Max Payne 2 : The Fall of Max Payne

Review

posted 10/27/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
A major addition to the engine that greatly enhances the way the world and characters interact is the Havok physics engine. If you saw the E3 presentation of Half-Life 2 and how physics in every object make the world much more realistic, you’ll be able to experience the cool effects in the world of Max Payne 2. Objects and bodies react to other objects and bodies with impressive effects. One example of this is on one of the levels there are some painkillers that are high up out of reach on top of some boxes. Taking out a gun, I took aim and shot at the boxes. Each bullet caused the boxes to move until the stack finally tumbled in realistic fashion, reacting to other objects on the way down. Once the stack fell, I now could pick up the much needed painkillers. Some of the greatest moments in the game involve going into bullet time, unleashing a barrage of bullets at the enemy, and seeing him flip over a stack of barrels behind him. You’ll get into more than a few instances where you’ll want to turn on bullet time and witness the impressive physics display of a body being sent backwards in slow motion over objects as you unload on them. During a shoot out with a camping bad guy, I saw a toolbox through my gun sights that was blocking the person’s head. With a well placed bullet, I knocked the toolbox off revealing a nice clear view of the enemy’s head in which I promptly placed a nice single bullet for the kill. The Havok physics engine really helps make the world come alive with realistic object interactions.

Level design is top notch in the game offering some well rendered real life environments. The one level that I think that really shines out is the Funhouse. Walking through the Funhouse, you’re treated with various sites and sounds of a real funhouse that are impressively mimicked in the game. The rotating stars room actually made me a little motion sick. All the other levels in the game feature very realistically modeled locations. There are plenty of objects to interact with and plenty of areas where you’ll witness the Havok physics engine in action. From buildings to the streets, Remedy did a tremendous job at providing fun, realistic environments to wreck havoc in.

The levels wouldn’t be impressive if it weren’t for the texture quality. And make no mistake about it, Max Payne 2 has some very realistic textures that make the game look great. From the incredibly detailed brick wall textures to character maps, all the graphics are clean and crisp giving you a very beautiful picture.

If you were frustrated with the dream sequence or the exploding level from the first game, well they’re back in Max Payne 2. Thankfully, this time around they are a lot less frustrating. The dream sequences are done a lot better and the wavy graphical effect that is prominent in the level makes it very stylish. There are no blood trails to follow this time around and no dying from falling short of a jump. The exploding levels, yes there are more than one, are also a lot less frustrating and I found myself only needing one or two restarts to get though them. I was very impressed with the flame effects in those exploding levels and their some of the best recreation of fire I’ve ever seen in a PC game.
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