I bought Jak II and Max Payne 2 on the same day. To me they represent two very different ways of creating a sequel to a popular game.
On one hand you have Jak II. Naughty Dog had the guts to take this sequel in a very different direction. The game starts off with the main character Jak being thrown in jail where he is tortured and experimented on for two years. Obviously this isn’t going to be the same goofy, lighthearted platform game the first one was. That doesn’t mean the game isn’t funny. In fact I’d say Jak II sports even better writing than the first one and delivers even more laughs.
Every character is just that, a character. Through the use of brilliant animation, gorgeous character designs, stunning levels and talented voice acting Naughty Dog has created an unbelievably rich world, and brought it to life in a way that few other games ever have. The fact that you will never see a loading screen only adds to the immersion. How they managed to do what they have done with Jak II on the Playstation is a Goddamned mystery.
Beyond the graphical improvements the game play has also received some major tweaking. You take missions in a hub city the same way you might in a game like GTA3. Hell you will even find yourself jacking hover cars and outrunning the local authorities. the missions you take though, will send you outside the city walls or into it’s factories and sewers on more traditional platform style quests. You will find yourself collecting thing-a-majigs or wang-a-mabobs in an effort to satisfy the mission requirements. However the missions and the characters you receive them from make sense in way that most platform games simply don’t. Destroying sentry guns in the sewer for a smuggler or blowing up ammunition for the resistance. The sorts of things you find yourself doing have a real purpose in the game world as opposed to collecting music notes or space nuts so that you can open some fucking gate somewhere.
Jak II also builds on the combat by giving you some new weapons. You can still swing daxter around and punch stuff but Jak now has an assortment of rifles and such that he can use to dish out damage as well. Jack can also transform into a evil version of himself in order to tear shit up with his claws and special dark powers you learn as the game progresses. There are weapon combos that will allow you to smack one target with your gun and then immediately fire on the next. Overall the combat in JAk II is significantly more entertaining than in the first game.
What it all boils down to is that Jak II is a perfect sequel. On the other hand you have Max Payne 2.
MP2 feels like the same game I played three fucking years ago. The guys come out, they say “you’re gonna die Max!” and then you shoot them. Sometimes you shoot them in slow motion. That’s just not enough for me anymore. The whole thing is repetitive and boring. First you shoot the guys in the warehouse then you shoot them in the apartment building then you shoot them in the office building blah blah blah, whatever. I don’t give two shits about the characters or their problems. It’s so fucking overdramatic that it’s humorous. I understand that sort of language is par for the course in that genre but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Just my two cents. Obviously Tycho likes it. The fact is, I was bored of the first one by the time it ended and this new game doesn’t give me anything to get exited about. Max Payne 2 isn’t a sequel it’s an expansion pack that’s about two fucking years late.