Release Date: October 7, 2016
ERSB Rating: Rating Pending
When I heard that Mafia 3 was getting made, I was pretty ecstatic. I had thoroughly enjoyed Mafia 2 for what it was and felt it was time for a new open world crime game after playing GTA to death. I didn’t hype myself up for it though. I had learned from the recent past (Fallout 4) that it was best to wait and see when it comes to sequels. I would like to point out that while I enjoyed Fallout 4 I was let down by the lack of content and the fact that there was basically no game world distractions. That brings us back around to Mafia.
Due to me experiencing Mafia 2‘s lack of content in the open world of Empire Bay a few years previously, I was adamant that I would get Mafia 3 once it was at least half off to get my money’s worth. I didn’t have to- a mate of mine lent me the game not long after the launch so I booted it up and hoped for the best.
The title screen hooked me right away because it’s got the Jimi Hendrix cover of ‘All Along the Watchtower’ playing over it. You find out straight away that the story in this game is going to be told in an original way. Basically thirty some-odd years after the timeline of the game which is set in 1968, a documentary is being made about the protagonist Lincoln Clay. The documentary runs throughout the game talking about what Lincoln does and mentions what happens to a character before you’ve actually killed them. It’s a cool and innovative way to tell the story. The story is the strong point of Mafia 3. You play Lincoln, a bi-racial orphan and Vietnam Vet, hellbent on revenge after the Italian mob murdered his surrogate father Sammy Robinson who is part of the Black mob and is a close friend of Lincoln. They also attempt to murder Lincoln by shooting him in the head. Lincoln survives and is brought around by another close friend, Father James, the moral compass of the game.
The game is set in the ’60s in the deep south and I applaud the developers for not toning down the racism and general attitude towards minorities in the game. Playing a bi-racial man who is looked down upon by society gives you this mindset that you will do everything in your power to oust anyone who gets in your way including the Southern Union- a group in the game who’re associated with the KKK. This was a major time in US history and to tone it down would be to spit in the face of the men and women who suffered for years to have their voices heard. In the game, the police always find you suspicious because of your colour of skin. If you commit a crime in a black neighbourhood, the police response is slow but if you commit one in a rich white neighbourhood, they’ll be there in seconds searching for you. A lot of shops are racist in the game too, automatically eyeballing Lincoln as he innocently walks in. They almost always have ‘whites only’ signs on their doors as well.
Credit must be given to the developers- Hangar 13- for creating New Bordeaux. New Bordeaux is a fictionalized version of New Orleans. It is a huge city complete with bayou and the detail is incredible. There is a nice dynamic weather system with blinding sunshine and stormy rain but there are a few bugs with it which I’m sure they have patched out by now. I’m not really a big car guy but I’ve always been a fan of those gorgeous American muscle cars that started showing up in the ’60s; driving around the bayou in one of those bad boys while Credeence Clearwater Revival is playing on the in-game radio is cool as hell. The soundtrack is sensational in this game; it’s packed to the brim with ’60s hits from artists such as CCR, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys and many, many more!
So there’s no problems in the music department, the location is cool, and the story is well-written and expertly voice-acted. What’s the problem with Mafia 3 then?
Well just like Mafia 2, it’s the lack of content. As I was saying above, the story is fantastic but that’s the whole game. I struggle to think what could keep anyone playing this game after a play through. The only thing you do in the game is take over rackets which usually just means that you’ll be entering a shooting gallery every five minutes, shooting the gangsters, then rinsing and repeating. It’s fun for a while but it gets way too repetitive half way through- I found myself doing the ones I had to to progress the story then skipping the rest because they were pointless. Other “side activities” include driving a long way down into the bayou, stealing a slow truck filled with drugs or guns, driving a long way back up even slower and then delivering them to the racket boss who assigned the job in the first place. There are plenty of collectibles to be found in the game but that’s all they are- they don’t serve any purpose and the game doesn’t reward you for collecting them in any way. In an open world with cars, I expected to be driving a lot but there is just way too much driving in this game for no reason. There’s no quick travel option and it just makes me think the developers are being a little lazy and trying to up the gameplay hours of their title by making us take tedious trips everywhere. You make a lot of money in the game too but there really isn’t anything to spend it on. You can buy some upgrades and buy guns and ammo to give you an edge on the competition but it just feels empty.
I guess my biggest complaint with Mafia 3 is that when you take over territories, you don’t really feel like you are taking them over. Sure you’ll see some of your guys in buildings that you cleared out and you’ll get a cool, violent cut-scene when you take out the main boss of that district but that’s it. You’ll most likely never visit that place again because there is nothing left- no side activities, no distractions, nothing. That is the major flaw with this game and it seems they didn’t learn from the issues we all took with predecessor Mafia 2.
This piece might sound a bit critical in places but you should still definitely play this game. I just recommend getting it when it’s on sale. The first batch of DLC will be getting released for it soon too so they might add something there but it’ll too little, too late for me I’m afraid.
As a footnote, I’d like to say it was pretty cool that they brought Mafia 2 protagonist, Vito Scaletta, back. That man is one cool cat.
Final Score: 7/10.
Words by Gerard Thornton