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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
PlayStation 2
PUBLISHER:
Rockstar Games
DEVELOPER:
Remedy
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1
RELEASE DATE:
November 25, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Mature
IN THE SERIES
Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3

Max Payne

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

More in this Series
 Written by Adam Woolcott  on October 07, 2003

First Impressions: What's this, spoiling the game within the subtitle? Is there no shame?


The original Max Payne was, without much debate, a hugely successful console release. With Rockstar riding high on the immense praise and huge sales from Grand Theft Auto 3, Max's PS2 outing was a top seller and currently resides as a PlayStation 2 Greatest Hit. It was never out of the question that developer Remedy Entertainment would waste little time in ushering in a sequel to the action hit. 2 years removed from the original, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is nearly here. While the PC version will be out in a matter of weeks, the PS2 conversion is not far behind, with a December release ? same as the original, which shipped in early December of 2001. Remedy and Rockstar have set up MP2 to be everything a sequel needs to be ? more action, more baddies, more fleshed out stories, and of course, more stuff for Max to blow up and wander around constipated at the same time. Given the quality and strong sales of the original, Max Payne 2 is nearly assured a spot as one of the PS2's top titles of a busy holiday season.

At the end of the original Max Payne (which also was the beginning, as the game is a flashback in motion), Max was arrested for murder (of, say, 30 billion mob thugs and other various seedy and shady personalities) and hauled off to face a certain doom. However, thanks to your mastermind pal Alfred Woden (the guy on the phone who knew more about things than perhaps you'd like him to know), you're cleared of all possible charges and even allowed back into the DEA. However, Max decides against remaining in the DEA and goes back to the NYPD as a detective, hunting the mob. Max is older (he has aged incredibly in just a few years), wiser, and has also been watching The Matrix a lot, it appears. Through the events of the game, Max will encounter a situation similar to the one that hampered him in the first game, meaning Max will once again get to hold lots of powerful weapons and turn bad guys into the latest blend for the Bitchin' Dog Food Factory.

However, there's a major snag in the works ? a love interest. Rockstar and Remedy have been touting Max Payne 2 as a love story ? while it isn't going to be some weird-ass dating simulation or anything (this IS Rockstar, after all), Max will end up with a romantic interest in the suspicious Mona Sax, who's been on the bad side of Max's handcuffs a couple of times (take a guess as to what the good side of the handcuffs are), yet he can't help but be smitten by her. This adds an interesting wrinkle to the game, one that will surely be interesting to watch when it plays out on your PlayStation 2. As always, the game will be told through the graphic novel-esque cutscenes of the original, no doubt littered with more melodrama than humanly possible. The original voice actor for Max will also be returning, so the narration will be just as good (?) as it was the first time around.

For the most part, Max Payne 2 will play very much like the original ? as if you expected any different. Max does have some cool new moves though, such as the Matrix-ish running up of walls when using bullet time. Bullet time should probably be emphasized even more than before ? it was possible to play the original with little use of the touted feature. However, it will be more than just mindless action ? as a detective, Max can go undercover and pull some major stunts while doing it, which you'll be able to control when playing the game. While the main formula should remain the same, there's enough new stuff in MP2 that it won't feel like a rehash ? instead refinement.

The biggest improvement though should be the graphics. While the PS2 version of the original struggled to keep up with the Xbox and PC versions, Remedy is hard at work to build the game to take advantage of the PS2 ? something the original Max did not truly do. It won't be a mere port (as PC ports tend to struggle visually on PS2), which is always a good thing. If everything works out, it should be able to implement many of the PC features, such as Max having more than one expression through the whole game ? no more asking Max if he'd like some Metamucil to help him go take a crap. Now, Max (and other characters) will have moving faces and even moving lips when they talk, for added realism and further defining the character of Max Payne. Along with the other tricks of the Havok physics engine, Max Payne 2 should ? should ? be a fine looking PlayStation 2 game, despite the slowly aging hardware.

Final Thoughts
Max Payne was one of the better PS2 games of late 2001, overshadowed by a stunning fall that had some of the best games on the console released. This time, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne should receive even more attention, as the release of the game nears. It perhaps won't be as perfect of a PC conversion as the Xbox version will be (which to be honest shouldn't even be a debate anymore, these are pretty hard facts), but if you own just a PS2, there's no reason to pass on this sequel because of it. As solid a game as Max Payne was the first time around, Max Payne 2 should be a smashing hit for the holiday season, and yet another winner for Rockstar Games and Remedy.


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