Mafia 3 [Review]

You know, for an Open World game that has a fair amount of flaws, it still stands out amongst most open world games of the current gen.

Mafia 3 is an open world game released on October 8th on PC, PS3 and PS4, developed by Hangar 13, it had high standards, considering It was a sequel to the well known and received, Mafia 2. Unfortunately, with those high standards, came a horrific downfall when game launch came around…Many problems were discovered, ranging from the game being locked at 30 frames per second, downgraded graphics, and horrendous AI. However, throughout my experience in Mafia 3, there were amazing moments which had me in awe.

Mafia 3 was a rollercoaster for me after it was hyped at E3, and discussed heavily in the Mafia Subreddit, I had incredibly high hopes for it, an open world game being released in 2016 is something of a rarity, considering that most releases this year were heavily focused on multiplayer and online gameplay. Mafia 3 took me by surprise, after reading many first impressions that were highly negative, I thoroughly enjoyed the experiences it has offered.

Based in 1968, Mafia 3 is about Lincoln Clay, a soldier returning from the Vietnam War, only to find out that his family have gotten into trouble with a bunch of other gangs, which leads you into a very intense, situation. Mafia 3, at it's core is a game about revenge, and it does it well. The story is definitely the strong point of the entire game, I’m going to be completely honest… I have never played a game that told a story so damn well before. Everything about it seemed to have an impact on me, some moments were so moving that I felt like I knew the characters on a personal level, kudos to Hanger 13 for creating such a fantastic, believable universe.

The Gameplay overall was a bit of a letdown. It gets repetitive very quickly, each sub-mission was copy pasted from the one before, in the early stages driving to location x and killing player y was fun, but after 10 times it became a drain. A positive of Mafia 3 is the combat, gun play was a definite positive during my 20 hours of play time. Shooting exchanges felt solid, bullet damage was semi-realistic, seeing a body go flying from a close range shotgun blast only to try pull himself back up only to collapse on the floor, was equal parts shocking and awesome. 

A quick piece of advice, when you're playing make sure you switch the driving mode to simulation, your vehicular based enjoyment will increase two fold. Throwing cars around the world and seeing them all react and handle differently was a pleasant surprise, there is a very diverse offering available, ranging from sports cars and sedans to 4x4s and trucks.

The city of New Bordeaux is gorgeous, ranging from small suburban areas, sprawling apartment buildings and casinos, to the swamplands of the vast Bayou Fantom. Everything looks amazing, the buildings, albeit sometimes similar, can make the city feel like a living, and breathing machine. The NPCs that populate the in game universe further help create a world brimming with life, characters are seen building houses, browsing and buying from local grocery stores and even gossiping. On the other hand NPC movement can be robotic and stiff, reacting to user controlled events in a lackluster way. All things aside, New Bordeaux is one hell of a setting, perfectly created to fit the era.

The characters in the game can be quite forgetful at times, mostly because there are too many to keep track of, however, the voice acting and the facial movements are in-fucking-credible. I have never seen such gorgeous motion capture utilized so perfectly before. The voice acting was also something that blew me away, the way Mafia 3 is designed, has the feel of you playing through a real life documentary, in which you interact and participate with, it is extremely well done.

The accompanying soundtrack is superb, simply put. Every single song that plays on the radio, or is even in the cutscenes, feels perfect for the setting and the era of The sixties. Driving around New Bordeaux with the top down belting out Johnny Cash or Creedence Clearwater Rivival is one of the games biggest highlights, the variety available within the radio stations will keep music fans both old and new as they go about their life of crime.

The biggest talking point in Mafia 3, is no doubt the racial undertones. Hanger 13 tackle in a big way, putting it right at the forefront of the game from the onset. Seeing the tension and sometimes hatred fired towards the black community can be a jarring experience, the emphasis on cultural differences during the 1960s is expertly and accurately portrayed.

To conclude, if you are a fan of Mafia 2, I would recommend waiting for Mafia 3 to be a little cheaper, $70.00USD is a little too much for a somewhat unfinished product. The things in Mafia 2 that made it so fun and enjoyable aren’t yet in Mafia 3 (customization comes to mind), however, Hangar 13 have confirmed that there will be an adding those features into Mafia 3 down the line.

Rating: 4 out of 5

+ Amazing setting and accurate portrayal of the 60’s era
+ Phenomenal characters with amazing motion capture and voice acting
+ Gun play is incredibly satisfying
+ Music suits everything so well
- Poor performance and the lack of features from the previous title let’s this game down