Set in the city of New Bordeaux, the Mafia series makes a return to consoles and PC, as you control the protagonist Lincoln Clay and establish his empire.
Moving away from the standard Italian Mafia tropes, Mafia 3 recreates New Orleans (with creative liberties) as it was in 1968, and turns the conversation to something more serious – racism.
With shows like The Get Down and Luke Cage gaining popularity, Mafia 3 enters the fray at the perfect time. Mafia 3 does not shy away from recreating not just what New Orleans looked like in 1968, but also how the blacks, and people of colour, were treated. It doesn’t hold back in its language or in the background narrative which really brings the game alive.
For the first time, instead of playing the part of the Italian mob, you’re on a rampage to take them down. They shot you in the head, left you for dead, and now it’s time for them to be punished… you’re the Punisher Lincoln Clay.
Punisher references aside, I wouldn’t be surprised if some inspiration was drawn from ‘First Blood’ the first of the Rambo movies where John Rambo returns from NAM to a world that wasn’t ready for him. The green jacket, the huge knife, it all screamed ‘Rambo’ from the moment I saw it – which isn’t a bad thing.
Much like Rambo in First Blood, Lincoln knows his way around guns and knives. Tearing down enemy operations was basically his 9-to-5 while serving in the Special Forces.
The whole tale of how and why Lincoln decided to take out the Mafia is told by way of documentary footage and interviews. The cut scenes work really well to tie the whole narrative together.
The supporting cast is well written and have very interesting personalities that draw you into the story. Visually, the cast looks pretty good as well. The cut scenes are probably my favourite thing about the game.
The premise of Mafia 3 revolves around recruiting underbosses to run your own vice rings, in order to take down the people that did you wrong. Basically, you take down the current people running the rackets, and put your own people (the Irish, Haitians and Italians) in place.
As you work with the three factions they basically give you abilities that you Chan use in game like calling off a police chase or delivering weapons and cars when you need them. While they make the game a more convenient, they do come close to breaking the game as a challenge.
My biggest gripe with Mafia 3 though is the repetitive nature of the quests. The process to take over a district is almost exactly the same where you cause enough damage to the business, resulting in financial losses for the boss to lure him out.
You can choose to go in guns blazing or stealth in and take out the mobs with Rambo-esque dagger kills. Stealth though is extremely over powered and you can easily complete missions – so that it’s almost cheating.
While stealth is great to have, and not broken in itself, it’s really the AI that lets Mafia 3 down. Mobs easily fall for the same tricks over and over again and never quite “learn” or react the way they should when one of their own suddenly goes missing after he goes off to check out an unusual sound.
Mafia 3 is a big step up from its predecessors, and provides a great story with one of the most interesting backdrops in the form of New Bordeaux. Visually it’s a good looking game, but it’s repetitive gameplay and AI needs improvement.
New Bordeaux though has loads of potential. With the right patches, and the right DLCs, Mafia 3 could rule.