"Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is a third-person shooter video game developed by the Finnish 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 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, sub-machine 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 to grant 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. The game includes a rudimentary co-op system that occasionally gives Max allies to back him up when in difficult situations."
Source: Wikipedia, "Max_Payne_2," available under the CC-BY-SA License.