Mafia franchise is always famous for raising great expectations with each new release. The third iteration of the series developed by Hangar 13, and supported by 2K Czech (developer of the first two installments of the series), has created a TPS action-adventure, open world game set in the Louisiana of the late 60s. Undoubtedly, the strengths of the franchise is it’s realistic atmosphere, movie-like narrative, and fun gameplay, what makes it unique about the series.
How do you become a made man in the Mafia ..?
The first thing to know is that Mafia III puts us in 1968 in the US city of New Bordeaux (the equivalent authentic New Orleans in the game). This important city in Louisiana live moments of social upheaval because of racism, prostitution, the emergence of new drugs were the biggest problem, the uprising struggle between mafias was also destroying the city. We play the game as Lincoln Clay, an African American guy who served as the special forces of the United States during the Vietnam War and now seeks to ally himself with other partners to dominate the city. Given this reality, it is clear that the strength of Mafia III , and by which can make anyone ignore the downfalls, is its excellent atmosphere and great narrative. The game begins with a sweeping prologue and makes it clear that the plot will have a very cinematic cut. With flashbacks and flash – forwards to show us the social reality of the time and the consequences of an important era in American history. In addition, the characters are very well built and have personality, which altogether makes a great plot that will hook you quickly . Finally , it is important to note that physical violence and social rawness will be very present, and get prepared for some really heartbreaking moments.
The problem is that only the main story in Mafia III has a great narrative and playable structure. As in any open world game has secondary missions, collectibles, and voluntary actions, well at times it has some originality, blending nicely with the main story. Harassing certain people, placing mics around town or kill leaders of the neighboring gangs will be our secondary tasks thorugh out the game and although it is fun to feel how it increases our power, it feel somewhat repetitive becuase we often seen these in open world games. Our goal is to dominate the city district by district and go earning the favor of different partners to conquer New Bordeaux . Thus, each neighborhood will give us missions that will weaken the rival leader to the point of having us to face him directly and show him who is the new boss. After conquering the district, we give these areas to our partners control and gain their favor. These partners, which will be the main focus of the narrative, a series of missions that only get better as you finish each one of them.
Among the services you will find a van that brings weapons and ammunition to the place you mark on your map, and much more as you unlock. These services will improve as you progress, but also its worth to unlock new weapons, vehicles and personal skills. Another important point is that these partners can offer timely assistance that can be paid with favors. These favors allow us, for example, call a group of armed gangsters if you got stuck in a difficult situation. In short, the system domain neighborhoods and partnership with mafias is well built, offers a variety of options and feel realistic, the problem is that after several hours game mechanics tend to recur and the main plot, but has a lot of strength and showmanship, resents by failing to keep pace should.
Dominating the city is our highest prority, and while achieving that goal Mafia III presents a precise and dynamic control mechanics. The first thing that stands out is that they have created a control system that is stealth oriented yet it plays perfectly in all kinds of situations. We can walk crouch, use hedges to move undetected and perform silent kills. In addition, Lincoln has skills and objects to draw the attention of the guards, which adds a fun strategic element to the gameplay. Trying to facilitate our gaming experience, they have included a visual indicator of whether or not we are calling the attention of the enemy, which is useful if you want to perform a clean and classy work. Similar to the style of Hitman’s instinct vision, allow us to detect enemies even through walls and see clearly the important objects of the stage. This aid, although very useful, it completely breaks the realism and immersion of gameplay.
If you want to overcome the missions undetected you have to use hedges and shadows to hide from enemies, besides raising a good strategy for stealth is good to avoid any unnecessary action, as Mafia III offers multiple access points and possible paths , which brings variety to the missions. However, if you prefer to be more direct and aggressive, the title also offers the possibility of entering into fun shootouts where controls are responsive and accurate. There are a lot of weapons, all perfectly designed aesthetically and with a tremendously realistic behavior and recoil. To pick them during game there is selection wheel for quick access. Machineguns, pistols, shotguns and Molotov cocktails, are some of the available weapons, although we begin to acquire more with the money you win and with the help of our partners. In this sense, Hangar 13 has included three control modes: Unaided, allowing us to freely handle the weapon, medium assist that provides a small assist, and finally full aim assist, which will greatly assist your shootings. Although playable feelings are great, the enemies (AI) show very predictable behavior, poor coverage, and search, yet they will try to outflank you by working together. Mafia III offers three levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, and Hard, the latter being the most recommended to enjoy a more realistic gaming experience and a more demanding challenge.
