4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Sheer beauty - clever and intense, like a Chris Nolan film,
This review is from: Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PC CD) (Video Game)
Max Payne was an original game, a 3rd person shooter with slow motion bullet time, setting the trend for many action games. Although the bullet time was unique, in my opinion, its the story and characters that makes Max Payne so good. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a bigger and better version than its predecessor. Although it's much of the same - run round shooting bad guys - this is not just an action game. It's based around characters, raw emotions, love, loss and its thrilling storyline, which, as the front cover describes is "Film Noir" and this is not an overstatement. Action and shooting proves to be merely the backdrop and setting for this deep and intense game.
The first game revolving around Max avenging the murder of his wife and child, the second one, though linked, ties the story of the first up. The end of the first game left the storyline open. I do suggest though, even though it is not essential, you play the first Max Payne to get a gist of the storyline. Basically, Max is accepted back into the police force and meets with an old friend he believed to be dead and together, in two nights, they go to investigate a mysterious group of contract killers. However, not everything is as it seems.
The way that Max Payne is presented is by telling the story through a dark, gritty graphic novel voiced over by the melancholy voice of Max. The missions, though of the same structure, are beautiful and range from restaurant shootouts, to police stations, to exploding buildings, to medieval manors, to mob war torn neighbourhoods . . . there's even an L.A Confidential stlye shootout - the list goes on. The environments are beautiful and totally realistic, as you can actitivate TVs, coffee machines and knock almost anything over. You'll play as Max Payne himself, but also his femme fatale lover, Mona Sax, seeing things from her point of view which is a nice variation to the game.
The action in Max Payne, though it gets slightly tedious after a while, is extrmely satisfying and entertaining - also very realistic, though you would not believe it. Your characters take mutal damage to die as the NPCs themselves so you really have to rely on your wits and yup, you guessed it, Bullet time 2.0. It's been upgraded and is more essential to gameplay - Max Payne could be played almost without bullet time, only not at extremely difficult parts. The game doesn't take that long to complete, about 2 days if you're dedicated, but is highly replayable in different modes and does not get boring as the first one does once you've completed it.
This game, in many ways, is like a Christopher Nolan (not John Woo despite slow-mo) film and is quite simply a work of art. Though it's very similar to the original, it gets away with it because it builds on it to make a brilliant game.
Gaming at its best.