Max Payne 3

Popular third-person shooter heads south of the border in this long-awaited sequel

The first couple of Max Payne games played like the hard-boiled crime fiction of Frank Miller’s Sin City comics filtered through the action of vintage John Woo movies. With the franchise now coming under the control of Grand Theft Auto creators Rockstar Games, this belated third entry looks to shake things up in terms of aesthetics. As evidenced by the mis-registered imagery, random subtitles and sickly green and yellow palette, this is Max Payne as envisioned by somebody who has spent too much time watching Tony Scott’s Man on Fire and Domino [that’s me – HCC Ed].

Not that I’m complaining. This aesthetic decision fits perfectly with Rockstar’s ongoing attempt to combine the worlds of gaming and movies. Coupled with the studio’s typically hard-hitting Dolby Digital soundtrack and knack for crafting top-notch set-piece action scenes, the stylish visuals also help to disguise the rather simplistic nature of the gameplay. Okay, you spend a lot of time diving through the air in slow-motion, but at the end of the day it’s essentially the same shooting gallery it’s always been.

A little more originality can be found in the generous set of multiplayer options. And there’s also the promise that ‘Crews’ created here can be carried over to the forthcoming GTA V.

Rockstar Games, Xbox 360/PS3, £50 Approx, On sale now