Saturday, 4 February 2012

King of Payne: Max Returns

Male pattern baldness is a genetic curse. An affliction. Look at those poor men without hair. Do you think they want to be like that? Do you want to be like that? Cricket legend Shane Warne doesn't. But who is Shane Warne kidding? Bald men are cool. Just look at Sir Patrick Stewart. There is only one way to look even better than bald. Bald with a beard. Truly mankind has never looked more dapper. Join me in nodding appreciatively at Arsenal hero and statue /despicable handball cheat (delete the second if not Irish) Thierry Henry.

Max Payne understands this, because Max is, as André 3000 would say, ice-cool. For his next game, the first in nine years (it's been nearly a decade since the last Max Payne game. Think about that. Are you scared yet?), Max is shaving off his spiky locks and migrating that hair southwards. He's also added a bit of weight, and become a bit of a drunk. He'll have to be careful with those painkillers – hasn't anyone told him you can't mix paracetamol with alcohol?

This game is developed by Rockstar rather than Remedy (Rockstar were the publisher on the first two games) and from the first look it doesn't have the same big American city noir vibe that the first two so successfully exploited. Good – there's only so far you can take that, and I felt that by the end of Max Payne 2 the series had probably done it. Shifting the focus to the slums of San Paolo while keeping the noir plotting gives it a fresh lick of paint, and I for one am excited. Welcome back, Max.

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