Monday, June 16, 2008

Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne

"Short but sweet" is a good way to describe 2001's Max Payne, as well as its newly released sequel. Actually, the main difference between Max Payne 2 and its predecessor involves more of the circumstances under which the games arrived than anything existing in the games themselves. The original was victim to multiple development delays and spent years in the making, but, despite being a relatively brief experience, it was a thrilling, stylish, violent action game that was ultimately worth the wait. The sequel, on the other hand, was announced just months ago and hit store shelves on exactly the day it was supposed to. This new Max Payne, billed as "a film noir love story," was certainly worth the wait too, though this time, the wait was brief. As long as you go into it without expecting a dramatically different--or longer--gameplay experience than the original, Max Payne 2 won't disappoint. On its own merits, it's a stunning shooter that's got a bit too much plot and is over too soon, though it's still incredibly intense and, by all means, worth experiencing.The storyline unfolds in much the same fashion as the original. It uses some very slick, graphic novel-style storyboards--complete with melodramatic dialogue straight out of a pulp detective novel--and good voice-over to go with it. These graphic novel sequences are unmistakably similar to those of the first game, though they are, in some cases, even more artistic this time around. Max Payne 2 certainly isn't lacking in its presentation. Even the game's special edition DVD-style packaging is slick, and all of the game's between-level loading screens and graphic novel sequences are impressive-looking and often very cool. The plot itself features a number of twists but is rather convoluted the first go-round. Play through the game a second time (perhaps on the higher difficulty setting that's unlocked after you finish it the first time) and you'll likely get a much clearer sense of what's happening.


In general, Max Payne 2 is easier than its predecessor. Max is more durable now while enemies tend to be weaker, except for two bosses. This change gave the a game a more arcade "run and gun" feel instead of slower careful pace of the original.
Other new challenges include the protection of other characters. Most of the game is through the view of Max but some parts switch to Mona Sax.
The second game again revolves around the bullet time, but the concept is more worked out. When Max shoots his enemies, his slow motion bar becomes a pale yellow. The darker the yellow, the slower time flows, with the exception of Max, who is in "normal" slow motion.
The A.I. is improved, and enemies will team up, or stay behind a door, waiting for you to jump through. If a grenade is thrown, the enemies will run away rather than stand around and wait for it to explode. Headshots now instantly kill an enemy, making the Desert Eagle a more effective weapon. As it is, the Desert Eagle can now be dual-wielded, when previously it could not.
Max's arsenal is also expanded. Some of the weapons from the predecessor are removed as new ones are added. A secondary weapon menu is also added, giving the player the option to use a melee attack, grenades, or Molotov cocktails in addition to their firearm. In the predecessor, grenades and Molotov cocktails were primary weapons, making them more dangerous and less effective for use. However, the addition of a secondary w

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