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Max Payne 2: Fall of Max Payne

Score: 80%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Rockstar
Developer: Remedy
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

Max Payne was known for its dark and gritty noir-esque visuals, and the sequel is no different. None of the game takes place during the day, and it seems that with every corner you turn, things get even darker. Though the graphics aren't stunning, they portray the depressing world well. Just when the level you're on starts to get monotonous, another grimy locale is thrown your way to change things up.

The music is the second element in this demonic duet. Always low key and ominous, it picks up and slows down depending on the situation. The voice acting is a little monotone from everyone involved, (OK, maybe not the crazy Russians), but the sound effects are decent enough and make some amends for the shortcomings of the dialogue.


Max Payne 2: Fall of Max Payne is a straight forward run-and-gun game. This sequel hasn't tried to do anything spectacularly different from the last game, as it delivers intense action with interwoven comic book style cut scenes. Max Payne is back on the police force when he uncovers yet another mob threat in the city, one that has roots in the killing of his family.

Unfortunately, the storyline is the only thing that has really changed from the last title, and that isn't even all that much. You progress from one level to the next in a strictly linear fashion. There are no side routes or alternate paths, though there are some goodies to be found in levels, such as prostitutes talking about their deadbeat boyfriends who play too many video games. Clever stabs at persecutors of video game violence are in almost every level, so score one for the good guys on that note.

Lacking from the game are any form of bosses. Though these are not absolutely necessary, and Max Payne 2 does fill that void with some variations of the gameplay, like escorting a guy with a bomb strapped to him or gunning down bad guys with a bum for an ally, something more could have been done to change things up.

The good thing is that there are plenty of WMD's. At least, if used correctly, they can be called this. Pistols, machine guns, pump action shotties, and an assortment of hand thrown explosives are all available to Max from an early point in the game, and there is enough ammo to level a city block, so an itchy trigger finger is encouraged.

Despite it all, there is hardly any replay value in Max Payne 2. Once the game has been completed, most of the big surprises have come and gone, leaving you with a not so fulfilling feeling when you try to go around for a second time. It is definitely fun almost to the point of addiction during the game, but when it's over, it really is over for good.


Since the game consists mostly of Max gunning down his enemies, the difficulty comes in the form of your surroundings and how many enemies you have to face at once. There are very few instances where you die the first step you take into a room, so it really comes down to your skill at using the things at your disposal, like the large arsenal of weapons or Bullet-Time.

Game Mechanics:

And yes of course Bullet-Time is back, however it doesn't seem to be as emphasized in Max Payne 2: Fall of Max Payne as it was in the first game. Using it will hardly let you dodge bullets anymore, as it really only slows down everyone else's time and lets you run around at your same speed mowing people down. It does help you to reload very quickly, and the camera does a nifty 360 degree spin around you when you do it, but that's about the extent of Bullet-Time's use.

The real treat is your ability to dive in slow motion. This trick lets you hurtle your body through the air in any direction, aiming and shooting all the way to the floor where you will lay as long as you keep firing. Even better, it can be pulled off with the simple press of a button, so there are no complicated button maneuvers to go along with your acrobatics.

Max Payne 2 is exactly what it says it is, a video game noir love story. You'll spend most of your time watching the comic book cut scenes, and the rest will be taken up with relentless fire fights that would make Chow Yun-Fat cower in a corner. If you're not looking for an all too deep premise and simple, yet exciting gameplay, Max Payne 2 is your ticket. You'll just have to look elsewhere if you want a deep and compelling game to satisfy you for weeks, as Max Payne 2 can be finished in days.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

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