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Max Payne 3: the perfect antidote to shooter fatigue

Hands on with Rockstar's thrilling franchise reboot

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Rockstar's legendary Hollywood flair is evident throughout. Equipped guns appear in cinematics, and slow-motion cutaway kills let you know when you've cleared an area (in a sadistic twist, you can hold a button to decelerate the agony further). Cutscenes mangle together perspectives 24-style, and certain dialogue lines explode into captions as they're uttered. It's colourful but a bit contrived, and fans of the original may regret the loss of Remedy's graphic novel style presentation. Max retains his hard-boiled inner monologue, thankfully.

Strange as it may sound, Max Payne 3's feel is often closer to a schmup (or perhaps, Sega's The Club) than any rival third-person blaster: it's about spotting patterns and creating space for yourself within an encounter, rather than holding an invisible line. Trial and error is as fundamental here as maverick improvisation, despite the cushioning effect of Last Man Standing.

Another team might have struggled to marry this kind of retro brinkmanship with the more sedate, graded pacing of a modern blockbuster. Thus far, Rockstar looks to have nailed it. Max has put a few pounds on, but when bullets are flying, he's the same old angel of death.

Max Payne 3 hits shelves on 15th May in North America, 18th May in the UK and Europe.

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