When Grand Theft Auto originally came out the entire gaming community was in an uproar (both good and bad); Rockstar’s leading game for over two decades basically set the pace for games like The Godfather and Mafia. Over time as Next-Gen consoles come out they continue to push the envelope and scale of these games, content and gameplay. And thus we have Mafia III.
The story takes place in 1968 in New Bordeaux, a city that is based off of New Orleans. You play as Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam War veteran coming home finally from the war to reunite with family and friends in the black mob; however they are subsequently killed by a rival mob and Lincoln is shot in the head, but miraculously survives as the bullet only went through the side of his head apparently. After healing up you take to the streets and begin
recruiting people while also working with your old CIA handler from Vietnam to take over rival turfs in an attempt to get to the man that betrayed you and left you for dead.
I can honestly say that Mafia III is one of the more beautifully written stories in a video game, not to mention the visuals of the characters and environments only further compliment the diverse story. The game in of itself is huge with the map and area being bigger than Mafia and Mafia II combined. The developers did their homework too in regards to the lifestyle, look and feel; as you drive through the city of New Bordeaux you can almost feel that you are in a Southern Louisiana city. There is a revamped cover system, which is heavily advised as the gunplay feels more realistic, i.e. you can die pretty easily if shot just right by an enemy AI or with the right weapon. It’s also nice that there isn’t a fast travel system, thus forcing you to drive throughout the entire map of the game; however this can also be helpful as there are plenty of quests and items to interact with at almost every corner of the map since there are literally ten districts you can visit in New Bordeaux.
Mafia III can be offensive however; before starting there is a disclaimer about how much racial slurs and situations are in the game. But the developers also stated that it would be a disservice to how much prejudice and hardship the black community faced and endured during those times if they didn’t write the story accurately.
While the story, visuals and gunplay are on par and exceptional, it is also annoyingly repetitive; but one thing that does lack is an RPG element (which I think we GTA fans were spoiled with when it came to this type of gameplay). With as big and diverse as Mafia III is, there is really no customization to your character, or anything else, to make you the player feel more involved in the story; the open world aspect does feel like an open world map and almost endless yet it just doesn’t come out with a win when it comes to playing a diverse and layered character that you can manipulate to your liking.
Mafia III is a highly recommended game for anyone that likes a fast paced yet diverse, emotional and involving story; and if you’re a fan of GTA then I think you’ll enjoy this game anyway. However if you do like playing such titles and enjoy the RPG aspect then you might want to lower your expectations a bit for this game.