Review by ChronosX

"The Fall of Max Payne Indeed"

The original “Max Payne” was one of the best games on the market when it was released in 2001. However playing through it nowadays, its tilt has dwindled incredibly, but that’s what we have sequels for right? True, that in the end, “Max Payne 2” is a better game than the original; but then again the fact that the original feels so dated and it’s sequel doesn’t really add any depth to the gameplay engine means that “Max Payne 2” isn’t as glorious an achievement as the original was when it was released. It’s an average game, and we’ll just leave it at that.

“Max Payne 2” once again puts you in Max’s shoes a few years after the original. Max is back on the police force and keeping a low profile, but he just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and all hell breaks loose once again. The game is billed as a film noir love story, but the storyline is pretty lame and dull, not to mention Max’s love interest. Mona Sax’s character is about as fleshed out as a zombie from “Resident Evil”. Being the story isn’t very good makes the cut-scenes a chore to skip through, not to mention 25% of the levels in “Max Payne 2” are dedicated to you walking through enemy-less levels and listening to a bunch of narrative garbage.

The gameplay engine is identical to the original “Max Payne”. Payne once again wields an array of weapons to lay waste to an army of enemies scattered throughout the seedy underworld of New York City. The shooting is still solid and can be pretty entertaining at times when you get into huge gunfights, but it’s still pretty lifeless on the whole. The “bullet-time”, which was the original’s claim to fame, returns but surprisingly it’s pretty poor. I loved pulling off a slow-motion dive in the original while blazing away with two pistols; but in “Max Payne 2” it just doesn’t feel exciting. The “shoot-dodge” feature has been tweaked and is pretty useless here, whereas the “bullet-time” is pretty much the same only you get faster and your enemies grow slower with each enemy you gun down while in the slow-motion state.

In fact, the best new thing in “Max Payne 2” is its graphics. If you were a fan of the first you couldn’t help but admit the world was pretty lifeless and the characters had some poor canned-death reactions. In “Max Payne 2” the world is much more interactive, you can blast someone with a desert eagle and watch them fly into a pile of boxes or slam into a wall knocking items off a shelf. The game also supports rag-doll psychics that mixed in with the level interaction creates some impressive deaths. Max has also ditched his ridiculous “constipation” look and looks to have aged a number of years which makes him look more like a hardened cop who’s been through hell than the leather-jacket wearing baboon he was in the original.

In the end the, the biggest problem with “Max Payne 2” is that the originality has worn off and what’s left is an average third-person action game. The developers really didn’t add anything new to the sequel, nor did they necessarily build on the great aspects of the original. While I do think “Max Payne 2” is better than the original, it’s only due to more of a graphical upgrade between the two titles and the fact that the original has become so obsolete. Yet underneath the graphics and new levels, it’s the outdated gameplay engine that really flat-lines “Max Payne 2”.

+ Interactive Environments
+ Improved Graphics

- Bullet-time sucks
- Lame Story
- WAY too short
- No new features
- Not enough enemies

Graphics- 8.0
Gameplay- 6.5
Sound- 7.0
Overall- 6.5

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 01/28/04

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