UPDATE: After finishing Mafia 3 with every ending my score from the in progress review remains unchanged. While there is some slight repetition in the game’s missions, the many ways in which you can approach each one keeps things going. The story was so well acted and executed in a way that has me excited to see what is on tap for the upcoming expansions.
My copy of Mafia 3 arrived as I am in the middle of playing through Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4) for review. Needless to say I have not been able to complete the game as of yet as I am trying to get the most of my first play through to make an accurate judgement. With that in mind, I have put roughly 10-15 hours in and here is what I think of it so far.
Story and Gameplay
Lincoln Clay’s story of betrayal and revenge is a powerful one at the early stage I am in. If you have seen any of the many gameplay videos for Mafia 3 that have been released prior to launch, then you have already seen that Lincoln and the Black Mob were betrayed by the Italian Mob and Lincoln must start his own mob and wage war on the Italian Mob. The intro mission that lays all this out is handled extremely well and by the end of it I was ready to go to war myself . The game’s 1968 era world is extremely well designed. The developers tackled the racial tensions of the South in the 60s with care and respect and you can tell that everything was designed to tell a great story and not just another excuse to use the “N-word” in a game.
NPCs throughout the game world will respond differently to Lincoln’s presence depending on where he is. In his own neighborhood for example many of the residents will say hello while in the suburbs or in more rural areas he may be told that he “doesn’t belong here” or something even harsher. I was actually referred to as the N word by a random police officer NPC just for walking by him in the Downtown area. The controls work well and it takes almost no time to become familiar with all of the mechanics involved. Combat and stealth work well with some brutal finishing moves that would make the Mortal Kombat development team cringe.
Driving, a big part of the game works better than most games in the genre so if you find yourself swerving and crashing into things it is most likely your own fault.
The graphics especially in the full cut scenes are great and the acting is top-notch. When experiencing the story scenes it is possibly to imagine this as a show on FX or AMC. The open world looks great and even though I have never been to New Orleans (the city Mafia 3‘s New Bordeaux is based on) I wouldn’t be surprised if the look is true to the source. Each of the game’s 10 districts has its own distinct look from the suburbs to the gator filled swamps (I find myself more fearful of the gators than the enemies).
During my time with Mafia 3 so far I have run into a few minor graphical glitches (my favorite being a car driving past me roughly 4 feet off the ground) but nothing too serious especially given some of the things I have seen in the first few weeks following the launch of other open world games.
Music and Sound
The overall sound is great with the voice actors providing exceptional performances all around. The soundtrack has easily become one of my favorites with over 100 licensed tracks from the 60s and earlier (check out the full track list here: https://playstationhaven.com/2016/08/23/full-mafia-iii-soundtrack-revealed/).
I have been looking forward to getting my hands on Mafia 3 in my own home all year and so far I am not disappointed. If I had to rate the game now I would give it a 8.25 out of 10. I will update this page as I progress further into the game until it becomes my full review and time will tell if that score changes. I will say that something catastrophic would have to happen in my next few hours of gameplay for me not to recommend you go out and pick up Mafia 3 now.