There’s a saying that sequels kill the real image of a game. They are often too modified and takes the feeling of the original away. There are very few sequels that have actually arrived with the exact prototypes, and at the same time improve everything of the original game. Max Payne 2 was one of those games. Max Payne original was build one a very solid foundation with a great cinematic ‘comic book style’ story line and a hardcore first-person shooter. It was the first game that introduced slowed-down "bullet time" - which you'd seen on The Matrix movie. The original game was a much-loved gamed but it was still criticized for being very short and has hard as the game progresses.
All these criticisms were taken into account before making Max Payne 2 and the game did improve lots of its flaws. Good numbers of improvements were added to the game including the physics engine, which I think was a great addition to any game. The engine made the game superior in many ways. Although when you trigger the full bullet time, it only lasts for a limited period, illustrated using an egg-timer. You can generate bullet-time credit by killing the bad guys, and there is no shortage of those.
Max Payne 2 wasn’t a short game like the original one but there wasn’t any huge difference. Few twist and turns surely make the gameplay large but the role of Max was almost the same as the first one. You can save the game at any point you want and heal Max with painkillers when he is in low health. At some stages of the game, you get to play as Max girl-friend(!); who is a female assassin called Mona Sax. She plays a big part in the story line and mostly helps expanding the game. In a first-person shooter, you usually run, kill and then run again. Sometime you are trapped and pray to be at the end of the other end of the stage and take all the bad guys down. This is where Mona helps not making the game repetitive. With max trapped around bad buys, play it as Mona and provide sniper cover.
It's not too many times that you can play as Mona though. As Max being an emotional character and makes mistakes with his judgment throughout the game, the story lets you play as Mona to rescue him from situations he can't pull through himself. Even when covering with sniper or rescuing Max, Mona gets into action running from point to point finding proper corner. Mona can't take too many bullets like Max, so in this case you need to make sure of preserving the painkillers, when it's needed the most.
The graphics of Max Payne is excellent compared to the time it was published. A polished environment and the character designs were suitable with the game too. One of the best parts of this game is the dream sequences. The visual effects of the dream sequences added an extra appeal which the usual first-person shooters don’t come along in general. The music quality was well matched too. Even though sometime the music is a bit gloomy and repeated, you never feel bored listening to it. It would’ve been impossible to make this game such bit hit without its fine music throughout the game. The voice of all the character specially Max is another attraction of this game. Unless you experience it by yourself, I can hardly describe how perfectly his voice has suited the game. Frustrated, angry, anxious and hungry for revenge. You get all these expressions in one man’s voice.
With great storyline, all new physics engine, remarkable graphics and music with dream sequences, make Max Payne 2 a very good game and a must buy for all the FPS lovers.