Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
The first incarnation of the Max Payne game surprised the whole gaming community: an intense and involving storyline and inovation through the implementation of Bullet-Time. Some of the best 3rd Person Action around! Will Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne continue on the set path? Let’s see!
A mansion surrounded by police, Max who again has a dead woman on his hands, again past the point of no return… and a new loved one! As in the first Max Payne the story starts close to where it will end.
After a short visit to the hospital where you find the corpse of a colleague and you see your boss being killed mob-style, you get whisked away into a long flashback…
Max is cleared of all charges, as promised by Senator Woden, and starts work again with the NYPD because he couldn’t handle the job at the DEA anymore. He’s in his car when a distress call on the radio announces an address that he’s very familiar with: shots were fired in the warehouse owned by an old “friend”. He rushes over and once arrived, he hears gunplay and screaming. After calling for backup, he enters the warehouse… and another Histoire Noir!
If you played the original Max Payne, this game will feel very familiar, but some thing have been changed for the good. Bullet-time has been tweaked (slo-mo running is better!). For me the best improvement has been the interaction with the enviroment. It’s usable as cover, but when for example boxes get fired upon regulary they could end up falling on you… However, sometimes this could be handy as well: goodies on high places can be reached simply by knocking down the boxes they are on.
I couldn’t help but feeling that I’ve seen all of this before in MP1, but “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” really does apply here, the game plays like a charm: once the controls are set to your liking there is nothing that will stop you from enjoying this game!
Graphics, in two words: SPOT ON! The graphics engine does its work beautifully. I never noticed any glitches, which is a plus as I still play my games with a GF Ti 4200, basically a DX8 card. On a new DX9 card this game will look even prettier! Camera movements were never a problem, something other 3rd person shooters sometimes have problems with.
Soundwise everything is close to perfection aswell. Background sounds, the weapons fire, the explosions: all of them are extremely believable! Even the televion-sounds give enough variation, even when you stay with one to listen to what’s playing. Not that you get top TV-shows as sound: a parody on the 70′s TV show “Shaft”, some soap opera, and some moaning generally heard in movies not exactly aimed at an underaged audience… Together with the excellent voice-cast they perfectly reflect the mood of the game, just as it was in the original.
A first small minus is that you’ll need a reasonably recent soundcard to have full enjoyment… my soundcard at least didn’t cut it (it’s a Fortissimmo II), and provided me with choppy sound at times. Maybe time for me to upgrade, and thus no loss in the points awarded.
The other minor point is the length of the game. With a game like this you get the feeling you need to finish it as fast as possible, you cannot stop playing just to know what comes next. But a gripping story like this cannot be spun out longer without becomming boring. Well, you can’t please everybody! This shouldn’t stop you from buying this game though, as the plot does make twists and turns, making your local rollercoaster seem like a walk in the park!
The developers even added some options to make your enjoyment of this game a bit longer: “A New York Minute” and “Dead Man Walking” were included again, and the game is moddable, with several mods in development right now…
I’m still convinced this is a top-game, even though you only get little improvements on the previous Max Payne and the short storyline (that’s why concept gets a smaller score as the rest). If you like good action, a well worked-out story, eye-candy and sonic heaven then this is the game for you!