I will warn you, the game is short, a (supposed) failing of the first that reviewers and critics were quick to jump on a few years ago. Clocking in somewhere between 10 and 20 hours divided into three acts, I finished the game in two afternoons. Id argue, though, that the game is appropriate in length, as this style of constant run, dodge, and shoot game play wouldnt hold up interest for an extended 60 hour story arc. I will ALSO warn you that the game is definitely targeting the mature gamer, as the dialogue is laced with as many screamed f-bombs as youll hear in Reservoir Dogs. Additionally, theres some in-game sex fairly stylized and not too graphic, but the audio is pretty convincing.
For those new to Max Payne, the story of the first game is compressed into a graphic-novel-style synopsis available on the front menu of the game, bringing players up to speed with why Max is so cranky and has to shoot so many people during the course of his usually disastrous work days. The game play is identical to the first, with the game played exclusively in third person and following Maxs gunfights through packs of heavily armed bad guys in a multitude of urban settings. The gunfight game play relies heavily on the bullet-time play mechanic, which has only been slightly tweaked and modified since the first game essentially, at a button press, Max can go into the zone, and do a matrix-style slow-motion bullet beat down on his surrounding enemies. Time slows down further and further as you rack up the kills in bullet time, and, in a new touch, if you happen to run your gun dry in bullet-time, you are treated to a visually spectacular Chow-Yun-Fat-style swooping pirouette of a gun reload animation, with empty magazines flying and coat spinning.
Level designs in the game are again gritty and extremely believable I think most of us are still getting over first seeing the initial subway level in the first Max Payne. The game environments in the sequel still impress, both in their technical execution (the amount of detail is stunning, down to trickles of water running from rooftop gutters) and in their choice of subject my favorite level concerned an abandoned funhouse based on a cancelled David-Lynch-esque television show. Your first visit to the funhouse involves no combat whatsoever, but just a slow, very unnerving navigation through the funhouse animatronics and ambient sound recordings. By the third act of the game when youre fighting your way through the level again (now in flames and coming down around your head), its all the more real because its an environment youve been in before at several different points in the story.
In conclusion, Max Payne 2 is a sequel in every sense. For those who liked the first in the series, it is another generous helping of the same with improvements, tweaks, and enhancements but the same core essence same characters, same voices, same musical themes, same technical gameplay elements. Also the same melodrama, the same short gameplay duration, and the same lack of gameplay variety return for a second go-around, so if you arent cool with lines like The sun went down with practiced bravado growled out in gravelly tones, Id suggest that the snicker factor might kill this game for you. (Personally, I love the heavy cheese, absolutely. I dont think it takes itself seriously and I dont take it seriously either. It is, after all, a game.) It is very short, but its good, and Id sooner drop my coin on 15 hours of game that I cant put down, than 60 hours of game that leaves my attention wandering and makes the flaws stand out more.
Hisako is hands-down one of the most "original" looking new characters ever to be introduced to the Killer Instinct franchise in both looks and gameplay, and it looks like shes bringing an old favorite along with her (check the end of the video).
Xbox One Preview members are now getting a taste of whats due to arrive for everyone in April, including the long-awaited arrival of voice messaging to the Xbox One platform (which will be cross-compatible with Xbox 360 voice messaging).
Cant speak for how good the film will be, but this is still probably one of the coolest (and genre-appropriate) film-game crossovers ever. You dont need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play, and its FREE to download until April 10th. So get it now!