Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne - PC

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Also for: PS2, Xbox
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Remedy Soft. Co.: Rockstar
Publishers: Take 2 (GB)
Released: 24 Oct 2003 (GB)
Ratings: BBFC 18
Accessories: Control Pad


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When the original Max Payne was released back in 2001 it raised a few eyebrows with its combination of dark, gritty storyline, strong use of narrative, cinematic visuals and overall mature target audience. Most notable, though, was its introduction of the now commonplace 'bullet time' idea, which gave players the ability to slow down the action sequences, Matrix-style, and thus allow them to dodge bullets and take out multiple enemies. A sequel was only to be expected, and here it is, offering the same hallmark gameplay, an assortment of new features and a general all-round spruced-up quality.

As if things couldn't have gotten worse for our Max, erm…they have - he's still somewhat disturbed, now back working for the NYPD, and currently living in a knackered old apartment. The beginning of the story sees him responding to a police dispatch and heading off to an old warehouse where, without wanting to spoil it, let's just say things kind of go downhill from there. It's not all doom and gloom, however, as the violent, film noir story that unfolds introduces a love interest for the hero, in the form of the original game's Mona Sax.

The gameplay itself throughout Max Payne 2 takes its cue from the first one, appearing in the form of a third-person adventure. An array of dark and gloomy environments again play host to the action, this time benefiting from an even greater level of detail, featuring photorealistic textures and enhanced radiosity lighting. This high detail is also stressed in the character models throughout the game - the faces are extremely convincing, thanks in part to some intricate facial animations and lip-synching.

As you would expect, the heavily-featured 'bullet time' of the original makes a return to the proceedings, this time significantly overhauled and now dubbed, wait for it, 'bullet time 2.0'. The general concept remains the same, with an assigned button causing Max to dive through the air in slow motion, but this time around the slo-mo continues on the ground until Max has finished firing. There's also a second 'bullet time' button, which causes enemies to become even slower with each kill and subsequently allows you avoid even more mayhem.

The overall quality throughout Max Payne 2 is extremely high - the game's production has benefited from a motion picture stunt crew, professional talent for voice acting and graphic novels, motion capture, and authentic digital source material from New York City. This all makes for a very polished game, which is something we certainly should be seeing more of in the future.