Fortunately, Mafia III does manage to walk this line well, and in telling its tale of how Vietnam veteran, Lincoln Clay, took down a criminal network infesting New Bordeaux – a stand in for real world New Orleans – it handles topics such as race relations, discrimination, morality, and revenge quite well. A bigger surprise perhaps, is it also manages to work race into some of the gameplay elements. The first of these is the way that the police responds to your crimes, which scales depending on which neighbourhood you’re in; the more affluent the area, the quicker the cops will show up. The second is the racial segregation of some locations in the open world, where, should Lincoln – who’s of African descent – enter one of these establishments, he’ll be harassed to leave, with the police being called if you don’t comply.
With a clear desire to get the feeling of the era right it should be no surprise that the strongest aspect of Mafia III is by far its presentation. Full of snappy dialogue, and memorable – albeit occasionally cartoonish – characters, it’s partly told in a documentary style, with talking head interviews cropping up in-between major story beats, so that characters – now noticeably older – can recount their own view of events. This really unique framing device helps explore character motivations in added depth, but does it in such a way that it doesn’t feel like ham-fisted exposition. Buy the Mafia III PlayStation 4 Standard Edition Best price online from CELLULAR KENYA,Nairobi
It’s all so disappointing since the game plays perfectly fine in most of its other areas. The cars handle as you’d expect, giving you the opportunity to channel your inner Steve McQueen, and take corners sideways. The cover-based gunplay is punchy and satisfying – mainly due to the excellent reaction animations and gunshot sound effects – and there’s an expansive upgrade system that unlocks new items and services, depending upon which of your three underbosses you assign a captured district to. You need to be careful, though, as neglecting one of your Lieutenants not only cuts off certain upgrades, but they might also turn on you as well.
Despite so many positive areas in terms of the core mechanics, though, the weakest link turns out to be the stealth. Normally you’d view it as a positive that a game lets you approach any of its encounters with guns blazing or on the sly, but the short-sighted AI – which also happens to be as thick as two short planks – makes it laughably easy in Mafia III. Armed with Lincoln’s ability to see enemies through walls and a whistle – that helpfully only attracts one person at a time towards your hiding place – you can take out entire buildings packed with gangsters, without a shot being fired. Unfortunately, by the time that you’ve become bored of taking over districts of the city, you’ll also have given up playing the silent assassin, instead gunning down scores of people in the hope that you can inject a little bit of excitement into proceedings.
It was a risky gamble to tackle such an incendiary era of US history, but Mafia III handles it much better than an open world crime game has any right to. It masterfully hits the target in terms of its characters, story, and setting, lulling you into a misplaced belief you’re playing something really special. Unfortunately, once the grind of taking over territory kicks in, and the lack of originality in much of its mission design is laid bare, it almost completely ruins the experience. It’s fortunate, then, that the excellent gunplay, the occasional enjoyable story mission, and the spot-on presentation provides just enough of an incentive to see things through to its bloody conclusion.