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Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, XBox, Shooters

Product: Max Payne 2
Company: Rockstar Games
Website: Official Game Site
Estimated Street Price: $49.99/39.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

It has been over 2 years since Max Payne first hit the headlines. It's rollercoaster ride of excellent graphics, easy to learn gameplay and explosive action was an instant hit both with PC players as well as Console gamers. Here is a feature list:

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a violent, film-noir love story. Dark, tragic and intense, the in-depth story is a thrill-ride of shocking twists and revelations. Twists and turns of the in-depth storyline keep you hanging on as the the dark, twisted plot unfolds. You'll encounter compelling, malicious characters in that gray no-man's-land between good and evil. Fans left hungry for more after Max Payne should prepare to be blown away!

  • Dark violent love story: Between a cop, Max Payne, and a femme fatale murder suspect, Mona Sax. Dark, tragic, and intense, the story is a thrill ride of shocking twists and revelations.
  • Bullet Time 2.0: Max Payne's signature slow-motion gunplay has been improved on every level, giving the player a greater sense of precision and power.
  • New guns and new moves: Take third-person action to a new level.
  • Havok 2.0 physics engine: In the first game to use this engine, objects collide properly against each other, and ragdoll physics allow enemies to react realistically when shot, creating breathtaking combat scenes.
  • All new A.I.: Adds a new sense of realism. Cooperative non-player characters fight with Max, and more believable enemies create tension and more interesting and varied challenges.
  • A stunning level of detail: Extremely detailed environments and lifelike characters (including facial animations and lip synchronization) provide a visually staggering experience.
  • Massive production values: Including a motion picture stunt crew, professional talent for voice acting, and graphic novels, motion capture, and authentic digital source material from New York City.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"Max Payne 2 goes yet another level ahead of other console titles in terms of graphical detail and special effects. It's amazing how much detail has been added to the game since the first game. The main thing you will notice though is the new facial features, firstly Max Payne looks completely different, not a bad thing as this new look fits the character more than the previous one did."

For those of us who have played Max Payne before, you'll already know the drill as not a great deal has changed in this sequel, which isn't a bad thing as the game aims to be as fun and action packed as possible. There were not many problems with the first game anyway, so why change something that isn't broken in the first place. The few niggles that were in the original game have just about been ironed out.

The gameplay is your basic third person fair, you play cop Max Payne, once again getting himself on the wrong side of the law, the game introduces some old faces as well as a lot of new ones. The feel of the game hasn't changed since the original, this, as mentioned earlier, is a good thing. Max Payne is an action game through and through, even the dialogue that can be heard during gameplay sections doesn't interfere with the action at all.

So what is new? Well the first thing you will no doubt notice is the excellent Havoc physics engine, blowing up the enemy has never been so much fun to watch, unlike other games that have used the Havoc engine, Max Payne makes a lot of use of things like explosive barrels, ammo boxes etc, and when they blow, you'll notice the difference.

The games story unfolds in the same way the original did though graphic novel-style storyboards. The graphic novel style is almost identical to the first game, although there are some even better drawings this time. Bullet time moves have changed since the last game, unlike in the first game, Max no longer slows down to a complete crawl when bullet time in enabled, this time, as Max kills the bullet time meter starts to regenerate but turns from white to yellow. When this happens time starts to move even slower whilst Max moves even faster. This is one of the main reasons the game becomes far too easy.

Additional game modes are here once again, "New York Minute" is back along with a new mode called "Dead Man Walking". In this you are in one of the games many locations as the enemies start to come in, its just a case of staying alive for as long as possible.

So are there any problems with Max Payne 2? Well yes, the main problem being that the game is over far too quickly for most gamers, you could well buy it in the morning and be done with it before the end of the day. The games difficultly levels are locked until after you first complete the game, a bad design decision I feel. Also Max seems to turn really slowly in the game, something that can't be changed in menu which is very annoying.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"For those of us who have played Max Payne before, you'll already know the drill as not a great deal has changed in this sequel, which isn't a bad thing as the game aims to be as fun and action packed as possible. There were not many problems with the first game anyway, so why change something that isn't broken in the first place. The few niggles that were in the original game have just about been ironed out"

Max Payne 2 goes yet another level ahead of other console titles in terms of graphical detail and special effects. It's amazing how much detail has been added to the game since the first game. The main thing you will notice though is the new facial features, firstly Max Payne looks completely different, not a bad thing as this new look fits the character more than the previous one did.

If you own a high end PC though, I feel you would be better off purchasing Max Payne 2 on that as the Xbox version doesn't quite manage to fit in all of the graphical thrills that new graphics cards can handle these days.

The sound effects are just as good as they were in the previous game, with the original voice over crew returning to take their old roles back, its good to hear them again.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 83%
Gameplay: 91%
Presentation: 88%
Graphics: 90%
Multiplayer: N/A
Sound: 90%
Manual: 85%
Interface: 88%
Lastability: 78%
Price/Value: 88%
Overall: 89%

Once more Max Payne 2 is an excellent, if rather short title. Its a great action packed and graphically superb title that you'll want to get through, just a shame it won't take you very long.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 89%
Version Reviewed Max Payne 2 (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Max Payne 2 DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Excellent Graphics
Great voice work and effects
Excellent story and writing
Explosive gameplay
The Bad Points Too easy
Xbox Live! Enabled? No
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes


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