Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
Max Payne 3
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Max Payne 3 is most definitely a game not for kids to play, see, or hear. It contains a lot of brutal violence, blood, and gore (including the killing of innocent bystanders, without consequences). It deals with serious issues including depression, alcoholism, and loss. There is sexual imagery and partial nudity; strong profanity can be heard throughout the entire game, including racist comments; and drugs are seen and used in the game. Take heed to the "Mature" warning.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Rockstar Games' gritty MAX PAYNE 3 picks up eight years after the events in Max Payne 2. For the uninitiated, Max is a former NYPD detective whose wife and daughter were murdered in connection with a case, so he infiltrated the mob and killed off criminals outside of the law. In Max Payne 3, Max has left New York City for São Paulo, where Payne is working in the private security sector for a wealthy local family. But when his client's wife gets kidnapped, Max makes his way into the seedy underbelly of the metropolis and finds himself in the middle of deadly gang wars. As with past games, this is a third-person shooter with plenty of weapons and high-quality cinematics -- including slow-motion "bullet time" for dramatic moves and kills. The game also includes a multiplayer option for the first time, and other modes.
Is it any good?
Yes, the game is good -- but Max Payne 3 is not recommended for players under 17 years of age for its mature themes and graphic imagery and language. The lengthy single-player campaign -- penned by Dan Houser of Grand Theft Auto fame -- is very well written, has memorable characters and locations, and intense action that requires you to shoot, take cover, and think your way out of situations, too. Max Payne 3 also offers a thrilling multiplayer experience for all three versions of the game, as well as additional modes (like Score Attack and New York Minute) that extend the gameplay further. There is also downloadable content coming soon, too. While not for kids, tweens, or teens, this gritty "film noir"-like game is highly entertaining, beautifully designed, and delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this game would be just as much fun without all the mature themes, imagery, and dialogue. Could the game be dialed back to, say, a "Teen" rating instead of "Mature" and be just as entertaining?
Families can also talk about the impact of media violence.
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, storytelling
Social Studies: power structures
Science: motion, physics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, investigation, problem solving
Emotional Development: handling stress, identifying emotions
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Rockstar Games
- Release date: May 15, 2012
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love action and adventure in their games
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.