While there are many critics of this game already, I’m actually quite enjoying my time with Lincoln Clay. In fact, so far I’ve loved every moment of the story and the Mafia 3 cast have been excellent so far.
It’s a shame the gameplay is less impressive but it’s still enjoyable. And in my view has come in for some unfair criticism.
Here are my current thoughts of the game as I build towards the final review. I’m focusing on the plot and characters here and how the cast play their part. I’ll also be talking gameplay and where the game lets itself down. Also, you can find yourself a rundown of the main cast at the end if you are interested in who’s playing the roles in Mafia 3.
Here at MGL we don’t rush games to slap a number on them. I’ve been playing 4 days at the time of writing and have put in 12 hours or so. No major spoilers are included here, only plot points that have been shown in trailers are within.
Enjoy my thoughts so far and be ready for the final review in a few days’ time. OK, let’s have ourselves a sit down…
Dark, Well Acted and Engrossing
From the moment you start Mafia 3 you are dragged onto a very real feeling story. You’re presented with a documentary style account of events from present day, mixed with cut scenes from the time itself. There’s even some real footage mixed in too which really works well.
It all just feels right too and builds that sense of seriousness and mystery.
It’s not holding anything back either. The themes of the 60s are all there including the hate for communism in all forms. Racism too is at the forefront of the story. While it’s not the focus, the awful treatment and language is there. Lincoln can’t go inside certain buildings as there are “No Coloured Allowed” and it’s all rather painful at times to be playing someone treated in this way.
Everything sets a rather dark tone early on too and while there are some laughs along the way, this isn’t a nice story.
After a brief documentary introduction in the present day, you take control of Lincoln and soon his family. His loyalty and love for his adopted father and brother is clear from the beginning and some of the banter between the characters is excellent.
Following the really well done prologue; one that moves forwards and backwards in time and lasts just long enough to get some rapport with the characters. Everything suddenly goes to s**t.
People turn on you and your family and everything is turned upside down. Lincoln is left scared and enraged at Sal Marcano (the villain mob boss of the game) for what he has done.
That’s about as much as I can say without spoiling it. But the whole start of the game is fantastic, especially the acting of the main characters. Lincoln is great as you would expect the lead in a game like this to be so. But the supporting characters are very well performed by the Mafia 3 cast too. And this continues to evolve as you are introduced to other characters in the story.
Grand Theft Auto 5 really raised the bar for their games storytelling and acting. Mafia 3 does the same for the Mafia Series and, for me, is at the same level as GTA. The fact it has a more dark tone rather than satirical, may suit some gamers more.
Whistle, Stab, Dead… Repeat
Sometimes I get a bit head-scratchy when people start moaning about games being “repetitive”. I mean, they are all repetitive in some way. I’ve played FIFA and PES for years and get them each time, but regardless of the tweaks… I’m doing the same thing.
Call of Duty… Battlefield… Assassin’s Creed… even GTA!
I mean, these are massive titles all of them but, essentially you are doing, pretty much, the same thing over and over again. Both during the game you are playing and with each sequel that comes out.
So, when I see comments about Mafia 3 being repetitive I immediately roll eyes and move along to the next part of the review. Now, I do get what they mean. But the fault, in my opinion, is not in the repetitive nature of the tasks, missions or techniques you use. It’s the fact Hanger 13 haven’t made doing the same thing as interesting as they could. Nor have they added that subtle variety that makes all the difference.
For example, to take over a small territory held by enemy forces. This can be a warehouse, strip club, whatever. They have it; you need it, so you infiltrate it and kill or sometimes recruit the leader. To do this you can either have a big shoot out or go in stealthily. Shoot outs are ok at times but mostly you’re best going with stealth.
This is fine, if you have good enemy AI. And here is where the game is lacking; the goons are just that on every level. There are different classes like the Sentry that can call for backup if they see you (the others are clearly too stupid to use a phone) and the leaders/lieutenants that stay in their fixed location.
But all of these people can be vanquished with a single whistle!
Yep, just crouch down into stealth mode and get into cover close to an enemy. Do a whistle and they come pottering over. Hit the instant kill button and then do the next one the same way. They don’t even mind that there is a dead body of their friend there either! Sure, they react but instead of raising the alarm they continue to potter over casually and get stabbed in the face.
It’s fun at first but becomes a bit dull the 500th time. The enemies don’t even get smarter as you get more abilities either so it’s not the best situation. Had they made this more interesting, given more of a challenge to the stealth combat then it wouldn’t feel so repetitive. But as it stands, the lack of variety takes its toll after a while.
Otherwise, the gameplay is actually pretty solid. Nothing special in any way, very standard 3rd person action with decent cover shooting and movement. Driving is very GTA with some very cool 60s cars to take for a ride, plus the city is really nicely put together as you drive around.
Technically it’s not the best game I’ve seen on PS4 but the latest patch is holding up nicely and more will be coming I’d expect.
The game has a drive or be driven system for getting around. No fast travel but you can, after getting so far into the game, be picked up and driven to your locations which is cool. Plus there are plenty of collectables to be found including, ahem, Playboy Magazines you can look inside…
Saying no more!
While the game is far from perfect, it’s definitely not bad and not deserving of some of the harsh criticism and comments I have seen so far. It seems to me a very “gamer” orientated title that will divide you by what you like.
If you like a good story and some top acting performances in your game this is more your thing than someone out for the ultimate open-world sandbox.
What do you think of Mafia 3? Drop me a comment using Disqus below (social media sign in guys, it’s easy!). More coming on Mafia 3 with the review to be completed in the next few days as of writing. Until then check more of my articles out here and…
Mafia 3 Cast and Characters
|Lincoln Clay||Alex Hernandez|
|John Donovan||Lane Compton|
|Father James||Gordon Greene|
|Vito Scaletta||Rick Pasqualone|
|Thomas Burke||Barry O’Rourke|
|Nicki Burke||Dana Blasingame|
|Danny Burke||Jeff Schine|
|Sammy Robinson||Leith M. Burke|
|Ellis Robinson||Justice Nnanna|
|Sal Marcano||Jay Acovone|
|Giorgi Marcano||Mercer Boffey|
|Lou Marcano||Brad Leland|
|Olivia Marcano||Erin Matthews|
|Tommy Marcano||Christopher Corey Smith|