Metascore
84

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. An action-packed work of brilliance that fans of the action/crime genre will simply love to sink their teeth into. The story is truly a mesmerizing one and the action sequences will keep you on your toes.
  2. More an experience than game, a cinematic feat that really lives up to the idea of putting a gamer in a story and making them care what happens.
  3. Set in a dripping New York backdrop that would make Hollywood cinematographers drool with envy, this is an enthralling sequel.
  4. Not only has the bullet-time system been refined, the audio-visual presentation is flawless and the additional of a second playable character and tightly integrated story makes this one of the best action games of the year.
  5. A brand new story that will keep you totally engrossed. Updated graphics and the same great gameplay with brand new Bullet Time effects.
  6. A damn good game that takes all the best parts of the original and makes them better. If you're looking for a great action shooter that has a finely crafted and delivered story, then look no further.
  7. Overwroght melodrama and third-person-persepctive gunplay make for an excellent mix. [Mar 2004, p.81]
  8. 90
    The visuals are excellent, the voice work is superior to what we usually get dealt in the action genre, and I only wish the game was a bit longer. A lot longer actually, but it's more because this kind of game is such a rare find than because that find is relatively meager.
  9. While it may be shorter the action is non-stop and certainly no cakewalk. It is a great sequel despite the new bullet time changes. Fans of the first one will enjoy this one.
  10. 90
    One of the coolest things about this game is the fact that it doesn't take itself very seriously. The sense of humor manifests in a bunch of ways, not the least of which are the whacked-out in-game TV shows that play out in parallel to the game's own story.
  11. It achieved something that is very rare in gaming: well-developed and believable characters. That, in itself, is no mean feat, but mix it with the game's delightful combat, varied design, and admirable coherence of style and creative vision, and you have something very special.
  12. A prettier, better-playing sequel that fails to make any new gameplay strides but is an incredible thrill ride for the all-too-short time it lasts. [Jan 2004, p.68]
  13. A brilliant piece of work. Everything needed to create a believable world is there: A fantastically told story with plenty of plot twists, memorable characters, memorable moments, and a fluid pace.
  14. Short, short, short. The game can be completed in less than 10 hours and there is little reason to play through again even with the additional gameplay modes. There are a few tough levels, but overall Max Payne 2 isn’t too difficult.
  15. This port admirably recreates the experience on the Xbox. [Feb 2004, p.106]
  16. 87
    A “play-it-safe” sequel.
  17. It was like any good action movie sequel in that it served up more of the same, brought back the familiar characters and faces in some new situations, and it let us carry on as though the first game never left off.
  18. 85
    Despite its relentlessly "noir" (French for "melodramatic," I guess) storyline, Max Payne 2 does an even better job of pulling players into the game than even its predecessor -- and that's saying something. The graphics, in fact, do a lot more to push the game's gritty atmosphere than the story.
  19. A fantastic game that falls short of perfection because of its length. Great story, action, graphics, and sound make this a game to remember, but coming in at less than 7 hours of gameplay really hurts the value.
  20. The Xbox version of Max Payne 2 cannot profess to be as sharp as the PC version, thanks to control differences between the two setups.
  21. 85
    It quite simply didn’t surpass the original in the place it should have: length.
  22. A stunning shooter that's got a bit too much plot and is over too soon, though it's still incredibly intense and, by all means, worth experiencing.
  23. Refines the original – layers some extra flash but at its core, remains very much the same as the original.
  24. A lot of fun if you can get past those frequent audio glitches, and a PC-friendly control scheme. Considering how many movement options the PC has, the developers did an admirable job in creating a comfortable control scheme.
  25. For the most part, MP2 is a gorgeous game that does its M rating proud. [Jan 2004, p.66]
  26. Far more satisfying than its predecessor. In fact, it's one of the most satisfying story-driven shooters you can play right now, as well as the latest success in the drive to make games as deep and engaging as movies. [Feb 2004, p.102]
  27. As for its translation to Xbox, it's a revelation. Not only is it as visually faithful as anyone could reasonably expect, with no discernible compromises save for the resolution, but even the controls feel right.
  28. On the first run through, chances are you'll encounter the end credits in a mere six, possibly seven, hours. Fortunately however, this shortlived interlude will be one of the most enjoyable of your gaming life.
  29. Fans of all things noir will eat up this one with a sizeable gaming spoon, and anyone who loves a serving of violence with a side order of dirty words will also take plenty away from Max Payne 2.
  30. 80
    The first game’s take on noir was fresh and powerful; the sequel has the same haunted spirit with less surprise value. While Max Payne’s rain-soaked world is a weary one, it’s also undeniably compelling.
  31. An intense cinematic masterpiece that's good to the last bullet.
  32. This is sexy violence: shot-up bodies stiffen and reel, tumbling down stairs, blood spurting. As you enter slow-motion "bullet time," hordes of attackers twist and fall in an orgy-like spectacle.
  33. A gritty, stylish noir sequel built to please the first game's many trigger-happy fans. [Feb 2004, p.86]
  34. Is this the most violent game of all time? Maybe. Its ragdoll physics may not match the flying limbs and broken faces of Soldier of Fortune, but its throwaway approach to life and death is genuinely shocking, leaving a bitter, metallic aftertaste. This is neither a fall nor an ascension. This is an update. [Jan 2004, p.105]

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