As of this article, I’ve spent nearly 10 hours in 2K Game’s Mafia 3. I will remain spoiler free, nothing I say hasn’t already been shown in the trailers.
The fictitious city of New Bordeaux is a bustling town full of iconic New Orleans landmarks, classic cars, and rampant racism. The game does take place during the tail end of the 60s, so references to Martin Luther King’s assassination and the Vietnam conflict are littered throughout. There is an opening text before the main game begins reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed’s religion disclaimer that warns the player of the difficult language and racist interpretations the game is going to display. They stand by their work and say to completely ignore and exclude this turbulent time in our history is a dishonor to the memories of those who faced it and fought so hard to change it. Suffice to say this game feels like how I imagine the 60s felt. Tense, gritty, and chaotic to use a few words.
Lincoln Clay is a veteran of the Vietnam War who comes home to find that his family is in a bit of trouble with different underworld entities. Anyone who watched even a single trailer knows this game is a revenge story. The “hows” and “whys” are left to the gamer to experience first hand. But, by the time the game’s introduction was over, some 2-3 hours in, I was also ready to make the villains pay. This is where the game finally opens up. The map was already completely traversable, as far as I could tell, but now you have reason to venture to those other areas. And, this is where I feel the game starts to get a bit repetitive. To carry out your revenge plan, you need to recruit some questionable allies to your cause. These individuals will be left in charge of the districts you take over offering you a cut of their profits and bonuses/favors to your character. It’s not a quick takeover, mind you. It’s a bit of a slog as you take out rackets and associates before finally getting the go ahead to go after the main guy, who won’t even show up as a questable objective until a certain milestone of financial damage is done. I would have liked the option to go after the head honchos, storming their base of operation, against almost impossible odds.
Herein lies the problem I have with Mafia 3. The gameplay mechanics are not at all enjoyable. Driving is terrible, the combat is generic cover-based shooting that I’m finding to be too easy, and the police are absolutely merciless (when I can actually get them to come after me). There’s a small tutorial note in the beginning of the game that warns you of police patrolling areas and to be mindful of your actions when passing them. This has not stopped me from running red lights, speeding on the wrong side of the road, and hitting other cars and the occasional pedestrian. This all happens in plain site of the boys in blue and there has yet to be consequences. Did I go into a pawn shop, shoot the clerk, steal $34 in the cash drawer, and then get gunned down by police outside? Yes, but that I understand. Why even have this little feature that challenges you to “behave” when you drive if you aren’t going to really use it? The game also suffers from some technical bugs as well. Clipping of people and cars, gravity turning off on vehicles I bump into, rampant pop-in, and lighting that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do sometimes. These are not game-breaking bugs, but they do hamper your experience.
As I said in the beginning, I am only about 10 hours into this game. From the map I can see that I have only visited about a third of the expansive territory, but the thought of still having to do all that work is exhausting. This game is going to be finished for the simple fact that I want to see where this story goes. And, that should be proof of the terrific script, voice acting, and directing. I could just stop playing and go watch YouTube videos, but I am stubborn and don’t like half-finished trophy lists. What I’m hoping, as I head back into that violent and corrupt city, is that the game offers more options moving forward. I’m hoping I haven’t already experienced everything but now I just need to do the same things over and over again in different areas of New Bordeaux. Whatever happens, I plan to stand by Lincoln Clay’s side until the bitter end.
Are you playing Mafia 3? What say you of your experience so far? Leave a comment below!