Sunday, July 10, 2011
THEPLAYGAMER3: MAX PAYNE THE FALL OF MAX PAYNE
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by Remedy Entertainment and produced by 3D Realms. The game is a direct sequel to Max Payne and is followed by Max Payne 3. It was released by Rockstar Games for Windows on October 15, 2003, for Xbox on November 25, 2003, and for the PlayStation 2 on December 2, 2003.
In Max Payne 2, the player controls Max Payne, a detective for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and a fugitive undercover cop framed for murder in New York City at the end of Max Payne. Two years after the events of the first game, Max has cleared his name and is now an NYPD detective. He reunites with Mona Sax, who he first met in the previous game, as they set out to resolve a conspiracy of death and betrayal, finding the mysterious Inner Circle in the center of it all.
Video game critics gave Max Payne 2 generally favorable reviews. Praise focused on its action and story, while criticism targeted its short length. Despite the positive reception, the game sold poorly, leading Rockstar Games' parent company Take-Two Interactive to cite Max Payne 2's sales as a cause for the company's reforecasted finances of 2004. Max Payne 2 received several industry awards, including Outstanding Art Direction at the Golden Satellite Awards 2004, and Editors' Choice Awards from GamePro, IGN, and GameSpy.
Max Payne 2 is a third-person shooter, in which the player assumes the role of Max Payne for most of the game, but plays as Mona Sax in several levels. Initially, the player's only weapon is a 9mm pistol. As they progress, players access other weapons including handguns, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, long-range rifles, and hand-thrown weapons. To move the game along, the player is told what the next objective is through Max's internal monologue, in which Max iterates what his next steps should be.
When first played, the game only offers one difficulty level that is adjusted on the fly if the game is too difficult for the player. For example, if the player's character dies too many times, the enemies' artificial intelligence is made less effective, while more health in the form of painkillers is made available. After completing the game once, other difficulty levels are unlocked. Two special game modes are also activated: New York Minute and Dead Man Walking. In New York Minute, the player is given a score based on the time taken to complete each level. The Dead Man Walking mode places Max in one of five scenarios, in which he must survive for as long as possible while fighting off endlessly respawning enemies.
Similar to its predecessor, Max Payne 2 allows the player to enable Bullet Time, a mode that slows down time, while still allowing the player to aim in real-time, to give the player more time to determine what they want to do. In this mode, the screen's color changes to a sepia tone to act as a visual cue for the player. When in use, the Bullet Time meter will decrease until it is either empty or the player disables Bullet Time mode. The meter will eventually increase when not in use, but can be replenished more quickly by killing enemies. To simulate the Bullet Time effect, Max can also execute a shoot-dodge maneuver. When the maneuver is performed, Max jumps in a direction specified by the player, and although Bullet Time is activated while Max is in mid-air, this will not deplete the Bullet Time meter. The combat system has been improved for Max Payne 2; the player can now arm Max with a secondary weapon such as a grenade or Molotov cocktail, and when near an enemy, Max can hit them with his weapon as a melee attack. AI players occasionally come to Max's aid, although their death does not affect the gameplay or story.
Two years after the events of the first game, Max Payne has quit his job at the DEA and returned to his former job as an NYPD detective. While investigating a series of murders by a group of contract killers called the Cleaners, Max encounters Mona Sax, who was assumed dead at the end of the previous game. Wanted for the murder of Senator Gates, Mona is arrested despite Max's protests, and taken to the police station. While at the station, Max overhears his new partner, Detective Valerie Winterson, talking on the phone about Mona. Suddenly, the station is attacked by the Cleaners, who are looking for Mona. Before they reach her, Mona breaks out of her cell and vanishes into the night. After Max meets her again at her residence, where they fight off the Cleaners who followed Max to her place, they begin hunting down the people responsible for the attack. Their search leads them to a construction site, where Max and Mona defend themselves against the Cleaners. After their foes flee, Detective Winterson arrives and holds Mona at gunpoint. Mona claims that Winterson is there to kill her while Winterson claims that she is simply trying to arrest a fleeing fugitive. After several moments of consideration, Max shoots Winterson, allowing Mona to escape. Before she dies, Winterson shoots Max, leading to his hospitalization.
After Max leaves the hospital, he begins looking for answers. When Max is kidnapped by Vladimir Lem, head of the local Russian Mafia, he learns that the Cleaners work for Lem, who uses them to eliminate the competition to his businesses. Max then learns that Lem is part of the secretive Inner Circle, led by Senator Alfred Woden, who had ensured that the charges against Max were dropped at the end of the previous game. Lem plans to kill Woden and gain control of the Inner Circle. Max also learns that Mona is a hired gun for Woden, with orders to kill Lem and Max. After Lem reveals that Detective Winterson was his mistress, he shoots Max in the head, and leaves him for dead in a burning building. Mona rescues Max, and together they go to Woden's mansion to save him from Lem.
