Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
In the hallmark of a decent sequel, Max Payne 2 continues the story of a betrayed police detective.
Max seems to have gotten over his wife and daughter, and is going after the mobs that are making his life a living hell. Like the first game, the game takes place in New York City, but does not take place in a blizzard. Instead, it's raining the entire time, in true film-noir style.
Dialog continues to be well-written, with gritty descriptions, and the comic cutscenes remain. But on the whole, the story seems is a bit dull. There are no government conspiracies, nor gripping murder tales. You're just going after mobsters.
Gameplay is identical to the first. Max has a bullet time ability, and heals by taking pain pills. Pistols and the smallest SMG (Ingram) can be dual-weilded. Enemies also carry a large amount of assault rifles, unlike in the first game.
You sometimes play as another character, as was the style of sequels at the time. Mona Sax, who Max met in the last game, is apparently his girlfriend. They tag-team on a few missions, and you will play as her occasionally.
Graphics are somewhat improved. Models are less blocky and smeary, but are still unrecognizably old. The animations are sometimes weird, and controls are completely robotic. When reloading in bullet time, the camera swoops around Max as he swings the full mag into the gun. I couldn't help but notice that Max looked different in the first game.
In the end, Max Payne 2 is more of the same. Story-wise, it feels like an expansion, and gameplay is otherwise the same.
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 10:34 AM EDT under Gaming. 0 complaints.
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Max Payne is a Remedy game, released about 10 years before Alan Wake. By playing this, I can better understand how Remedy thinks and designs their games, as I can draw lines between them. (Except Death Rally, because that was made with a very different design philosophy.) Both are all designed around people with metaphorical names. "A. Wake" deals with nightmares, and Max Payne has a lot of pain.
Halo 3: ODST
If you haven't noticed by now, I'm going through the Halo Collection by order of original release, not by order of story. This installment follows the stories of a team of drop troops during Halo 2 and 3. Halo 3: ODST largely slipped by me unnoticed when it first came out 10 years ago. I don't recall any of my friends getting psyched out by it. The hype machine was more restrained.
I remember back in the day when the 360 was big. For members of the PC Gaming Master Race, it felt like we were being shunned. It seemed like everyone had a 360, and soon their moms and grandmas would too, alongside their Wiis. So few products were pushed to such stratospheric levels of hype, that you could barely get out of bed without hearing about them. The few in my lifetime: Segway, iPhone, iPad, and atop this particular pile, Halo 3. It was so big that Pure Pwnage got in on the hype. LoadingReadyRun made such a surreal video about Halo 3 that I instantly became a fan. I'm positive that similarly sized gaming hype trains have come and gone since, but I can't recall any that topped Halo 3. (My preorder warning might have accidentally had some.) Since Pi-hole, browser addons, and not watching TV have made me immune to most ads, maybe I'm too blind to notice.
I wasn't a properly initiated hard-core gamer back when Half-Life 2 came out. My only connection to the series was "oh, that one weird box on the store shelf." After going to that one college, I realized that I needed a radical change in how I evaluated choices. I couldn't be a dumb kid that coasted through life on whatever life gave me. I started by disregarding my friend's advice that Half-Life 2 was a bad game, or at least so much that I avoided it, so I bought it and started playing.
Halo 2's single player campaign is criticized for being short, and ending on a cliffhanger. I agree, because I was able to finish it in 3 days. Compare it to the original Portal: it says what it needs to (and more if you're observant), and doesn't overstay its welcome. Before I shot a gun, I practically had an encyclopedic knowledge about the Covenant compared to the first game.
Halo: Combat Evolved
Two days after dissecting Borderlands 3, the time had come. In all my life, I had played a grand total of about 5 minutes of the entire Halo series (in Halo 3, probably). After making a threat to buy it over 5 years ago, Halo: The Master Chief Collection has come to Steam, which I bought in the last sale. Selecting it in Steam, I hesitated clicking the play button as I contemplated the gravity of the situation. Although Halo was on PC shortly from the start, the series became something different in my eyes, as it became an Xbox icon. As a member of the PC Master Race, I see Master Chief as a horseman of the PC gaming apocalypse. Even after a generation, the Halo scar is still tender. But Halo isn't what it used to be, and from all accounts, is coming back to PC. All of it. Still, it felt like I was about to betray my values and violate something deeply sacred. I gulped and clicked.