or weapons and explosions were not that great, but it could just be me as I have been playing a lot of Rainbow Six 3 lately. Even so, the voice acting and video sequences make up for it greatly and further immerse you into the already great story.

Replay 7/10- This is the only really “Fall of Max Payne” in the game, as there isn’t much in the way of it. Nonetheless, it does have more replay value to it than many other single player games out there. And although it is understandable why there is no multi-player, it would have been a nice addition.

Overall 9/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/22/04

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