Mafia III an unexpected disappointment from 2K Games

By Chris Hayes - Games Review

Published 22/10/2016 | 00:00

Mafia III is a wholly unoriginal and joyless revenge story.
Mafia III is a wholly unoriginal and joyless revenge story.

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.

5/10

Mafia III

PS4 / PC

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