Anthony's Film Review

Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
(Video Game, 2003)

The second Max Payne game is a lot like the first game, with the same breathtaking excitement...

After the phenomenal success of Remedy Entertainment's Max Payne in 2001, it's no surprise that fans would welcome a sequel. That's the way it is when a game wows so many players, no different from great movies being followed by sequels. After all, what could be cooler than playing the role of a hard-boiled detective involved in a lot of dangerous gunfights? And how can you go wrong with the Shoot-Dodge (diving in one direction while shooting in mid-air) and Bullet Time (everything going into slow motion except Max's movements)? Those two trademarks are what make Max Payne a unique action game. Otherwise, it would be a more ordinary third-person shooter game, though still a good one.

When it comes to video game sequels, they usually try to find ways to make themselves better than the previous game. It often involves a combination of better graphics and new gameplay features. Surprisingly, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a game sequel that looks and feels almost entirely like the first game. The graphics are the same but just as great. The only real difference is that a different male model was used for Max's appearance, even though the same voice actor returns here. In addition, the movements you perform when playing the role of Max are the same. The only notable difference here is that Bullet Time involves Max moving faster than everything else, unlike the first game where only the movements in aiming a firearm are relatively faster. So if you love the first game, expect the second game to be just as fun because it's virtually the same game. Therefore, I'm going to just talk about the story from this point on.

Following the events of the previous game, Max Payne is back as a New York police detective. In the beginning, he encounters a group of criminals known as the Cleaners, who, interestingly enough, are dressed in janitor jumpsuits while doing their illicit work. From there, the plot thickens as Mona Sax, an assassin from the first game, enters the picture. This character is simultaneously a tough heroine, an unfortunate victim, and possibly a femme fatale. Mona is a target for hitmen, though she is tough enough to fight back, while Max is in love with her and willing to protect her, even if she is a fugitive. Then there is a turning point where Max Payne, in doing what he thinks is right, becomes a fugitive himself.

The story definitely gets dark and twisted in the second half. This is where the line between friend and foe is crossed by some characters. In other words, a supporting character who was an ally in the first game might become an enemy. The same goes for a villainous character from the first Max Payne game who finds himself on the same side as Max. As with any noir story, expect to see startling revelations, a complex web of intrigue, and, most importantly, a cynical protagonist struggling to wrap his head around everything that is happening around him.

Max Payne 2, like the first Max Payne game, is very satisfying. The combination of an awesome game experience and a gripping story makes it all worthwhile. There's one more thing from this game I love that is definitely worth mentioning: the end credits song "Late Goodbye" performed by the Finnish rock band Poets of the Fall. It's an emotional piece that ties in nicely with the inner pain that Max must be experiencing, not to mention the love he has for Mona. After you finish the game and listen to this song, you can't help but smile. The development team did an amazing job with this game. Makes me wonder what I'll see in Max Payne 3.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, visit the Internet Movie Database and Moby Games.


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