Generally favorable reviews - based on 80 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 80
  2. Negative: 1 out of 80
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  1. May 14, 2012
    It maintains the mechanics that made the prior games great while modernizing them to excellent effect. Between the arcade mode and multiplayer, there's enough substantive content to keep you hooked for some time.
  2. May 14, 2012
    The key to the game is the pitch perfect control system. A customisable auto-targetting system lets players select between hard or soft auto systems, the latter subtly guiding your reticule rather than aggressively yanking it toward specific enemies. Both are smart, seamless and intuitive, allowing newcomers to acclimatise to the turbo-charged pace.
  3. May 14, 2012
    A technological tour de force that will have you screaming "Dear lord!" more times than midnight mass. The performances are top notch, the action plays out with unrivaled fluidity, and the multiplayer is deep and rewarding. Silly distractions aside, Max Payne 3 is an action lover's wet dream that also happens to employ some of the slickest direction and transitional trickery this side of a David Fincher box set.
  4. May 23, 2012
    The story and presentation rival that of a summer blockbuster. Throw in some smart dialogue, fantastic gameplay and addicting multiplayer, and Rockstar has hit the ball out of the park again.
  5. May 14, 2012
    A great game that manages to be on par with other third-person action games like Gears of War and Uncharted, keeping part of the personality of the first two games in the series and adding great new mechanics that will surprise every player. It also tells a very good story thanks to the charming and complicated personality of Max.
  6. May 14, 2012
    Rockstar has yet again delivered a very high-grade production, with unique and cinematic storytelling, a deeply involving and intense gameplay experience and a very satisfying and original multiplayer. A must buy: you'll be entranced.
  7. May 16, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is a violent thrill ride with an action hero that does not know at times that he is the hero. With slick visuals, and blood spraying violence it may not be for everyone. For those fans of Max Payne, and those action film fans, I think this one is for you.
  8. May 15, 2012
    It's surreal. Altogether, the impression is of a work that feels like an addled and hazy reflection of the truth. It's far removed from what we know, but unlike so many games there's a real sense that our world and our lives are just beyond the horizon.
  9. May 15, 2012
    With Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games proves that the studio masters action games in the most brilliant way, despite Max Payne 3 not being an open-world title. If there were no doubts about narration, the gameplay system also remains very atttractive thanks to the perfect introduction of the bullet time and the Shootdodge abilities, two strong aspects players are already familiar with. Rockstar Games offers a great experience, full of details, and depicts an amazing trip through Brazil and its favelas. A masterpiece in which Rockstar Games excels at introducing a tortured character whose adventures will surely give you the chills.
  10. May 14, 2012
    Max Payne 3 makes you feel like the man with a very particular set of skills. With a good story, jaw-dropping action and fantastic graphics, it's a must-experience game. It's an homage to some fantastic movies, it's a step forward for Rockstar games and it's a satisfying continuation of the Max Payne saga.
  11. May 14, 2012
    Max Payne 3 gives exactly what it promises: An awesome, cinematic and greatly-paced experience. A new standard for third-person shooters in this gen. Just amazing.
  12. May 15, 2012
    The cutscenes, while possibly too numerous, are seamlessly integrated into the overall narrative in a way that often makes you forget when it's time to take control of your character.
  13. May 20, 2012
    It's safe to say that Max Payne 3 is a fantastic game and with a hefty single player and extensive multiplayer it will keep you entertained for hours and hours. The story is gripping and will have you wondering what happens next, and with the integration of crews to the multiplayer there is even more reason to make regular visits to the city of São Paulo.
  14. May 14, 2012
    The coolest multiplayer mode offered is Gang Wars. This mode pits two teams against each other and incorporates story threads from the campaign to shape the five rounds. How a round ends dictates what the next objective will be, a design that keeps the battles fresh.
  15. May 14, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is one of the most important third-person shooters of this generation. It's frenetic and with a good replay value campaign, and has a direct and effective multiplayer and an incredible physics engine.
  16. May 14, 2012
    A true cinematic gaming masterpiece, Max Payne 3 is not just another triumph for Rockstar, but it's also testament to what the developer can do when it turns its hand to linear storytelling. Max Payne 3 might be a stylistic shift for the series, but it's also a raw and brutal portrait of a man pushed to the edge that deserves a place alongside Rockstar's superlative open-world efforts.
  17. May 22, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is a triumph; an action game that is supremely polished, filled with adrenaline pumping gunplay and several memorable milestones.
