Xbox One Review: Mafia III

A game you can’t refuse?

Mafia III has been a long time coming, it’s predecessor came out all the way back in August 2010…so we’ve gone nearly 6 years without being part of another crime family. Has the wait been worth it?
The story follows a man called Lincoln Clay, who is fresh back from Vietnam and rejoins his old crew after some trouble with the Haitian gang. The story goes back and forth through time, while mostly being told through a mockumentary from people who knew Lincoln. It’s a good story and feels true to life, perhaps due to the racist nature at the time. Hanger 13 aren’t holding back how things were back in the 60s, so this is a good depiction of what it was like…even if it is awkward to watch, I’m glad they’ve not hidden from showing it.

Mafia III was never going to suddenly topple GTA V in terms of gameplay, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a more single-path experience, one that tells the story from start to end without any distractions. New Bordeaux is a nice looking city, but it won’t distract you as much as you would think…and as with past Mafia games, you need to obey the rules of the road to avoid police attention. Driving itself isn’t too bad, but it does feel stiff at times…perhaps due to the state of the cars back then, just like the past games.

Combat is a mixture of third-person shooting and close-quarters combat. You can also be stealthy in areas and silently take out enemies. The shooting feels fine, but the AI is far from the smartest…some will just wait to be mowed down by your machine gun/shotgun/pistol, while others will throw molotovs at you that you can shoot in mid-air to take them out too. There’s a cover system for the shooting areas and they usually give you enough room to manoeuvre. It’s not the best shooting system there ever was, but it’s functional and easy enough to get to grips with.
New Bordeaux has collectables to be found either through story missions or free-roam, which naturally adds to the replay value…but the real fun is just playing through the story. The plot is brilliant and the way it is told is unlike anything I’ve seen in a game like this before, it’s bold in it’s design and isn’t afraid to show the true nature of what it was to live in the 60s if you weren’t white.

Visually, Mafia III isn’t the best looking game out there. It also suffers from a number of bugs that I hear will be getting fixed, it also has random framerate drops. These problems aside, it does still look pretty good and the voice-acting is superb, as is the classic 60s music you hear either in cutscenes or on your car’s radio.

The Verdict

Mafia III may have it’s flaws in presentation and a few gameplay elements, but it’s a decent game overall. It was never going to beat GTA V, but it was never intended to. It stands alone with it’s gritty story, memorable characters and open world. Hopefully with some updates to improve performance, Mafia III can win back those who haven’t given it a chance. As for me, I’m off to collect more Playboy magazines…

Score: 7.8