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Old 12-01-2003, 02:47 AM   #391
Icarus4578
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Love stinks

Max Payne 2 ~ The Fall of Max Payne - X-Box - Rating 5
Bullet Time is back! ...and so is the brooding, gloomy protagonist at odds with himself and everything else around him. Max is back on the job with the NYPD and runs into a face he never thought he'd see again - Mona Sax, whom Max thought was dead. Now, somebody is out for her life, and Max just can't help but get involved. He has become addicted with her, as well as in discovering the brutal truths beyond a prolonged cycle of events dancing before his every whisper - a grim reality with no exit, no 'easy, magic way out'.
And so, the story of Max Payne continues....
Developed by Remedy/Rockstar Games, this sequel changes little from the previous installment. What you get is a continuation of events which appears to be reparative on the surface to the many questions fostered and left without apparent conclusiveness by the original, but isn't exactly so for reasons I cannot explain here without ruining a big part of the story. If you play it through (and it shouldn't take you too long - 8 hours or so) you'll find out and you'll be just as shocked and suprised as I was, especially if you're familiar with the first, but even if not, just select 'Previously' from the title screen and it will take you to a storyboard which outlines the major occurrences which transpired.
The game works from a third-person view of Max Payne and plays very much like the first, so if you've got a firm grasp of how things work you'll no doubt have little trouble making it through this installment which isn't very hard to do by any means. Shootdodge and Bullet Time are the two features that try to make this game stand out from the rest, but all Bullet Time does for me is make me think of The Matrix. The way Shootdodge works is this; hold a direction and press L and Max will dive in slow motion. During this time, you can freely aim and shoot at enemies so long as you've got ammo in your clips and you're holding down the fire button, R (all controls listed assume that controls are in default value - you can change them as you wish). This is a good feature because you don't eat away your Bullet Time meter. Speaking of BT, you simply press B and time slows down, during which you can freely aim and shoot in real time. Be weary of enemy fire even as it is in slow motion. To tell the truth, I didn't bother using BT except for in a handful of situations. And besides, I'm not a Matrix fan. Take away these two gimmicks and you're left with a relatively simple-minded game that pretends to be like a high-octane action noir film. If you were to strip away the frontispiece it hides behind (all the story) and just looked at the gameplay you'd become bored in a quick spell because all that's really there is for you to keep progressing through rooms, hallways, and other such places and kill the 2-5 bad guys waiting to do you in. In short, the plot development is what drives you to keep playing.
Back to the controls, which I'll run through quickly. You move with the left analog stick and by pressing it in you duck. A button jumps, and while holding a direction A will allow you to perform evasive action such as a roll. By pressing X you can open doors, drawers, lockers, etc., perform actions and such, and switch to a cross-hair view depending on the weapon equipped (usually the Dragunov sniper rifle). Y button allows you to use your weapon to strike objects/enemies or throw secondary weapons such as grenades and Molotov cocktails. L button is shoot-dodge. White button is for using painkillers, and black button is for reloading. The right analog stick is used to change your perspective and it in fact turns your player (you cannot change your view without it). The control stick is for changing weapons: select with the c-stick, equip with R.