  18. May 18, 2012
    Max is back and in top form. Rockstar takes the helm resulting in one of the best action games I've played in a long time, and easily one of the best this year.
  19. May 20, 2012
    But the truth is, Rockstar know their onions. They understand the importance of a gritty story, concise controls, cinematic visuals, balls-out action, and genuinely fun (albeit not 100% balanced) multiplayer. But above all, they carry with them a sense of style across all of their presentation. Max Payne 3 is yet another fine example of their prowess.
  20. May 16, 2012
    Max Payne 3 dismisses its well known noir-style, but retains the mature storytelling, and enhances the classic shooter mechanics to adapt them for the needs of this generation of gamers.
  21. Hyper Magazine
    Jul 8, 2012
    A compelling, down and dirty bullet basket populated by real characters and visceral gunplay. [July 2012, p.55]
  22. Jun 26, 2012
    The presentation is top-notch, the game feels like you want it to never end while you're playing it, and the multiplayer gives it longevity that will stick around for a good while.
  23. Jun 13, 2012
    Max Payne 3 has an action-packed and long-lasting single-player campaign driven by an expectedly solid single-player story that is a Rockstar trademark. That combines with very entertaining multiplayer that will have gamers playing long after the single-player campaign is complete.
  24. Jun 4, 2012
    The story wraps up nicely, and it's interesting to see Max in a game with a much darker tone, especially when, for the most part, the grim elements are handled extremely well.
  25. May 31, 2012
    The gameplay is simple yet satisfying, but it's entirely in the service of a strongly-authored narrative.
  26. Games Master UK
    May 27, 2012
    Sublime shooting with narrative/multiplayer masterclasses, but will divide opinion. [July 2012, p.63]
  27. May 26, 2012
    Rockstar knows how to tell a compelling story and even included awesome flashback sequences to a Max that is more recognizable to us longtime fans. Max has become even more hardened over the years and is pushed to the edge; Rockstar tells this tale in fantastic fashion, even without the comic book panels that we're accustomed to. Max Payne is stylish as ever, even with his shaved head and tacky Hawaiian shirt.
  28. May 26, 2012
    Probably helped with the strong cinematographic treatment, you really can feel what being in Max's shoes is all about, and wish that he can finally find the peace that has aluded him for so long.
  29. May 24, 2012
    Rockstar does it again. The new Max not only reminds us of his old tricks, but shows some new as well. Every minute you spend with Max Payne 3 gives you lots of fun and thanks to modes making you want to play again and a solid multiplayer the game won't become boring too soon.
  30. May 23, 2012
    When the game is actually Max Payne, when you've set up the perfect shoot-dodge and you're sailing through the air putting holes through people, everything lines up and it's the greatest game in the world: amazing graphics, great voice acting, a funny and deftly written script, a memorable soundtrack, the whole nine yards. It's just a shame about all of this other extraneous modern crap that Rockstar's bolted onto it.
  31. May 23, 2012
    Rockstar took their time with this title, and it shows. Rebuilding not only the universe, but the characters in it, they managed to capture what we loved about the previous titles and matured it for this sequel. The multiplayer is a good addition to the series, enabling players to experience the world Remedy created with the staple bullettime modes intact.
  32. May 23, 2012
    My only real gripes come in single-player action. Max has a very annoying habit of automatically switching to a handgun any time he's about to enter a cinema screen despite the fact that he might be carrying a perfectly usable assault rifle. There were some occasions the strongest rifle I was carrying in my arsenal practically disappeared after a bit of storytelling. This sometimes put me in precarious positions where I had to pull out a ridiculous combination of Bullet Time, rolling and melee (not always Max's strongest suit) to reach a weapon with more ammo in it. That led to a few expletive-laden moments, but it wasn't enough to get me to stop playing.
  33. May 22, 2012
    If you are a fan of Max Payne, this game must be played. The gameplay is very fun and it's easily the most cinematic Max Payne game yet. The story clocks in at about 10-12 hours of gameplay and the game has several unlockables. There are many reasons to go back and play the single player mode and the game offers many extra multiplayer modes as well. It's truly a crime to miss out on this one if you've followed the series up until now. Max Payne 3 is just as pleasing as the other games overall and has the best gameplay out of the series so far!
  34. May 22, 2012
    Mechanically, the series holds up better than expected. But where Rockstar's influence really shines through is in the character of Max. He's one of the most compelling characters in recent memories and following him on this messed up journey of self-discovery is reason enough to play Max Payne 3.
