Let’s be honest, with a game as controversial as the development of Mafia III anything could be taken out of context. It’s not the insanity or the gameplay in general, instead the story of Lincoln Clay and the era relived, including the authenticity and depictions of racism. You can’t help but respect Hangar 13’s diverse story; welcome to New Bordeaux.
Mafia III is presented in the form of a documentary told by men closest to Lincoln one way or another. The most common speakers are Father James Ballard (Linclon’s priest), John Donovan and FBI’s Jonathan Maguire. But as every moment is re-imaged, you are in full control of the life of the man with truly nothing to neither lose nor gain.
The story begins February 27th 1968 (Mardi Gras) as you and your partner are stealing cash from a small fish for a bigger agenda. And before we find out just what that is we’re brought back seven days prior, specifically when Lincoln officially came home from Vietnam.
You’re home and back with Sammy, leader of the black mob who also happens in too deep with the Haitains. Sammy sends you to perform a job for crime boss Sal Marcano which pays big but have its repercussions.
Mafia III tells an astonishing story of a man seeking vendetta. But rather just looking to kill Marcano, Lincoln does everything he can to destroy Sal’s life from his business’s to his family, hopefully ending with his life.
The game is an open-world environment that easily resembles an earlier themed Grand Theft Auto. Throughout the story there are plenty of racial slurs thrown out, which is a questionable feature the gaming world, but it never disrupt the integrity of overall gameplay or the story. Yes, even as distasteful as considered Hangar 13’s decision to detail the era as much as possible was a smart move.
There’s plenty of missions as Lincoln looks for every tied to Marcone before aiming at the head of the operations. Before tackling individual bosses you have to get them out of hiding by damaging their businesses. Some side objectives are optional while completing objectives as you are able to complete goals before going to every designated area. Financial damage is implemented quite a bit becoming monotonous sooner than later.
Combat in Mafia allows run and gun, cover systems and stealth tactics. Playing as a one-man army, I found it best to whistle enemies closer and go for the stealth kill rather than shooting every place like a mad man. It was also wise to shoot in one location and sneak in for the kill as the enemy focused on your last known location similar to Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid.
Associates are unlocked throughout gameplay as you recruit new underbosses such as Cassandra, Burke and others that runs certain area within each district. As you perform and complete certain tasks and objectives certain types of items will unlock based on your relationship with acquaintances. While one allows an arms dealer to drive to your exact location I preferred having my cash picked up and stored, protecting income you’ve earned and making it less of a risk when dying and losing funds.
Driving is the same as most games, but I did enjoy seeing the speedometer and rear view mirror on screen. Driving around the city again will remind you of the long drives in GTA, however the police are much more engaged based on your skin color and eager to pull you over with the least bit of suspicion.
There are three radio stations in Mafia that capture a fun and adventurous, yet authentic soundtrack to the era. There are also plenty of books to find throughout Louisiana from real playboy magazine issues from the 1960’s, albums, propaganda and more.
The biggest setback to the overall experience in Mafia III is the lack of multiplayer of any sort. Mafia has a great story and an even better delivery, but once you’re finished with Mafia there’s not much else to do besides scavenger hunt for the remaining items around New Bordeaux.
I also noticed characters clipping through each other quite a bit. For example there was a lady that ran completely through a newspaper stand turned around and stood glitched into the man selling the papers. Though highly noticeable it doesn’t affect the overall story.