Driving around New Bordeaux in classic cars, killing mob bosses, and seeking revenge on the ones who turned on you. Welcome to the Mafia.
My 30 hours of Mafia 3 were filled with fantastic highs and very little lows. I was blown away by the phenomenal graphics and the incredible storyline that was produced by 2k Games. The minute to minute gameplay told the brilliant story of protagonist Lincoln Clay and allowed players to experience the spine-tingling brutality of the Mafia culture.
Like any action video game you can’t help but be completely immersed in the story, you’re rooting for your guy to make it out of the predicament he is in, and you can’t help but curse like a sailor when you die or get caught.
Mafia 3 is no different as it puts you in tough situations like escaping a federal building with bags of cash and holding off an entire unit of police. How do you escape? Simply aim your gun at a cop and fire until your ammo runs out. Well, it worked for me.
The year is 1968, and racial tension is high in America. You play as Lincoln Clay, a soldier in the Special Forces who has returned from Vietnam to a very different world. He wants to escape the life he had before the war, and heads back home to New Bordeaux, trying to find his place in a family he left behind. It didn’t go as he planned because Clay gets left for dead after Giorgi Marcano, the second antagonist in the game shot Clay in the head and burnt down the bar. Clay plots a plan for redemption and stopped at nothing to bring pain to his former allies.
Mafia 3 is set in New Bordeaux which is a fictionalised take on New Orleans. It is filled with diversity and nature which makes the game more realistic and very easy to connect with. From the Mardi Gras parades and above-ground cemeteries, Mafia 3 allows fans to explore the rich culture and scenery of the town which hasn’t been seen in a video game before.
Along with the fantastic scenery came some heavy themes that Mafia 3 doesn’t shy away from showing. It shows the fallout of the Vietnam war and the racism that was in America at the time. It shows the anger of a nation in the year of 1968. The year Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. At the same time, anti-war sentiment was growing as America was involved in the Vietnam war. When you play as Clay, you face these harsh realities of both conflicts. For example, if you steal a car in a wealthy neighborhood, cops will show up quickly and in full force. On the other hand, if you steal a car in a poor neighborhood, the cops might not even show up at all.
All of this is heightened by an amazing soundtrack from the era that sets the tone for Lincoln Clay’s journey throughout the game. As you drive down the streets of New Bordeaux you will hear everything from classic rock, country, soul and rhythm & blues music. In addition to being filled with great artists and songs of the day, the soundtrack acts as a character in the game, helping establish the gritty, southern mood and turmoil of the late 60s era. Selected tracks are used for specific, illustrative purpose to punctuate the dramatic mood of the moment and underscore the emotion Lincoln Clay faces throughout the game.
However, with a great soundtrack and a one of a kind story line, there is very little to do. The side-missions lack diversity and are not very rewarding. Taking over parts of the city involves repeating the same handful of tasks like simple assassinations, destroying some sort of cargo, or stealing something from a well-guarded compound. The constant repetition sometimes disrupts the immersion of the environment, because of weird repetitions that would never be heard of in any realistic or logical scenario. Even among other video games. The first time you do it you feel great, however, the 20th time – not too much.
Mafia 3’s strong characters and confident storytelling kept me engaged, even if the gameplay rarely delivered anything new. It’s a bummer because Lincoln is an incredible protagonist and New Bordeaux is a fantastic setting thematically, and it would’ve been great to see them put it to better use. – Kamilia Hanna
Photo from the Mafia Facebook page