At the mansion, Mona knocks Max to the ground in an attempt to follow her orders to kill him, but discovers that her feelings for him keep her from doing so. Lem shoots Mona after realizing that she will not kill Max. Woden then appears in a wheelchair, and lunges at Lem; Woden is killed during the ensuing struggle. Max and Lem then begin to fight, until Lem triggers a bomb that he planted in the mansion. After they both drop to the floor below, Max pursues Lem through the mansion. Max faces Lem in a firefight, and eventually destabilizes the platform below Lem, causing it to fall to the floor below, killing Lem. Max returns to Mona's side as the police arrive, and she dies in his arms. If the game is completed at its highest difficulty level, Mona survives.
Take-Two Interactive issued a press release on December 5, 2001 that announced its acquisition of the Max Payne franchise from Remedy Entertainment and Apogee Software for US$10 million in cash and 970,000 shares of common stock, and its plans to release Max Payne 2. On May 22, 2002, Take-Two announced that they agreed to pay up to $8 million as incentive payments to Apogee Software and Remedy Entertainment to develop Max Payne 2. On September 3, 2003, Take-Two officially announced a release date of October 15, 2003 for the game.
Originally modeled in Max Payne after the game's writer Sam Lake, Max's appearance was remodeled after professional actor Timothy Gibbs for Max Payne 2; James McCaffrey returned as the voice of Max. The game's plot was written by Lake, who decided to write it as a film noir love story, as he felt that it suited Max's persona the best. Lake hoped that the story would break new ground, noting, "At least it's a step into the right direction. I'd like nothing better than to see new and unexpected subject matters to find their way to games and stories told in games. Lake remarked that basic, archetypal film noir elements found in many classics of the genre "can go a long way" when telling a story, and gave examples that included a hostile, crime-ridden city; a story that takes place late at night with heavy rain; and a cynical, hard-boiled detective down on his luck. Lake considered writing a sequel to Max Payne an "art of it's own". Since the setting and characters were already established, Lake decided that the primary goal of the sequel was "to keep what's good and fix what was not so good", and to take the story in surprising directions. The screenplay for the sequel ended up being three times longer than the one for Max Payne. Lake predicted that the more complex story would add to the game's replay value.
The story, sometimes told through in-game dialogue, is pushed forward with comic panels that play during cut scenes. The developers found comic panels to be more effective and less costly to use in the cut scenes than fully animated cinematics. They also noted that comic panels forced the player to interpret each panel for themselves, and "the nuances are there in the head of the reader it would be much harder to reach that level with in-game or even prerendered cinematics. The developers also found it easier to reorganize the comic panels if the plot needed to be changed while developing the game.
Max Payne 2 uses the same game engine as the one used in Max Payne, but with several significant upgrades. Even though the game only supports DirectX 8.1, the graphics in Max Payne 2 mimic those generated by DirectX 9 by making optimal use of effects such as reflection, refraction, shaders, and ghosting. The developers considered one particular scene in which effects are used well: When Max has lucid dreams, the screen appears fuzzy and out of focus. Since Max Payne, the polygon count (the number of polygons rendered per frame) has been increased, which smooths out the edges of character models. In addition, characters have a much greater range of expressions. Previously, Max had only one expression available; in Max Payne 2, he often smirks and moves his eyebrows to react to different scenarios.
The game uses the Havok physics engine, which the developers chose because it was "hands-down the best solution to our needs". They found that a dedicated physics engine was vital to create Max's combat scenes, which Max Payne was known for, "with increased realism and dramatic, movielike action". The physics engine made several situations seem more realistic. For example, when in combat, the player can take cover behind boxes; however, when enemy bullets impact the boxes, they will topple over, in which case the player will have to find another suitable object to use for cover. When an enemy is hidden behind a wall divider, the player can throw a grenade next to it to send the cover flying through the air, rendering the enemy unprotected. The Havok engine was tweaked to make weapons, bombs, and Molotov cocktails act more naturally, and the audio was updated to make them sound more realistic. The new physics engine allowed for certain actions that could not happen in Max Payne; boxes can be moved and follow the laws of gravitation, and explosion detonations make enemy bodies fall realistically.
The Bullet Time mode that Max Payne was known for was improved; the developers referred to it as "version 2.0". The mode, which allows Max to move in slow motion to kill enemies more easily, was enhanced to give Max a longer period to continue using Bullet Time when he kills enemies consecutively. This was done to encourage players to dive head-on into dangerous situations rather than crouching at a safe distance and waiting for enemies to come to them. A new reload animation was also introduced, which, when Max reloads while using Bullet Time, allows him to duck to avoid bullets, spin around to survey the combat situation, and pause to give the player time to think of a strategy. Development tools were made available for Max Payne 2 by Rockstar Games and Remedy Entertainment to allow players to create modifications for the game. Modifications can perform several functions, such as the ability to add new weapons, skills, perspectives, surroundings, and characters.
Posted by THEPLAYGAMER3 at 4:29 PM