Get ready to re-enter the dark world of Max Payne, a cop out for revenge, nothing to lose, little care in the world, and very welcome to show it.
The game is told from Max’s dark, slightly twisted view of the world, for example when Max is faced with a moment of shock he mentions to the tune of how “I feel like Wile E Coyote, at the moment where we runs off the cliff, after missing Road Runner, you feels around, underneath him, nothing there, looks down, to see the vast emptiness below, then holds the sign up ‘Ouch’.
Cut scenes are portrayed as a comic style and narrated by Max himself, but over all the game is a little hard to follow. The plot has its fair share of twists, turns and betrayals. If you didn’t play the first Max Payne there is an option to recap his past adventure.
The first levels starts you off at a hospital, and film style you are introduced to the anti hero Max Payne, an undercover cop with a troubled past, his wife and baby child was murdered by druggies, and has been killing goons since. His ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ approach has given him a reputation and a half at the precinct he works. This is where you pick up the simple controls and its fun all the way. This game has no bosses, just lots of bad guys to kill; it’s a great way to relive any stress after a hard days work.
Apart from the usual actions you would expect, you have the option of ‘bullet time’ either when you dive, or you have the option to switch to it whenever you feel like it. It’s Max Payne’s sixth sense, where time slows for all but him, bullets whiz past you, and you aim with the speed of a hawk… thugs beware! There is a cool animation when you reload in bullet time mode, as you spin, jacket flying and you insert the clips in an instant.
The game carries on in a warehouse where you discover the cleaners are taking out more than the trash. Soon you find your self in enemy territory, most of this game is played inside buildings, offices etc, no forests or open plan areas here, its close combat all the way. One clever level sees you wandering around a disused amazement park “Address Unknown” poorly made wooden thugs jump out at you, fake blood oozes from the walls, mirrors play tricks on you… this is all before the thugs arrive. The weapons come in all shapes and sizes from your humble pistols (or two) to Uzi’s, sub machine guns, sniper rifles, AK47’s grenades, and Molotov cocktails… a good range and the right amount of ammo to make sure the game isn’t to hard or two easy either.
This game utilises Rag Doll Physics, which means than enemies react when you shoot them quiet realistically, shoot them in the legs and they fall over, lay a grenade next to them and watch them fly, arms flailing. Plus almost anything can be interacted with, can machines can be shot, TV’s can be turned on, or shot, windows blown out, tables, chairs kicked over, the lot. (There is even a room hidden away with a few paint cans stack and a ‘bowling’ ball ready for you to knock into them) Some levels can the odd explosive barrel too, much much fun.
The game itself is a little hard to follow and you can get lost easily; there are no arrows, no markers, and no map. It adds to the realism but sometimes it grates. At times the once locked door is now open, of course before, it was just a locked door, so no need to remember where it was…until now. At the end of the first level Max explains “the story is actually a little deeper than this” and the next few levels are set before the hospital. Once or twice you take control over another character, Mona Sax, it all plays the same as Max, but you have to save and cover him from enemy fire, and this bit had me stuck for a while because you have to dart from different floors and sides, and it’s hard to navigate.
The game has a quick save option so before a huge fire fight you can just take a few seconds out to back your game up. If you REALLY worried playing this game you can save it every few minutes, but that’s no fun. What is fun though is saving it before you enter an old ladies flat, and killing her in a number of funny ways, grenade? Shotgun? anyone?
Max Payne 2 is a very linear game, no stealth, just run in bullets spraying, and walk away alive. Dodge, shoot just don’t think. I keep coming back to this game every so often just to kill a few criminals and feel good…