4.5 As Exhilarating as it is Frustrating drlowdon | 26/02/2013 | See all drlowdon's reviews (468) Whilst playing Max Payne 3 my opinion on the game changed almost minute to minute. One second I would find myself enjoying the action packed, if rather one note, gameplay the next I would be closing to turning off the game through pure frustration.Anyone that has played any of the previous titles in the series won't really find any gameplay surprises here and the bullet-time mechanic, while no longer as original as it was when the first game was released over a decade ago, can certainly still be great fun when you are able to get things right. The gunplay is also pretty solid but questionable design choices often make it seem as though the game is going out of its way to prevent the player enjoying themselves. Every so often the player will be handed back control following a cut scene to find themselves under heavy fire, if you don't get your bearings quick enough you're dead. A number of other sections will also see you killed pretty quickly if you go in all guns blazing leading to a frustrating amount of trial and error. On these occasions the game can become a generic, and rather average, cover based shooter forcing the player to pick of enemies one at a time. Try to imagine a slightly inferior imitation of Modern Warfare 2's campaign (including the favela) and you're not far off. Vest wearing bad guys that seem to be able to take three or four bullets to the chest and yet still continue to fire back at you only add further to the frustration. Having to repeat a section because you are killed by an enemy you assumed was already dead is not fun. Another of the games problems is that the gameplay doesn't evolve at all from start to finish. I wasn't expecting the freedom of an open world game but some choice in how to tackle certain missions would have been nice. Why could the bullet time mechanic not be used to help keep the player unnoticed by enemies for example?In terms of its characters and storyline this third outing is certainly aiming for a more serious tone. To be perfectly honest however this is another aspect of the game that doesn't really work. Many of the cut-scenes are longer than necessary and simply end up intruding on the gameplay. Listening to Mr Payne spout increasing forced 'film noir' type metaphors is almost laughable on occasions and by the end of the game I wasn't really paying much attention to what was going on.Thanks to some fantastically cinematic set pieces there is plenty of enjoyment to be had here but if this series is to attract me back for any sequels the developers need to get back to the drawing board and offer a bit more variety next time around.