Whose that behind the wheel
Driving in a game of this nature is always very important, and Hangar 13 has invested many resources and dedication to make it as realistic as possible. All cars have been perfectly recreated visually accurate and performance level, offering a fun and equally demanding control. Mafia III includes two driving styles: Simulation, with more realistic and a more demanding physical controls; and Arcade , where fun over realism rewards. Car controls behave as it should, modeling of each car is also consistent, and the location of the camera (although it is missing an inside view) allows you to enjoy a well-designed section. Another challenge that you will face while driving is the police. The police department of New Bordeaux perfectly reflects the situation of the era, and always act effectively; they will show up faster when the crime is being committed in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, and they may even join the mobsters of the area if you are in the slums. The police also have a blue flag to determine whether or not we are getting their attention and although you have to go nuts behind the wheel before they start to haunt you.
The police will activate a red search area which can be seen on the minimap and if we are located during this time, they will not hesitate to shoot before asking. If we avoid the initial chase, the police will proceed with a much less aggressive search and the blue zone eventually disappear. The artificial intelligence is still not as effective as it should be, but there are moments it offers a realistic behavior at a strategic level, overall it will not become a difficult challenge.
Welcome to New Bordeaux
A key element of any game open world city, and here Hangar 13 has done an excellent job. New Bordeaux presents an environment that fits perfectly with the times : it has good neighborhoods defined by their social, cars, weapons and clothing are a true reflection of the real, natural areas have great beauty, there is a huge amount of small very well recreated details and scope is broad, however, the city feels too empty and lifeless . Not many people on the street, very little traffic on the roads.
Hangar 13 has made a selection of brilliant musical themes, often you are going to wait in the car to finish a song before starting the mission. Artists like The Animals, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin will be present in the different radio stations, with more than a hundred themes soul, funk or rock also superbly made cinematics are what makes Mafia III amazing.
Graphics and Sound
All this detailed work of art in Mafia 3 has some popping problems as objects appear in distance all of a sudden that becomes more evident when driving. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see cars, trees or people appear to just a few meters from us. But visual problems do not end here, Mafia III presents difficulties with global illumination in open spaces ; such as textures that react in unrealistic ways and worst of all, in a game that has dynamic day, night cycle along with climate changes. Clouds blocking the sun to advance, then quickly back to clear skies creating unrealistic effects of sunlight, some texture problems and a lot of bugs are some of the most obvious graphical problems. What is surprising is that as soon as you enter and indoor area, all those problems disappear, then you can enjoy a much more accurate lighting. Very life like color tones, global illumination that seamlessly interacts with its environment and most importantly, the feeling of being in a realistic setting. Mafia III runs at 30 fps on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, while PC has released a patch to reach 60 frames per second or more . Fps rate remains stable most of the game, although, in moments of action or scenes of very busy traffic, you may detect drops in fps.
No doubt, though Hangar 13 has done an outstanding job while recreating the setting of the era, we expected to see the same quality during outdoor scenes where the visuals are poorly optimized for today’s standards. Although the developer has already confirmed that soon they are going to release an update which will improve the performance of the PC version and, according to the latest news, the PlayStation 4 Pro will present better visuals as well.
From the outset, Mafia III makes it clear that its greatest value is the sublime atmosphere and brilliant narrative on which already makes the series unique. The cinematic approach, and the perfect recreation of each character along with a great story, Mafia 3 offers hours of entertainment. Additionally, Mafia III offers a very fun gameplay that allows us to use stealth or direct action, but the enemy AI has problems to develop a realistic behavior. In regards to driving mechanics, vehicle control is very satisfactory and, like weapons, controls feel very realistic. It is also important to note that the soundtrack, with a selection of themes that perfectly blends with the action and creates an unforgettable experience.
However, despite all the highlights, secondary missions feel repetitive due to using the similar type of missions that becomes a cliche of the genre and uninspired elements. The visuals while playing outdoor is far from expected but as soon as you get indoor area, it offers a great result, the game engine shows an unrealistic lighting and stability problems in open areas. We have expected more than this especially this title being the third installment in Mafia series, although fans of the genre and those who are attracted by Mafia series excellent atmosphere and great gameplay mechanics will entertain you. If you are looking for a title with great narrative and many hours of gameplay, look no further Mafia 3 is here.