Mafia III an unexpected disappointment from 2K Games
Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00
Mafia III has some memorable moments, some even bordering on brilliant, but it never really ascends to the incredible heights of its predecessors. With too many repetitive filler missions, sandbox-style gameplay reminiscent of titles from the last decade and technical blemishes from start to finish, Mafia III is a rather unexpected disappointment from 2K Games.
You are cast as Lincoln Clay, a man who encapsulates pretty much every mobster cliché there is. You are an orphan, a war hero and the victim of a vicious betrayal at the hands of the city's crime boss, Sal Marcano. Clay starts at the bottom - or, rather, restarts there after everything is taken from him - and must not only destroy his enemies but slowly build up a crime empire of his own, recruiting allies to run each district of the city that he takes over.
What sets the events of Mafia 3 apart is the element of race: Lincoln is black, and in a southern U.S. city in the late '60s, that means everything. Throughout the course of Mafia 3 you won't just be mistreated by mobsters, you will be universally despised by most of the people you come up against, and even society as a whole.
While this adds another layer of fury to Lincoln's crusade, I was rather disappointed to see the racial narrative drop off around the game's half-way point.
Mafia III does nothing to distinguish its generic moment-to-moment gameplay from that of other sandbox shooters, and its core mechanics can't even nail the basics--at least not completely. Swapping cover feels awkward, enemy AI is highly unintelligent, weapon variety is simply nonexistent and combat is just a general bore.
Another one of Mafia III's major pitfalls is the incredibly repetitive mission structure. Most open world games are a glorified checklist, but at least they hide it well. Mafia III just feels like all filler, and the narrative slows to a crawl after the promising opening act.
Playing as a black war veteran in a segregated city is a compelling concept, but Clay is a deeply uninteresting character, whose place in the world is far more interesting than anything he does or says.
Mafia III is a wholly unoriginal and joyless revenge story. It's a true shame that it couldn't deliver on the promise of the first two Mafia instalments. Definitely avoid this one.
PS4 / PC