Max Payne (or "it's not FAIR!")
Max Payne 3 is very silly. His name is Max Payne for God’s sakes. He could have been called Hugh G. Cock, Denholm Genes or Pubic Doghound and it would have been no sillier.
Sadly, Rockstar missed the meeting where everyone was laughing and joking and making pistol fingers and saying what a silly name Max Payne was – let’s have some fun with that, let's roll with it. No, while that meeting of jollity and smiles and pow-pow was going on, Rockstar was outside smoking a dog-end. In the rain. While crying. And muttering “I didn’t ask to be born you know” to itself. And thinking about getting a tattoo. And listening to My Chemical Romance on their iPod. And briefly considering slamming their bedroom door.
You see, Rockstar have taken Max very seriously. He gnashes and wails and whinges and moans and bitches and blubs and at no point ever do you have any sympathy for the gin-soaked twat. Yeah, Remedy’s Max was always me-me-me and the kind of guy you didn’t want to end up talking to at parties (“So, do you think my entire family died in a blaze because I’m boring?”). He was always more self-obsessed than Madonna in the mirror room at an amusement arcade. But every now and then there was a chink, a slice, a smidgeon of life. Nowadays, with Rockstar’s doom-laded teenage angst, Max is a parody of a parody. He can’t go for a shit without comparing it to the emergence of a dark cloud from the buttocks of despair.
The man can slow-motion groin-shot eight goons while falling out of an upside-down exploding boat (AWESOME by the way - kick-cock awesome). He can knee-slide across an open-plan office and KABOOM dead baddie KABOOM dead baddie, graceful dive, KABOOM KABOOM KABOOM you is all cadaverous motherfuckers. He can swandive through the window of a DJ booth kersplatting bad guy after bad guy through the face, chest and, most importantly, nads. And yet when he lands, and the room is a glorious, blood-soaked ode to his majestic glory - he takes pity on himself. Oh life is soooo hard for a pirhouetting slo-mo gunslinger of the apocalypse.
It brings you down, you know? I’m having fun with the mechanics and the bullet time and what have you, but Max isn’t. Maybe once, just once, he could break the goddamn fourth wall and wink back at the screen. “Isn’t this fun?” the wink would say? But no. No. Instead Rockstar have hired a sixth form poet to write his neverending internal monologue. At one point, Max says “I wouldn’t know right from wrong if one was helping the poor and one was banging my sister.” First off, this sentence was written by someone with the IQ of a shoe – it’s lame, cheap and stilted. Second of all, Max – someone banging your sister isn’t necessarily wrong. If it were, Max, I’d hate to be your brother in law as you bounce around the lawn in ultra slow motion unloading round after round into his now-flaccid genitals.
The game? The game is fine. At times as you screech your way around a room doing headshot after headshot and it all *clicks* it’s up there with the best of them. In terms of atmosphere, Rockstar, as usual, have nailed it – Sao Paolo is portrayed brilliantly. The favela level is one of my favourite levels of recent times. Sure, it’s got Rockstar’s usual clunkiness and Max, out of bullet-time, moves like a barge. But as a game? It’s great. Problem is, by the end, I never wanted to spend another second in the company of Max Payne.
If in doubt, put the kettle on.