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games > max payne 2

max payne 2: the fall of max payne

There are some things that will never stop haunting a man no matter what changes occur in his life. Sometimes a man can never really shake the dark cloud that seems to follow overhead no matter how hard he tries to run from it. For men like Max Payne this dark cloud shrouds him like a cloak and he is haunted by the ghosts of loved ones lost to violence. Once again, Max Payne sets out to seek his own brand of bloody violence in Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne but little does he know that on this quest there is someone who can set him on the right path to his salvation or lead him to his downfall. Yes, this is a true sequel to a great game.

The last time we saw Max Payne, his wife and infant daughter had been killed by drug pushers working for an underground crime syndicate that turned out to be run by the head of a major corporation. Seeking revenge on all parties involved with this family's death, Max went on a rampage of death and destruction and thus making him a wanted man by the same officers of law he himself worked for before he became a vigilante. In this second chapter, Max is back with the New York police department after being cleared of the events of the first game. Answering a call for a homicide, Max encounters Mona Sax--the woman he encounters in the first game and is thought dead by Max. What happens next becomes a story of ultimate revenge and an unlikely love story that is just too good to spoil here.

Right away, gamers will quickly come to notice the improvements over the first game and these improvements really make the game even more intense than the original. For one thing, Max really interacts with the environment in ways he was not able to do before. Here he can stumble over objects, giving his position away if enemies are nearby or make noise by stepping over different surfaces. Then there's the Bullet Time feature that still slows action as Max dives and fires at the same time. The meter now refills on its own (shades of Enter the Matrix) or by killing enemies. This is just a good way of helping your tilt intense situations in your favor.

The game still features the graphic novel-style of presenting the story but what really changes here is the fact that there will be a time when you take control of Mona Sax. Her role is central to the story and her involvement with Max Payne begins to change throughout the game. It's actually great to see the situation through different eyes and playing as her makes for some pretty great moments--especially since she's as handy with the sniper rifle. Max still can gun his way out of a situation and the controls still feel a bit awkward but gamers can always change the default controls to fit their liking.

Aside from the cinematic in-game presentation (characters are introduced rather interestingly), there are many situations that are quite different from the original. There is one point in the game where Max, a homeless ex-cop and a prostitute attempt to shut off a valve that is spewing out flames in a rundown apartment complex. These two characters actually lend a hand by covering you and shooting back at enemies that are searching for you. There are many more moments like these scattered throughout the game's chapters.

Visually superior to the original as well, Max Payne 2 comes close to looking like the PC version. The environments look nicely detailed--but not as crisp as the PC--and while there are a few plain spots here and there this game gives you plenty to look at in each location. The character models have also been improved and this time around there is a natural look to everyone you encounter. Max himself has been nicely rendered and has taken a different facial form. Once again, the story is told through comic book panels that feature some pretty gorgeous artwork. What rules supreme, though, are the visual effects in things like explosions and the Bullet Time feature.

As for the sound, the game is quite the auditory experience. Aside from the realistic retorts of each firearm and the shattering of objects that occur when missed shots hit and destroy things like lamps windows, the game features great voice work. Max narrates somberly in the cut scenes but you'll also be hearing a lot of him during the action. It's also entertaining to encounter your enemies in conversation and television sets not only showcase programs but also commercials. Once again, the music is dramatic and it fits well in this game.

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a stylistic romp into the criminal underworld where sweet vengeance and true romance just makes things all the more intensely satisfying. There are many moments in the game that will have you savoring the action and the story manages to keep your interest all the way to the end. While the game is pretty short, it will not fail to bring a smile on your face and a blister on your trigger finger. Buy this one right away.

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