  35. May 21, 2012
    The presentation is superbly polished, and having McCaffrey on board makes the Max magic happen all over again.
  36. May 18, 2012
    While Max Payne may have lost his roots after playing far too much Grand Theft Auto IV in the last couple of years, he still manages to deal out some serious ass kickage in slow-motion, as is of course tradition. And hey, the dialouge and multiplayer are great too.
  37. 90
    The presentation is first rate, there's a campaign worthy of multiple play throughs and the two arcade modes, plus the multiplayer should keep fans busy for quite some time.
  38. 90
    A new an improved Max Payne, without forgetting the old guy we all have come to love and remember fondly. Purists will no doubt enjoy the fact that there is no regenerating health, and you can decide yourself how much assistance you want as far as aiming goes as you pull the left trigger - and you can turn the assist off completely if that's your preference. The challenge is there even on normal difficulty. You can expect somewhere between 8-10 hours to complete the game. And then there is a solid multiplayer game to mess around with. Great stuff!
  39. May 14, 2012
    With its gripping narrative, brutal violence, and fantastic implementation of Max Payne's bullet-time ability, this is a distinctive and outstanding game through and through, and it's easily a worthy successor to the Max Payne games that preceded it.
  40. May 14, 2012
    It's damn good fun, creating an environment of chaos and thrilling combat. The new Rockstar Social Club features allow players to team up easily in Crews, pairing them up with players on teams who are members of the same Crew, and it makes it easy to get into a game with people you might actually want to play with.
  41. May 14, 2012
    After almost ten years waiting, Max Payne 3 is still a linear and repetitive experience. But... is this really a problem when the game is so incredibly majestic?
  42. May 14, 2012
    As a shooter, Max Payne 3 belongs to the highest ranks. Due to the fantastic animations and amazing action every confrontation is one to look forward to. And if the atmosphere, dialogue and narrative turn out to be of a 'Max Paynian' level, there's really nothing that can go wrong regarding this third entry in the series. If you have even the slightest love for virtual liquidation, then the purchase of Max Payne 3 is a bullet you can't dodge.
  43. May 14, 2012
    The transition from emotionally tinged burial ground to functional battleground is at once touching and tasteless, presented in that kind of awkward, bittersweet combination that video games have gotten down to an art form.
  44. May 14, 2012
    It's a game with so much baggage that I'm stunned that it's come together so well. This is the first time Rockstar has made a game that excels best as just that, supported and expertly augmented by the production values and attention to small details that its games have always been known for. It is uncompromisingly excellent, with a sense of focus that has secured Max Payne's legacy once again.
  45. May 14, 2012
    We have waited ten years to have the third chapter of Max Payne saga, but Rockstar brings us another masterpiece. Great story, lot of multiplayer modes and nice graphics do the rest. Don't miss it.
  46. May 14, 2012
    A terrific compromise that brings action and story together in a fabulous work of craftmanship and sky-high production values. So it may not have the scope of Rockstar's most famous oeuvre, but it more than makes up for that in focus, detail and raw thrills.
  47. May 14, 2012
    An expert blend of cinematic storytelling and flamboyant action, weaved together by a team with a clear passion for the genre and the content. Payne never felt so good.
  48. May 14, 2012
    A consistently thrilling and explosive tale that states its case as one of 2012's best. I'd be hard pushed to find a game that has made me scream with excitement on such a regular basis, as the compelling narrative and rewarding gunplay conglomerate into a truly spectacular product.
  49. May 14, 2012
    Max Payne 3 mixes the old and the new Max and brings the series in the new generation of consoles. A strong story mode and a deep multiplayer are the highlights of this game.
  50. May 14, 2012
    Yippee-ki-yay: Max Payne 3 is the coolest action experience since Bruce Willis invaded a certain skyscraper in 1988. Rockstar's newest masterpiece captures the atmosphere of the legendary series - despite some annoying gameplay flaws.
  51. May 14, 2012
    The Arcade mode and multiplayer alone add enough to the single-player campaign to keep you coming back for more, but for me the selling point of the game came in its presentation.
