Max Payne 3 Game Poster Image

Max Payne 3



Gritty action game overflows with gore, sex, and profanity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

While elements of May Payne 3 focus on understanding power structures and problem-solving, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive messages

There isn't much of a positive message in this game because it's loaded with violence, blood and gore, sexual imagery, drugs and alcohol, and strong profanity. That said, the story is partially about redemption, where the protagonist Max needs to be saved.

Positive role models

Max isn't a good role model as he uses gratuitous violence, is a heavy drinker, and swears a lot. But you feel sorry for this anti-hero, of sorts, because of his miserable life. For example, his wife and newborn were murdered in the past, in connection to a case he worked on while with the NYPD, which explains his depression, guilt, and anger.

Ease of play

The game should feel comfortable for those who've played previous Max Payne games, but might require some practice by newcomers to pull off his acrobatic moves and combat skills at the same time. Overall, however, it's pretty intuitive for consoles (the PC version wasn't played for this review).


The game is extremely violent, with plenty of gunplay, slow-motion effects (one of the first video game series to employ "bullet time"), and blood that spurts out of fallen enemies. Some cut-scene sequences show dismemberment following explosions. Max can also kill innocent people caught in the line of fire -- without any consequence for his actions.


The game has some partial nudity and sexual imagery, mostly in a scene where Max enters a strip club with pole dancers. In the background, however, you'll also see patrons with strippers (or perhaps prostitutes) on their lap or men pressed up against half-dressed women.


Very strong profanity can be heard in the dialogue sequences. This includes the words, "f--k," "c--t," "s--t" and "c--ksucker." There are also strong, inappropriate slang words that refer to someone's race, including "spic," and "n-gga."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The game contains a lot of imagery and references to drugs, drinking, and smoking. Max can get drunk and his vision blurs. There is cocaine seen on the table. And characters snort drugs, too -- but not Max, the protagonist.

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. 

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.

Families can talk 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.

Game details

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
Communication: listening
Available online?Available online
Developer:Rockstar Games
Release date:May 15, 2012
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol

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Parent Written byjohnsmith73 June 22, 2012

Game ON for ages 14 and up!

Like others in the max payne series, there is alot of slow motion violence. some of it contains blood, but it is not anything kids havent seen in call of duty. There is some sexual content, but it is not very strong. he walks through a strip club in one mission and you see dancers wearing skimpy outfits that reveal cleavege but no nudity is seen. on the back of the game it may say partial nudity, but that is because the ESRB rating system identifies it as "any act of revealing body parts,sideviews, or wearing revealing outfits." so it can be mis-leading to alot of parents. there is some language but it is pretty mild. other than this, the story of the game has good morals and a good character. in the quest to save his wife from a band of terrorists he manages to only kill when he has to, and only men, no women or children. my child is 14 and i watched him play the whole thingi thought it was almost as good as watching a movie. i hope this review helps.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bypredator x ogy June 29, 2014

give it a chance

I am a dad I have a 10 yrs old child and have played max payne 3. I think it is good it has lots of numeracy and you can skip rude content . If you go to the strip club it says warning put in pin code. The only rude content is on multiplayer. I make sure my child doesn't play online and he turns down the voice volume so no language can be heard. It is safe if you stay of multiplayer . co op campaign doesn't have rude content ever so you can play campaign with your friends it is super safe. Drugs are in multiplayer.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written byadam56 July 17, 2012

Fun Game.

By the age of 13, 90 percent of kids will have seen examples of most of the things in this game. For those who purchased GTA 4, this game is definitely okay. And the sexual content is primarily in a cutscene, which is easily skippable if you know what point in game it is.


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