Note: this review is based on the single-player campaign only.
Rockstar has gain notoriety for its open world games such as the GTA series and Red Dead Redemption. Max Payne 3 is a different kind of sport, a progressive storyline with a conventional sequence of missions (or chapters) and a pre-determined path.
The cinematic nature of the experience may feel overly scripted as the action is often inter-mediated with cut-scenes with variable lengths - from short contextual scenes to long narrative sequences. This is as close as you'll get to playing a movie. Don't let that discourage you, though. There's plenty of action to keep you on your toes and the many chapters often culminate in epic Hollywood style stunts that are as over the top as they are fun to play through. Max Payne 3 is the video game equivalent to Quentin Tarantino meets Michael Bay. On steroids.
This is also Rockstar's most polished work to date. Max's movement is smooth and organic, interacting perfectly with the surrounding environment. The conceptual design is also quite extraordinary. The game trully shines when you enter the "favela" for the first time. That journey alone, which plays a central role in the game's storyline, is something every action gamer should experience - and basically "worth the price of admission" for itself.
The great thing about Max Payne 3 is that it's not just about traveling through corridors or streets shooting at things. This is a game where "things happen". In one moment you're venturing through the narrow alleyways of the slums, trying to survive a street gang attack, in the next you're deep in the midst of large scale open war, avoiding a military police raid while still attempting to figure out what is really going on and how you've got yourself into that mess in the first place.
Max Payne 3 is a surprisingly good game with a mature storyline that holds no punches, containing ultra violent Tarantino style action that is as fun as it is rewarding to play. If you love action games with a solid story this is a game you really shouldn't miss.