  52. Pelit (Finland)
    Jun 20, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is a great action-movie experience with life-like characters that Rockstar is famous for. It does fall a bit flat on the actual action part, however. The controls on consoles are confusing and hard to get used to. Still very much worth a play-thru. It's also one of the best looking console games in the current generation. [June 2012]
  53. May 28, 2012
    Yes, the "noir" feeling of Max Payne of old is lost, but Max Payne 3 is one of the most enjoyable 3rd person shooters you can find in this generation of hardware.
  54. May 22, 2012
    If you are a fan of third person cover shooters then you should definitely give Max Payne 3 a try. It is an entertaining and visceral journey through Sao Paulo and one I intend on experiencing again.
  55. May 25, 2012
    The writing isn't superb, but the visual style and the art direction are immaculate.
  56. May 18, 2012
    Despite some minor issues (and a couple that aren't so minor), Max Payne 3 still manages to be a first-class third-person shooter and is thus one of the better games of the year. More importantly, it's a welcome return for one of the shooter genre's better series. The years may not have been kind of Max, but it seems he hasn't missed a beat.
  57. May 15, 2012
    Max Payne shoots more rockets out of the air than Nathan Drake falls off of stuff.
  58. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Jun 19, 2012
    A fantastic shooter that does a lot for the genre. [Issue#86, p.80]
  59. CD-Action
    Jun 6, 2012
    Rockstar decided that it's enough to carry the classic Max Payne gameplay as it was over to contemporary platforms. This plan was fulfilled quite well but it would be nice to get something more than that. [July 2012, p.60]
  60. May 24, 2012
    Brilliant gunplay, and a classic character make for an exhilarating experience, but much of the narrative style distracts more than aids the final package.
  61. May 24, 2012
    That's all Max Payne 3 is – a beautiful, playable action movie.
  62. May 22, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is an excellent shooter, providing hours of entertainment in both single and multiplayer modes. While it does prove occasionally repetitive, and isn't as sophisticated as some shooters on the market, its compelling plot and stylish storytelling techniques make up for most of the game's shortcomings.
  63. May 22, 2012
    All in all Max Payne 3 doesn't transcend the third person shooting genre, but it's a damn fine game, and a solid entry in the Max Payne series. If you're not the biggest fan of third person shooters, it won't do anything to sway you, but the highs most definitely weigh out the lows in Max's latest adventure.
  64. May 21, 2012
    It's been years and Max Payne has aged both as a character and as a series. It's visually impressive and spins a compelling yarn, featuring a protagonist who walks the line of insanity yet remains likeable due to his inner humanity. That said, it goes to show that there's still only so much that can be done with a third-person shooting game set in the real world, becoming limited by the endless mobsters and hired guns. It's anything but perfect, but as what amounts to a gritty and playable action flick, Max Payne 3 could be just the ticket for those empty summer months.
  65. May 18, 2012
    The unique storytelling and charismatic narration will pull you into an enthralling experience, but glitchy cover mechanics, poor checkpoint management, and off-putting pacing will rattle you out of your gaming reverie more often than you'd like.
  66. May 16, 2012
    Max Payne 3 is yet another amazing Rockstar game. It's worth your money and your time, especially if you enjoy competitive multiplayer. Still, know that you'll get the most out of the single-player if you pace yourself.
  67. 80
    The repetitive action might be reminiscent of the original games, but it's still repetition, and ultimately that causes things to drag. Fortunately just like Max himself it's also difficult to dislike - the plot isn't something you'll be able to leave alone for long, bullet time still has the capacity to thrill and the multiplayer provides the variety and unpredictability required for genuine longevity.
  68. May 14, 2012
    Rockstar reclaimed Max Payne in their own way, without changing its core: it's a shooter, and its main protagonist is as dark as ever. The real surprise comes from the multiplayer, one of the best third-person multiplayers we've played.
  69. May 14, 2012
    While fans might have a hard time processing the dramatic change in tone, it's approached with a seriousness and conviction that I respect, and frankly, have come to expect from Rockstar.
  70. 80
    Seemingly cognizant of how tough it can be, the game gives you an extra bottle of health-restoring painkillers for every few times you restart at the same spot, but the situation is gratingly exacerbated by Max Payne 3's erratic checkpoint system. More often than not, you'll have to replay painfully long stretches of white-knuckle sequences, turning levels into chores, not treats.
  71. May 14, 2012
    In Max Payne 3 the risk of death and restart is often too great. Why do something that makes you look and feel like an action hero, when holding back behind cover means you're more likely to survive? The shame, then, is that the difficulty encourages over-cautious play.