The game design works rather well with plenty of gritty scenery. You'll have to make it through apartment buildings, warehouses, funhouses (no joke folks), a hospital, and even the police headquarters for a little fun. The environments allow you to destroy lots of stuff including glass windows, television sets, and barrels filled with explosives. What's especially fun to do is watch TV sets laying around because they have mock TV shows and commercials airing, and many of these are funny as hell. You'll no doubt recognize the Flamingo from the first, and see lots of new stuff as well. Like the original, there are some funny parts in the game, such as when you're listening to a recording of Max himself having a 'conversation' with a girl on a phone-sex hot-line. It's truly hilarious. Overall, the sequel has a bit less humor than the original, but what's here is good. I especially love the way it tries to mock the way people in real life blame everything on insubstantial things to try and discredit their own actions; in this case, a girl complaining that games like Dick Justice (an obvious parody on Max Payne) made her boyfriend too violent, and, supposedly, a good aim to boot: "He's been playing these video games an awful lot. Makes him a very good shooter. Holding that controller's like holding a gun, they say in the news..." They do a similar thing in both GTAIII and Vice City (hint ~ listen to the commercials on the radio ;) ).
The enemies are about as smart as in any of the recent FPS games. You know the type - they see/hear you and they all try to do you in, some by running up and shooting you, others by more evasive tactics like diving for cover and shooting at you occasionally. Sometimes they'll even lob a few grenades at you, and this is usually preluded by them screaming "FIRE IN THE HOLE!" or whatever. That's nice, and what's nicer is when I roll a can of explosives towards my aggressors, shoot the canister and watch them go flying like a bunch of rag dolls! Yeah, that's right. Do you like it baby? Does it feel good? You've got lots of weapons at your disposal such as Dual 9mm Pistols, Ingrams, Pump-Action/Sawed-Off Shotguns, an MP5, a Kalashikov sniper rifle, and other such stuff. By killing enemies and exploring/searching you'll find ammunition and painkillers. Sometimes, you'll come across innocent people whom you shouldn't shoot at such as a shotgun-wielding old lady in an apartment; she'd be glad to help you by giving you a weapon. Later on it gets to the point where you'll either need to be very good or keep making use of the quick-save feature which is only limited on the hardest difficulty, 'Dead On Arrival', which isn't accessible from the start.
The game survives mostly because of its dark and dirty atmosphere which comes alive in the graphic novel cinemas which all look to be real photos of people Photoshopped to give the illusion they were painted with subdued half-tones and more prominent shades of black and such, wherever necessary. Very stylish. The voice acting is all done to great psychodramatic effect, especially the wit, terseness, and dry mood of Max Payne (James McCaffery), and the self-assuredness punctuated by the more sexually provocative overtones of Mona Sax (Wendy Hoopes). They play their parts often to astonishing results, and the subject matter is infinitely more interesting than the usual evening/late-night criminal investigation dramas playing on TV. However, it's worth note that the pacing is also an important aspect, and to this effect Remedy/Rockstar Games have done their best to incorporate the story into the action, often done so by Max himself narrating his thoughts on whatever is happening, but there's more to it than that.
The soundtrack is superb from start to finish, though a lot of what you hear occurrs only momentarily - most of the game is just the sounds of voices, gunfire, and explosions. But what's there is definitely worthwhile. The sound effects are great, which irritates me because in GTA ~ Vice City they're a bit weak in parts. What gives?
I don't see where some reviewers get off calling this game a rental and FPS games like Halo keepers because with Max Payne 1 & 2 you get more for your money. MP2 is a more enjoyable experience than games like Halo in every way. It doesn't last long enough and has little to no replay in my opinion, but the trek is definitely worth undertaking, and, hopefully, you'll accomplish the first before you move into the second. That should provide you with close to 20 hours total of action/shooting mayhem and exitement, and that's better than I can say for most other games on the system.
BTW, I had to change my review a bit for GTA ~ VC for X-Box because I found out you CAN change the controls back to the classic PS2 setting.

