In our Max Payne 3 review we called the game "a slick, violent shooter, made with Rockstar's trademark style and panache," while citing a lack of variety and an overlong story as its main weaknesses.
Reviewers far and wide have also been offering their two cents on whether Rockstar's sequel lives up to Remedy's previous offerings in the much-loved gritty third-person shooter series.
As always we've gathered up all the verdicts and stuck them in a convenient list. Take a look:
- OPM UK : 8/10 - A dark, cinematic single-player campaign lasting around ten hours coupled with a compelling multiplayer offering make this a worthy addition to the genre, even if it can't quite compete in the very top tier. But for legacy's sake, we hope that this time Max's retirement is permanent.
- GamesRadar: 10 - Between its pacing, its presentation, and its excellent gunplay, Max Payne 3 has raised the bar for other action games to follow. Welcome back.
- G4: 5/5 - Max Payne 3 is 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. Lock and load. It's bullet time...time.
- X360A: 93 - 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. Get ready to enter a world of Payne.
- IncGamers: 9/10 - 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
- StrategyInformer: 9.0 - As with Rockstar's other franchises, Max Payne 3 is enveloped in love and a huge amount of dedication. This is 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. Max Payne 3 lets you star in your favourite action movies, minus the Wahlberg.
- IGN: 9/10 - There are plenty of games which are celebrated for their gameplay but lack anything in way of story or character. Max Payne 3 is a different type of proposition. The gameplay is simple yet satisfying, but it's entirely in the service of a strongly-authored narrative. Players aren't at the liberty to roam, to explore, or to shake things up. Some might find this too controlling, but in return for your freedom, you're rewarded with a mature genre piece which is also a finely-realised character study. Action games continue to inch the dial towards 11, sometimes at the expense of their narrative integrity. Max Payne 3, however, has the conviction to reign in the action, imbue it with purpose - the spectacle still sparkles but it also makes sense.
- 1UP: A- - Although the gunplay may still have its roots planted firmly in the past, the way Max Payne 3 showcases its world is undeniably forward thinking. It's a bit strange to gain so much pleasure from Max's suffering, but I guess that's the true essence behind Rockstar's magic.
- GameReactor: 9/10 - Max Payne 3 is an accomplishment any way you look at it. The story may perhaps get a bit murky towards the end, but other than that it fires on all cylinders from beginning to end. The action will make your nose bleed, it's well directed, and refreshingly free of the conventions that often plague this genre. This is, simply put, the best shooter I've played in a long time. Don't let Payne's beer belly fool you, he's in the best shape of his career.
- VideoGamer: 8/10 - 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.
- GamesTM: 8/10 - 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. Which perhaps says as much about the state of the genre as it does Rockstar's obvious skill.
- The Guardian: 5/5 - Max Payne 3, then, is another stylish, self-conscious and enthrallingly full-bloodied title from the Rockstar hivemind. If it is at all possible to distil every great Hollywood action flick into one interactive experience - with all the wise-cracking thuggery and anti-hero angst that would entail - this is it.
- GameInformer: 9.25 - No matter what gameplay mode I chose, I had a great time playing Max Payne 3. The gameplay doesn't explore new territory, but delivers a retro charm that fans of the series should appreciate. It's a new day for Max Payne, and at the same time, a return to his glorious past.
- GameSpot: 9.0 - With savage gunplay and an absorbing personal story, Max Payne 3 is an exhilarating shooter that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go.
- Destructoid: 9.0 - Max Payne 3 is a fantastic package, with a top-notch presentation and plenty of content to keep players busy and happy. It may have been a long time in coming, but there's no arguing with results, and Max is the kind of guy who gets them. Fans and newcomers alike are going to find plenty to enjoy in this exceptional title.
- Joystiq: 4.5 - Max Payne 3, a game built out of remarkably implemented, masterfully presented parts. Video games live or die by the mechanisms that lie underneath. That's why the graveyards are always full.
- Polygon: 9/10 - 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.
- The Telegraph: 4.5 - 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.
- OXM UK: 8/10 - Like its hero, Max Payne 3 has its flaws. 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. This new spin on familiar action is proof, if proof were needed, that there's life in the old dog yet.
- GiantBomb: 4/5 - Rockstar Games modernizes and makes Max Payne its own, creating something grittier and more grounded in reality, if not quite as singular.
- Eurogamer: 7/10 - What it has in abundance, though, is expensive-looking environments for Max to dive around in and then talk to himself, and that's just about enough to keep you going for as long as it takes to settle the score. All the same, 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.
- Edge: 7 - 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.