The Good, the Bad, and the Terrible.
It’s tough reviewing a game like Mafia 3, on its surface it seems like everything is there for a perfect open world recipe. A great setting, New Orleans, er New Bordeaux I mean, a unique time period, the early 70’s, a good cast of characters, and possibly the best music soundtrack ever put to media.
Lets start with the story, which stars Lincoln Clay, terrible name by the way, it reminds me of a cheap Rocky Balboa villain, but anyway, you immediately like Lincoln, he has a great personality and a smile that literally draws you in, the team at Hangar 13 did a wonderful job with facial animations and it helps make this story of betrayal believable. It’s even more believable because of its Oliver Stone-esque documentary style of story telling. All of the story aspects work. And by far other than the soundtrack, is Mafia 3’s strongest aspect. Another strength is the city itself, and the way you are treated. Racism plays a role and if you’ve ever played Skyrim and chose the Khajit, a cat-like race that most shop owners don’t like to deal with, you’ll know exactly what I mean. It captures that time period perfectly but doesn’t necessarily add or detract from the game, it’s just fitting, and gets the point across.
So all sounds good so far right? Well that’s sort of where the good ends, gameplay, while doing mostly what Mafia 2 did, just feels stale, the stealth segments, with its whistle mechanic, reminded me of Manhunt, and Lincolns brutal stealth kills, he learned in ‘Nam are Rambo like, and awesome to see.
Which is good, because apparently he didn’t learn to shoot there. Maybe on the PS4 or PC it’s different, but on the Xbox One targeting an enemy felt sluggish and off. At first I thought “well there must be an upgrade system or a way to level up your character and Improve the shooting.” but nope, not at all. The only upgrades come in the form of how much ammo and med-kits you can carry.
And besides the terrible aiming, the lack of a real character upgrade system doesn’t motivate you to push on. For example you can break into buildings, and you do it often, why not reward the player for doing it well and often by say, making it easier to open locks eventually? It’s these non-video game choices that make you wish you were just watching this as a movie rather than tackling another kill everyone in the area mission, to see another cut scene. It all feels well enough, the sneaking, shooting, driving, but it never feels exceptionally fun. So why am I playing? What’s the payoff? And with little to do in the city other than to collect pictures of naked women that any human can readily see on their actual cellphone, you really find yourself wishing you were playing another game.
Much has also been made of the graphics, and how they are not much better than Mafia 2, and how the world isn’t as organic as Mafia 2. Frankly I wouldn’t care if the game was fun, and sadly other than a few moments early on, it’s not. I don’t think it’s a bad game, it’s just not ambitious. It’s as if they just wanted to tell an adult story with enough core game-play elements to sell a game. This would have worked ten years ago. But there’s far better quality games to be played out there for me to recommend Mafia 3.
I’m Sorry Lincoln Clay, you’re a great guy and I wanted to get revenge for you, but it just wasn’t for me.
Gamer Pantheon Score: 65 out of 100.
- Lead Character
- Beautiful City
- Great Setting
- Good Story
- Bland Gameplay
- Poor Aiming Mechanics