Max Payne 2: The Fall Of Max Payne - recenzja gry
An admiration filled with dilemmas
Games are like a vacation. They can be like two boring months in the city, they can be like an intense week in the mountains. Max Payne 2 is a long weekend at a five star hotel in Hawaii ...
The game, which hit stores in October this year, is a continuation of the hit from two years ago. Max Payne 2001, a hot fighter in the industry. A heavy, dark story about a hard clay that fights against Evil, served with style, without infantilism and exaggeration, with an interesting plot, but above all with graphic fireworks, which forced people like me to exchange their equipment for the most powerful one. For this title. Was it worth it? For sure. Would it be worth doing it a second time now? I have my doubts.
The concept of the game has practically not changed compared to its predecessor. We direct a character seen from the third perspective, a camera from behind his back. Our task is to overcome successive stages, the main attraction of which are shootings and elimination of opponents. For starters - film scenes. Main course - plot, served in the form of a black and white comic book. Let's be honest: this dish is quite difficult to digest.
Despite the exceptional concentration during the sessions between the actions, it was hard for me to understand at the beginning who was plotting what the plot. Bad-but-still-good cop, nightmares from the past, psychedelic visions, femme fatals, mafiosos, corrupt policemen, gangs - I couldn't quite get my hands on it. I also didn't really know how much I had to rely on knowing the first part of the game. I found an epic synopsis of the predecessor in the menu, but it doesn't help much to understand the current situation. Or maybe I was already too much alive with another vision of meeting with delicacies that await at various stages of the game?
The plot aside for a moment. What is the flagship in the fleet of compliments flowing to Max Payne "one" is of course graphics. The two are not lagging behind. This production cannot be viewed only in the context of entertainment. It's an art, it's a whole palette of computer-related experiences, presented on two CDs. It's a presentation of what can be done today on the screen and in speakers. A pioneer in its genre. Great, unique levels to beat. Locations where a professional architect had to dive into production. Character animations created with a whole group of actors. Dozens of voices, dozens of individual faces, scanned from living people.
And a gem in the crown of oohs and ahs: Bullet Time Mode. Released game mode, turned on and off by the player. In addition, a series of accompanying jumps and tricks, taking MP2 shootings into another dimension. A revelation without a doubt. And a few new things: we can stay on the ground lying next to the fire; turn on Bullet Time outside of combat moments and increase its duration with accurate shots; The reloading of weapons in this mode is also spectacular. All in all: no revolution, but there are some pluses and new curiosities.
Havoc (in version 2.0) is definitely in the foreground - an engine mapping the physics of inanimate objects. Chairs, buckets, tables, cardboard boxes - all this can be knocked over, pushed or blown up, then watching with delight how dynamically and naturally they fall apart around us. In some places, the programmers left the effects of their work almost by force - a pile of cardboard boxes on the edge of the stairs or a ball play room on a balance beam that begs for a moment of attention.
Living things (at least until now) were also begotten without reservation. Good animation, good modeling (especially Mona's character), good face movement - although those in the Mafia appealed more to me. Max Payne himself became more or less serious than the game itself. Fortunately, instead of a leather jacket and a medallion, the jacket and tie are now crumpled. A gray and tired face to match. Max has aged, less vigor and sharp language, more reflections and philosophical truths presented in a grave atmosphere.
It's hard to find a squinted eye or a pinch of black humor here. There's no need to beat around the bush: it's a 100% adult game. Difficult, intricate plot, heavy, serious climate, moral dilemmas. If someone would recommend computer games to you as a good remedy for fall depression, they would do a good deed towards your neighbor. On one condition - that this game will not be MP2 ... I would not be surprised if someone who is skilled in the search for inspiration for the game has a sharp paranoia.
What, however, certainly makes the game more pleasant and at least brings a smile for a moment are the scenes woven into the game itself, dialogues of third parties and behaviors that we partially influence. If we cover the TV set to the policemen at the police station, they will complain and chase us out of sight. A homeless man in an abandoned shack is not making such a mess anymore. So you can stop in the action from time to time and watch the current TV program or adverts for adult films. Or a chat with a law-abiding old lady. There are some such gadgets and I think that is a big plus of this game. And it's time for the Grand Prix in the "climate" category: Max's dream visions. Visions interspersed with the game. A psychedelic atmosphere, an image that fades with every mouse movement - you have to go through it yourself. Everything with an excellent, spatial system of reproducing the sounds of the game environment and the music, the main theme of which we know from the first part - works perfectly.
So what is cooling my enthusiasm a bit this time? Probably gameplay. In short: Max Payne, the New York cop is in trouble. A chase for the Bad Rogue begins, a whole crowd of thugs stands in his way, mainly with counter-arguments in the form of firearms. We also have a small arsenal at our disposal, besides no unnecessary items. The artificial intelligence of the opponents certainly inflates the average in the industry today, but I would not describe the game as extremely difficult. The more that we have no obligation to refine the level transition to perfection. We save the game when we want and I think that's a serious downside. But ... Most of them will probably make the game easier and won't appreciate all its charm.
It's hard to crash in the game. We walk forward as if on a string. From time to time something needs to be turned off, opened or turned. As a sweetness, the option of flashback and playing the same fragment of the story as Mona - Max's companion in the game. That's it. No combinations or alternatives. No items or character characteristics. Yes, there are more, more difficult versions of the game after the game is over, but who likes reheated chops? I do not. Detriment. You could let Max on the leash a little. Like, for example, JC Danton.
But well. These are game concepts. Or actually - I dare to use the term: computer playable movie. MP2 is dangerously close to the border of two plays - a computer animated film and an action game. We have more and more story inserts, more and more stories, more and more patents in the game, which mean that instead of going further, we stop to see something or hear something until the end. And at the same time, less and less combining, puzzles, shootings requiring precise aiming. This was the first Max, this was the Mafia, Vice City or partly NOLF. Productions that crushed with style and which - even if they did not like them - should not be criticized without good arguments in hand.
And finally, a touchy issue known from the first part: game time. The MP2 is similarly short as the original. The game can be completed in a few or a dozen or so hours. But the developers do it on purpose in a way. First: nothing good can last too long. Second: Max Payne is entertainment of a different kind. Here, you should appreciate the artistry, commitment and attention to detail and the end result. It's like caviar on a pork chop. If you are a gamer that plays games like Don Juan, ladies - skip it. This is a game for those who like to enjoy graphics, animation, effects, light and sound. For those who feel the atmosphere of the game with every sense.
Is MP2 a breakthrough game? For those who did not play "one" - for sure. The game will show them a new dimension. On the other hand, those who tortured the previous part will certainly look at the production with a favorable eye, but still some hunger will remain. When I compare the progression between GTA3 and Vice City, this is the breakthrough for me. When I look at the older and younger Payne brothers, I don't see it. And it's the same developer. The game code and mods created by fans will be released quickly. My prediction: MP2 will be known to most, but it won't be loud.
To sum up: Without a doubt, for me, next to GTA Vice City, a contender for the title of "Action Game of the Year 2003". A must for those new to Max Payne. Is it worth recommending a second meeting with Max to the rest? And can you deny yourself a Ferrari ride? Probably not. It's just that the adrenaline is not the same anymore. It's very good, but it could have been better!