  72. May 14, 2012
    Ultimately, none of the story beats or polish mask the fact that Max Payne 3 is very much a refinement of an old formula, and if you're looking for something brand new or revelatory it just isn't here. However, what is amazing is how Rockstar has fallen back on its trademark production values and sublime attention to detail to update the franchise in a compelling way. Factor in some impressive multiplayer offerings and it's still head-and-shoulders above most of its trigger-happy ilk.
  73. May 14, 2012
    Attempting a character study of a deeply flawed action hero is an interesting gamble that just doesn't pay off, and the single-player experience continually struggles with leveraging the character's identity or unique skills. So it's got some issues. That said, the surprisingly entertaining multiplayer modes and a virtuoso treatment of extreme violence stand out as legitimate highpoints. It all basically comes down to your tolerance for pain.
  74. Jun 11, 2012
    Rockstar's continued insistence on favouring animation over character control makes for an unnecessarily sluggish core game, but it is one that eventually settles into its own set piece groove, and ultimately gets swept up and propelled forward by the momentum of its story and impressive portrayal of its setting.
  75. May 16, 2012
    As polished a product as Rockstar has ever produced but the action and storytelling are rigidly one note, and neither is sustained for long enough.
  76. May 15, 2012
    You can't escape the feeling that Rockstar just isn't as good at a pure third-person shooter as it is with the open worlds of Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, and in this linear context it's much harder to put up with its usual missteps in mechanics and difficulty.
  77. May 14, 2012
    A surprisingly conservative game from Rockstar. Its absorption of cover mechanics makes Payne feel more familiar than he should, but even then his signature tricks are over a decade old. This is a game about a world-weary killer doing the only thing he knows how to, and for all its spectacular action beats there's something apt about Max's fatigue.
  78. Jun 17, 2012
    Yes, Max Payne 3 may be a thrilling game, but the most shocking, slickly-produced, well-written cut-scenes in the world can't get a player to fully humanize a character who can magically heal from the same bullet wounds that explode his enemies into red mist.
  79. May 31, 2012
    Max Payne 3's bold and different direction from series' norms has resulted in a lackluster narrative and infuriating gameplay difficulty. A well-polished presentation and hectic gun battles aren't able to redeem the lack of a memorable and worthwhile narrative, an aspect that's defined the Max Payne series since its creation. Even with Max Payne in the game's title, the actual content couldn't be further from the truth.
  80. May 28, 2012
    The shootporn is satisfying enough, if you're into that sort of thing. I know I am. Which is why I have so little patience for how often the awful story and grim prattle get in the way.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 956 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. May 15, 2012
    well,the main thing a person looks in any product is that it should be a fun experience worth playing. Max Payne 3 is all of that and muchwell,the main thing a person looks in any product is that it should be a fun experience worth playing. Max Payne 3 is all of that and much more.It is a game more focused on story as all the previous max Payne's have been and packs satisfying gunplay to boot.It may not be THE BEST third person shooter out there but max payne 3's gameplay and story lives up to expectations with multiplayer being a riot. So if you want to play something fun with a serious storyline as well as gr8 multiplayer,max payne 3 is the game to get. Full Review »
  2. May 15, 2012
    This is truly a fantastic game. Max Payne 3 is a great shooter with an extremely fascinating script and storyline that totally succeeds inThis is truly a fantastic game. Max Payne 3 is a great shooter with an extremely fascinating script and storyline that totally succeeds in delivering a perfect noir tale! The pacing is just the right speed and I personally had no trouble playing this game nonstop for more than a couple of hours. The graphics, full of detail and constantly very colorful and at times and very beautiful as well. The characters, brimming with interesting personality traits all while delivering quick, intriguing, and sometimes very funny lines. The action and gameplay, a huge amount of fun that never grows tiring and always works well and correctly. And Max Payne himself, as engaging and engrossing a character as ever while also being voiced wonderfully by James McCaffrey. With an endlessly fun multiplayer and an incredibly involving story this comes up to make this game is yet another triumph to add to Rockstar's list! Full Review »
  3. May 15, 2012
    Why do I keep getting interrupted during gameplay for a cutscene. There is no way to become immersed if if every two minutes I'm stopped toWhy do I keep getting interrupted during gameplay for a cutscene. There is no way to become immersed if if every two minutes I'm stopped to watch cuts for sometimes longer than I just played. The gameplay is frustrating, the gun mechanics are not great, and the bullet time is way too short. Full Review »