Go back to Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Written by: Rik

Date posted: November 19, 2008

Great as the graphics were last time around, we did point out a few shortcomings, particularly with Max himself, who we accused of looking “constipated” and “a bit like Johnny Knoxville” (I’m not sure which is worse).

This was partly down to the absence of facial animations, which meant that a static picture represented Max’s in-game expression for the duration. As we’ve already pointed out in the main review, this has now been fixed so that Max is, on the whole, looking more comfortable with life (and his digestive system).

To their credit, Remedy demonstrate their sense of humour by parodying this (and other elements) of the original game through a couple of in-game TV series that can be viewed on the various sets dotted throughout Max Payne 2. In cop show Dick Justice, the titular character makes reference to the “permanent, constipated grimace” on his face, while Address Unknown pokes fun at Max’s grumbling monologues and the noirish elements of both games.

Eagle-eyed gamers will notice that the star of both the above fake TV shows looks an awful lot like Max did in the first game, and that’s because he’s played by the same guy, namely Sam Lake, who is actually the writer of both games. Due to budget constraints Remedy couldn’t afford to hire actors for Max Payne, so instead cast themselves, friends and relatives in the game instead. For the sequel, professional actors were hired, with an older, bulkier bloke being used as the model for Max instead of Lake.

It’s slightly odd to see someone different in the role, but given that Max’s gravelly delivery was a key component of the first game, it’s perhaps more important to note that the services of the original voice actor, James McCaffrey, have been retained this time around.