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XBox Reviews: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

 

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne Screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
9.2
Graphics
9.8
Sound
8.9
Value
9.5

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
 -  reviewed by Edwin Milheim
Review Score 9.4/10 
Distributed By: Take 2 Interactive
Note: This review covers all formats released and score is based across the board

The original Max Payne blazed on to the scene with eye popping adrenalin pumping fervor that knocked the gaming world on its collective butts. While there are several quality games out there, none put the gamer in the middle of an action movie like Max Payne did. How the heck do you follow something like that up? Can it be followed up at all? The answer thankfully is yes! 

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne delivers all the goods when it comes to a game just daring you to try to walk away. The game just keeps you riveted and wondering whatís coming next. Even better you get to play another character during the story.  Mona Sax, an ultra cool blooded killer that is either there to help Max or Kill him. Some times itís hard to tell. There is a bit of a draw between these two characters and the situation gets very adult more than a few times. On top of the eye popping violence of the gun play, there is strong sexual themes.  It would be advised for parents of younger players to take note of the M for Mature rating this game got.

The story of Max Payne 2 is rather involved, with more twists and turns than can be explained with out doing a full blown spoiler to the game. As the story begins it starts in the present and bounces back in time to tell the story of how things got the point the player is introduced to in the beginning. Still with me? Confused? Play the game you wont be, and you wonít be bored either. Again cut scenes are played out both in short intro scenes and also in the old comic panel style to move the story along. Narrated as always by the tough as nails voice of Max himself. 

Bullet time is of course back. For those who have not played the first game and how no clue what I am talking aboutÖBullet time gives Max Payne the ability to slow time down. All enemies slow down as well as Max, but the difference is that Max can aim in real time. This gives Max Payne the advantage over a room full of thugs bent on ventilating our hero with lead. Itís a sight to see as always, spent shell casings hang in the air, falling like brass feathers to the ground. This effect is limited so the player will do well to watch the little hour glass that shows how much bullet time is left. Now of course the upside is that while in bullet time, every enemy taken out, a little more bullet time is gained. If multiple enemies are taken down very quickly the hour glass changes to different shades. During this time if it is activated, Max goes very deep into the zone. All the enemies go even slower but Max moves at his normal speed during bullet time. The deeper the shade of yellow the more advantage Max has over the enemy.

Shoot dodging is also back; using this move Max can dive in most directions while slowing time down, but the main bonus here is that the Bullet time allotment is not effected at all.

During Bullet time when Max or Mona has to reload, they do it with a slow motion blur spin. This all takes place with a really cool point of view panning of the camera.

(Ala John Woo!).

Aside from the guns and explosives, there is another attack now. A pistol whip function. I was never able to sneak up on anyone to use itÖbut it is there. When I did use it, I was right up in their faces or in amongst more than one of them and started swinging and alternately shooting. Hey it works.

Other graphic improvements are Rag Doll Effects. Rag Doll Effects adds a lot to the physics of the game as a character is gunned down or falls from a high place the body goes limp and bounces accordingly as it falls to the ground, striking surfaces and obstacles on the way down.

Max Payne 2 is a graphic hungry game. I cannot imagine lower end systems even attempting this game on the PC. Minimum requirements for the PC are a 1 GHz Pentium III. The Graphics are so intense if you have a power house of a system youíre going to be served up an awe inspiring vision of a game in all its graphic glory.

The sounds in Max Payne 2, from the SFX of guns and explosions on the music are stellar. The Dolby Digital really makes the gun battles intense as the deep boom of a shot gun goes off to your left and the clatter of a machine gun sounds from behind. Listen close and you even here the empty brass hitting the ground. Voice acting in the game is rich and the voice talents go very well with the characters they are portraying. The music wraps it all up in a true immersive gaming package. Music sets the mood and matches the darkness that plays out on the screen. Moody at one moment and hurried and heralding of danger the next. Only while playing Mona in a couple of instances does the music seem almost out of place, but it is so short of a time that it is hardly noticed. (I only noticed because this is my fifth time playing the game all the way through.)

Max Payne 2: the fall of Max Payne is one of those must have games. Even if you only play it once through. But I have a feeling that the Mod community are hard at work even now coming up with new levels and Mods to expand on the game for the PC.

Iíll have to say if I had any part of the game I did not like it would have to be the part when you play Mona Sax and you have to defend Max by using the sniper rifle and keeping a horde of thugs away from him. This can be tough at times. I had to play that level a couple times at least to move things along successfully. 

You can now get Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne for the Xbox, PS2 or the PC. What ever system you play this on, it is one incredible game.

Have fun, play games.

Edwin Millheim.

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