I tried to play Tomb Raider 2 and get deep into the game but still not enough to spend sleepless nights to finish it. I tried Halo and it's not bad but still I am really playing it slowly with the hope I'll finish it. I tried Chaser but this chap was also too complicated for me and graphics were not nearly as good as Nvidia and ATI claimed when it was under development.
Star trek Elite Force 2 was one bright example of nice game I must admit but still I haven't finished that either.
Less then two weeks ago I got my hands on Max Payne 2 - a sequel of the game that brought us bullet time camera and other fancy cinema like effects. I installed it and wanted to see whether the game would keep me up until I finished it.
My girlfriend is not very happy.
Even though the game is DirectX 8.1 only, it looks just as we imagine a full DirectX 9 game might, with reflection, refraction, some shaders, ghosting effects. These effects become noticeable when Max has his weird dreams and many other cool looking things [He sleeps and doesn't play Fudo Graphics III then? Ed.]
The polygon count on characters definitely means one step already seen in games such as Halo where the characters are not so edgy as they used to be. Max Payne and his criminal diva Mona sure lookextraordinary and even many of terrorists and other hostile neighbours look bizarre.
As you know, I know about wars. For weapons, bombs, and Molotolov cocktails I have to say this is very realistically programmed and they sound, look and feel like the real ones that I saw not so many years ago.
The Finnish Remedy developer team have made an incredible physics engine where the boxes can be moved by laws of gravitation and detonation of explosions will make your enemy body fall realistically.
As for the bullet time camera, you get an incredible adrenaline wave of slow motion flying in your enemy's face.
It's even better when you grab a sniper since you arrive into your enemy's body - through the eye of the bullet. What was he or she thinking of when she or he decided to become a sniper for a living?
Rockstar has packed it all up in an eye catching package.
Of course, it could be even better but this is the best looking game with extraordinary playability and post processing effects. As for the storyline, I advise you just to play this game, it will just push you to go for one more level even if it's two in the morning, and despite the neighbours knocking on the walls.
It's very interesting to point that I played the game on both my laptop powered with 1.6 P4M as Mega energy spender, with lowest level of the Geforce 4 GO 420. The game was playable at 800x600 but some effects were obviously missing and it just didn't feel that good. But I was impressed that it even worked. Using a Sapphire Ultimate Radeon 9800 PRO the death of snipers went very smoothly, but then the card costs almost 600, and here in Europe you can contract kill people in reality for less, we understand.
Max Payne is missing multiplaying and it's a shame the great story hasn't an immediate sequel. Perhaps the lads and lasses at Remedy will give us a mission pack pro tem.
With the help of Markus Maki, the lead developer of the game I have made a custom INQUIRER benchmark based on it that shows real DirectX 9 game in action on your card and that you'll see in my next review. µ