Publisher Rockstar has lifted the review embargo on Max Payne 3, which hits the US today and arrives in the UK this Friday.
At the time of writing the game has an 87 per cent average on Metacritic, including three perfect scores.
“Max Payne 3 marks an exceptional comeback for the series,” GamesRadar says in its 10/10 review. “While prior games were certainly dark tales, the stories of addiction, double and triple crosses, as well as some grim surprises ripped straight from urban legends.
“It maintains the mechanics that made the prior games great while modernising them to excellent effect. Between the arcade mode and multiplayer, there’s enough substantive content to keep you hooked for some time.
“While there are some mechanically wonky moments, they’re too miniscule to tank a stellar sequel that was worth the wait. Between its pacing, its presentation, and its excellent gunplay, Max Payne 3 has raised the bar for other action games to follow.”
GameSpot awarded the title 9/10, saying: “While the multiplayer is enjoyable, the single-player campaign is a knockout. There's incentive to return to the campaign and conquer it on higher difficulty levels, or to tackle the leaderboards in Arcade mode and in New York Minute mode, in which you race through levels, earning time for each kill.
“They say the more things change, the more they stay the same, and one thing remains true: you can still count on the Max Payne name to deliver some of the most stylish, distinctive, pulse-pounding shooting around.”
OXM UK settled on 8/10, concluding: “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.”
Future’s Edge magazine was slightly less enthused, however, scoring the title 7/10: “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.”