Bravo.
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Last edited by Icarus4578; 11-08-2004 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 12-01-2003, 08:52 AM   #392
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Originally posted by Icarus4578
BTW, I had to change my review a bit for GTA ~ VC for X-Box because I found out you CAN change the controls back to the classic PS2 setting.
AND you had to change SM64 review to 10 after you find out you can walk through that high tower's wall in the castle when you collect 120 stars!!
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Old 12-01-2003, 12:45 PM   #393
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HAHAHAHAHA!!! I already know all the secrets in Mario 64.
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Old 12-01-2003, 05:10 PM   #394
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Originally posted by Icarus4578
Love hurts

Max Payne 2 ~ The Fall of Max Payne - X-Box - Rating 5
5?! the fall of max payne indeed.
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Old 12-02-2003, 04:49 PM   #395
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ha, ha
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Old 12-03-2003, 04:27 PM   #396
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I won't be able to do a review since I'm going to be very busy until sometime over the weekend when I'll do two more. My apologies.
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Old 12-03-2003, 05:03 PM   #397
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Yeah, you spend your time at the shrink because you have nightmares for giving that horrible score for SM64!! SHAME ON YOU!!
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:25 AM   #398
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Child labor is a good thing, right?

Animal Crossing - GC - Rating 0
Some games are one-of-a-kind original and you only come across them once in your life, if you're lucky. At first glance Animal Crossing appears to be original, but upon further inspection is nothing more than a glorified game of running errands and other uneventful chores that add up to a game with no direction (other than paying off your mortgage - more on that later). As this is a Nintendo game I was expecting much more. When my cousin had first bought it he was saying how cool and original it was, and why should I doubt Nintendo? They've created some of the most timeless software... no... art that I've ever experienced.
Animal Crossing requires 57 blocks of free memory, and so it's a good thing that it actually comes with a memory card. Smart move, as nobody wants to have to go out and buy another memory card or erase other games they've saved already just to save one file for this game. When you start up the game you see a dog called K.K. sitting in a chair in a spotlight, strumming a guitar. He'll change your settings for you such as rumble feature on/off, what kind of sound set-up you want, and what language animals speak in the game to you (Animalese, Bebebese, or Silence). Animalese is the language all animals speak in the game - imagine instead of speaking words speaking the letters of words instead and that's basically Animalese. Bebebese is just typical letter noise and Silence is self-explanatory. Afterwards, it shows you on a train and a cat walks up and begins to chat with you. During this conversation is when you name your character, choose your sex, and even name the town you're going to be staying in - I should say slaving in as that's pretty much what you do. Since you haven't actually found a place to stay while in town he'll help you out by calling his friend Tom Nook the racoon who runs his own shop in town called Nook's Cranny. He sets up for you to meet him when you depart from the train, and so you do. He shows you four houses (all identical) which you can choose from to be your own 'pad'. Problem is, when the time comes to pay for the house you're short of money... waaay short! Money is called Bells in the game, btw. So what happens is you wind up having to pay off your mortgage by working part-time at his shop running errands and stuff. After awhile you can start making money by working for the 'people' in town (all animals), and pay it off via the post office. Exciting, I know.
Every time you play the game it generates a town at random for you, and not just in terms of geography - the animals that inhabit your town will probably all be different too. Too bad they act similarly or the same way anyway. There are the mainstays of the town such as the post office (run by the very snobbish Phyllis), the Police Station where lost things are recovered and held to be picked up, a dump, the mayor Tortimer the tortise, and of course Nook's Cranny. When you enter your house it's pretty bare at first but as you keep playing you'll acquire many different things for your pad like, say, a piano, dressers, rugs, wallpaper, etc. And while that seems like it could be fun business it's not - all you can do is move stuff or press the A button to simply 'interact' with your stuff. These small interactions are uneventful to say the least - touch the plant and watch it move, hit keys on the piano, play a song on your radio, etc. Nothing special about it. Later into the game you can get graded on interior design. If that sounds like fun then boy have I got the perfect game for you! Making Bells is a rather simple ordeal. When you speak to the animals you can ask for work which comes in the form of running around picking up/delivering items, furniture, etc. from/to other animals. This will earn you either Bells or other items as a reward. You can also sell things to earn even more money, such as fruit from trees and other stuff.
Yaaaaay kids. are we having fun or what? :thumbdn:
