Mafia III has certainly been one of the most anticipated games of 2016 by gamers. The bar of expectations has only been risen to new heights with 2K and Hanger 13’s clever marketing; we have seen billboards and cinematic trailers pretty much everywhere we have looked for the last couple of months. Could Mafia III live up to the super high expectations we as gamers have become to expect?
You play as protagonist Lincoln Clay, a black Vietnam War veteran recently returned home, trying to find his way back into civilisation. “Home”, is New Bordeaux; a southern easterly city in Louisiana, the city has a major port and is the key location for smuggling between the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
Due to his military background, Lincoln possesses a special skill set,including: stealth and infiltration tactics, hand-to-hand combat and he is an explosives and firearms expert. These skills certainly come in handy when Lincoln soon becomes involved in the criminal underworld of New Bordeaux and working with the Black Mob. You soon find yourself running things after you and the Black Mob were left for dead, when New Bordeaux’s Don (Sal Marcano) and his gang put a bullet thorough Lincoln’s head and savagely kill his “family”.
Lincoln becomes a one-man-army of destruction, whilst plotting to take out Sal Marcano and dismantling his grip on the city yet building his own empire at the same time. This is where Mafia 3 expresses itself and allows you to either kill bosses that run parts of town, or give them a free pass and have them work for yourself - earning you extra cash. In the long run, it does pay off to have them working for you in my opinion, as the more money you have later on in the game, the easier it is to get supplies etc.
Mafia III doesn't shy away from how tough life was in the 60’s in America and even more so, being someone of an African American descent. Although Lincoln comes across as highly self confident individual, they sure know how to portray the tough living of the 60’s era for a black man, regardless of the person’s background, or what they have done for their country. Racism has always been terrible in America and 2K open the game with a simple message explaining this.
With Lincoln’s character, the 60’s era, one hell of a setting and the whole mob thing, you would believe that these are all the ingredients, for the perfect dish. Unfortunately, this dish is missing something and the whole dish just tastes….. a little bland. Primarily, that comes down to how tedious the gameplay becomes after the first three or four hours. There’s only so many times you can hide behind an object, whistle and then take the enemy down; or, go in all guns blazing and come out the other side barely unscathed, before it all becomes a little too tedious.
This tediousness is caused by how many side missions there are and how many BIG missions there aren’t. After immediately being dropped in the shit, in an amazing bank robbery mission at the start of Mafia 3, you are left feeling excited for what is to come. Unfortunately, those BIG missions are few and far between and the story develops more via the amazing cut-scenes, rather than you as the player, developing the story.
Throughout Mafia 3 you are left picking your jaw up from off the floor when you are watching the beautiful direction of these cut-scenes, to the point you feel you could be watching a Martin Scorsese picture. So much so, I wouldn't be surprised if Hanger 13 hadn't taken any inspiration from such classics like Goodfellas or Casino - I also saw further hints of inspiration from American Gangster. However, this may just be me.
Mafia 3 manages to deal with the post Vietnam War and racism in a classy way, whilst addressing how awful that period of time was too - if you get where I am coming from on that subject. It is also refreshing to see a lead role, taken on by a black person. Throughout the game you truly are taken back by the amazing storytelling and how the game and it’s characters develops, accompanied with superb voice acting. The games soundtrack on offer also needs a mention too, as one of the best you will hear in a long time. This also takes place in the breathtaking, fictional town, in New Bordeaux. Unfortunately, there is still a sour taste left in your mouth, with too many side missions and repetitive combat are what drag the game down. Mafia 3 doesn't offer anything new in the terms of gameplay, but does offer a fantastic story, that you will want to see through. Thereafter, you will most likely be trading-in Mafia 3 for your next big release.