Time is always moving in your town no matter what, even when the game is not on. So if you turn it on at a certain time during the day/night the game will reflect that and the animals will respond accordingly. It also plays on the seasons, just like in Christmas Nights for Sega Saturn (sorry Nintendo, but you didn't use this concept first ;) ). If it's winter it will clearly be winter in the game as there will be snowing and ho-ho-hoing and lots of Christmas lights up on trees, as an example. Among the other things you can do is fish, plant flowers, go to the Farway Museum to see if Blathers the owl will accept stuff you've acquired like fossils, paintings, shells, and insects to be put up on display (this is considering the museum appears in your town), go visit Tortimer during special events and holidays to see what you can get from him, etc. It's like one huge boring minigame! I'm so sorry, but this game just isn't my style. Besides, there's something ominous about the whole ordeal; think long and hard about the message this game embodies: you're a little kid that is all alone in the world (unless you have friends of which up to three can live in your town) and you're performing labors in order to make a living. Some of the labors appear to be the result of the laziness of others, such as when you pick up things that the animals lent to other animals (which often wind up in some other animal's possession) and the game clearly shows you a world where the poorer you are the more easier it is to be picked on and treated like a little slave. It certainly isn't about 'making friends' no matter how hard it tries to appear that way. Question: when was the last time a 'friend' made you run around doing insipid chores just because that person was too lazy to do things on their own? What does this teach the kids that buy this game? (And I use the term 'game' very loosely because it's not really a game in my view.) Also, this game isn't about 'being responsible for yourself' - instead, it focuses on teaching you the wrong values: be responsible for other people because they're not responsible for themselves. Am I wrong? I don't think I am. It's a world where everybody is a lazy bum except you who'll inevitably wind up being errand-boy (or -girl) for everybody else in the game. If there's any irony to the entire situation it would have to come from the fact that at the start of the game the dog K.K. says "That's groovy. Who needs someone telling you what to do all the time? You can do what you want, when you want, where you want. Yeah, living on your own, being free. It feels great." And then the game counteracts this with you being picked on, laughed at, and called names for no reason and you're left with no alternative but to be treated this way by certain people and just accept it. Hideous, isn't it? While reality is a harsher world than Animal Crossing it still doesn't excuse the fact that this 'game' is clearly targeted at children.
The graphics are beyond pathetic and were clearly designed originally on and for the N64. The animals themselves look silly and you yourself, well... I don't want to go there. Let's just say you look like what would happen if two clowns named Boink and Zoink got drunk together one night and I'll leave it at that..... that, and that they're both guys..... Although the game looks like some evil 3D Miyamoto nightmare it wasn't directed or even produced by him: Takashi Tezuka takes the role of Producer while Katsuya Eguchi & Hisashi Nogami share the blame for being the directors.
The music at the title screen is good but the rest of it is just silly, weird, or whacked-out. Take your pick. There's a melody you can change on a billboard which will play whenever the clock chimes which obviously occurs whenever you change hours in real-time. Problem is you can only select notes diatonic in C Major or A minor as they didn't even see fit to add accidentals. How cheap is that? I mean, this game couldn't have taken more than a month to make , and since they were busy thinking of dumb things to put into this stupid excuse for a game you'd have thought that at least one of the sound programmers would've brought up the possibility of accidentals. Or, perhaps that would've required actual work on their part because, apparently from listening to it, they didn't work all that much. I cannot even adequately describe how downright messed-up the Animalese speech is in the game - you have to hear it for yourself. It's like Speak & Spell gone wrong.
Just pathetic. This game gets supremely high scores by a bunch of people that forgot to take gameplay into consideration and sold out to the gimmick that this product offers something original. Running around playing delivery-boy isn't fun and neither are the mini-mini-games within this long game without direction. I haven't even bothered getting into the Animal Crossing-e card nonsense and the GBA connectivity (anything for an extra buck, right Nintendo?), the Able Sisters shop where YOU are the fashion designer (you can create designs which you can then apply to clothing, umbrellas, and whatever else), and a few other little things. If this game is trying to represent real living - albeit in a freakish, distorted manner - then let me say that I think it does a terrible job. If it's trying to be fun it's definitely not succeeding with me. If it's trying to be original it falls on its face miserably and doesn't get up. The ONLY redeeming factor to Animal Crossing lies in the hidden NES games like Metroid. I already own Metroid and even if I didn't I could always get a copy very easily.
Recently when I asked my cousin again what he thinks of Animal Crossing I just got that look that says "Why the hell are you asking that? You know it sucks", and so it does. Shame on Nintendo for their sad attempt to screw people, especially kids, out of their money with cheap link-up features that add nothing to this sad excuse for a game.

Last edited by Icarus4578; 12-12-2003 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 12-12-2003, 02:26 AM   #399
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Heh, I just bought Animal Crossing yesterday. Havent really started playing it, but I hope it isnt as bad as you say it is.
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Old 12-12-2003, 02:31 AM   #400
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Oh, you'll probably love it just like all the others. I personally can't take it though.
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Old 12-12-2003, 02:45 AM   #401
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Its a great game.

MY TOWN IS THE BEST!!!
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:57 AM   #402
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Since it is your opinion and your thread I wont rant about your opinion. I will say that you are truly missing the point in Animal Crossing though. It isnt meant to be a robust single player experience. Its a Single Multiplayer game. You are supposed to play with at least two people. Preferably with thier own village. And its meant to be played for only a short burst. Not hours. Now I believe I'll go back to cutting up my brothers fruit trees...
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:57 AM   #403
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Oh screw this, ignore list for you.

And it might be your opinion, but it's still wrong. Hurhur!
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Old 12-16-2003, 01:19 PM   #404
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Tonight.... Samurai Shodown 2 (Neo Geo) and Ys Book I & II (TurboDuo).
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Old 12-16-2003, 06:49 PM   #405
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