In this post I’m going to be sharing my Mafia 3 review for the PS4.
I played Mafia 2, but I never got to play Mafia 1. I enjoyed Mafia 2 when I finally got around to finishing it and I thought the story was great, while the gameplay was okay. The focus in Mafia 2 was obviously the story but you were able to drive around the city if you’d like, it was kind of an open world, but there was nothing much to do in that world.
That’s very similar to Mafia 3.
If you get Mafia 3 looking for an open world game like GTA or something in that vein, you’re going to be disappointed. Mafia 3’s strength is the story, the open world only serves as an addition to that story. Other than the collectibles (which include Playboy magazines, Vargas paintings and album covers just to name a few), there’s not much to do in the city of New Bourdeux outside of the main and side missions.
As stated in the promo up until Mafia 3’s release, everything you do in the open world feeds back into the story and has a purpose.
The main gameplay loop of Mafia 3 consists of talking to two contacts within an area of the city who then tell you to go and interrogate some scumbags to gain more information on the two rackets being operated in that section of the city. After that, you’ll attempt to do damage to that racket through robbing stashes, destroying property, killing VIPs and killing enforcers. Once you’ve done enough damage to a racket, the racket boss will emerge in their hideout and you can go and kill them or recruit them. Recruiting them adds more money to the racket profits while killing them nets you a small amount of immediate cash which was never worth it. When you recruit or kill both racket bosses in a section of the city, you then get a story mission to eliminate the boss of that section of the city. These missions are generally quite interesting and provide a nice change of pace. After taking the boss of that section of city out, you then have the choice of which of your lieutenants you want to hand that district over to. All 3 of your lieutenants offer you different perks and unlocks, so you can hand over more districts to whoever you find more useful to gain access to their perks and unlocks more quickly, but neglecting your other lieutenants will piss them off. I handed out the districts evenly amongst my 3 lieutenants and that turned out pretty fine.
You can raise the loyalty and earnings of your lieutenants by completing the side missions they give you, which are okay but definitely nothing to write home about. These aren’t The Witcher 3 side missions to be sure.
Most of your time playing Mafia 3 is going to consist of shooting, stealthily stabbing bad guys and driving from place to place.
The shooting in Mafia 3 is fun, the weapons pack a punch. It feels good to line up a perfect headshot and take your enemies out with ruthless efficiency. The AI is pretty good at flanking you and throwing explosives to smoke you out. They’re also super accurate with their shots, however they’re fairly easy to deal with as long as they don’t sneak up on you. That’s because you die really quickly in this game, a couple of shots will have your health non-existent, so you’ve always got to be aware of your surroundings.
The driving is serviceable but the lack of fast travel may annoy some people. You’ll have to cover a large amount of land to get to the bayou from time to time just to complete an objective within a few minutes and then have to drive all the way back; that’s annoying. However, usually you’ll have objectives that are spread across whatever district your in, and those are pretty easy and quick to get to. There is also a simulation driving option available that makes the cars more weighty and makes turning more difficult. The shooting while driving is the best I’ve experienced in any game. You can easily target people tyres and different parts of cars. You can’t target people on foot unfortunately, but this system has been needed in open world games for a long time and I am happy to see it implemented.
The stealth mechanics are very bare. You get to use the cover system and a vision indicator very similar to the one in hitman absolution and Far Cry 4. You can whistle to attract enemies or throw a voodoo doll to attract enemies to a specific spot. Other than that, you can silently take out enemies with a stealth takedown, which there are about four animations for. More variety in these animations would have been much better. The AI leaves a lot to be desired as far as stealth goes. You can kill enemies meters away from each other and they won’t notice, or kill an enemy just as he spots you, far away from his buddies but everyone now knows where you are.
And that brings us to the worst part of the gameplay – the bugs. Mafia 3 is ridden with bugs like a mattress on the floor of a traphouse. It’s bad. I didn’t run across any game breaking bugs, but I had to reload checkpoints about 5 times in about 25 hours of play. Some of the bugs include scripted sections not triggering, losing the ability to move, enemies all suddenly knowing where you are, objective markers not showing, objectives being changed without your input and at one point I lost the ability to complete an objective because it bugged out (however because there are a few different options to damage rackets, I was able to progress).
Some people may find the gameplay repetitive, but I had a bunch of fun with it and I ultimately enjoyed my time playing the game, however the bugs were a real annoyance and were far too frequent for my liking.
I’m not going to spoil the story or anything, but we all know this a revenge tale from the trailers. I think that was a bad decision. Not the decision to make this a story based on revenge, but the decision to reveal all that information in the trailers. In the first two hours of the game I knew exactly what was coming, however the writing, cutscenes and voice acting were great so that didn’t matter. But it would have been a better experience if I didn’t see the trailers. The story overall was great, I felt for the characters and Lincoln was a undisputed g.
The setting and the issues tackled within the game was also interesting, I have never seen a game showcase blatant racism like this one did, and I think it was released at the perfect time seeing as race is a big issue right about now. However, it didn’t really phase me to be honest. If a shopkeeper told me I wasn’t allowed in his shop I’d knock him out and that was that. If a gangster called me a nigger, I’d shoot him. I didn’t feel oppressed. At first I was paranoid about the police always watching me, but after I realised they wouldn’t do anything unless I crashed into someone or committed a crime, I stopped caring.
The story is the focus of this game and it shows; it was excellent. There’s also a bit of fan service for returning Mafia fans.
The cutscenes look amazing. The rest of the game looks cool. Nothing amazing, but nothing particularly bad either.
Is it worth the price?
If the gameplay loop I described earlier seems repetitive and boring to you, then it’s not worth the price. If you want to experience a great story with some good gameplay, but nothing really innovative except the vehicle targeting system, then grab this. You’ll get around 25 – 30 hours out of this, however with all the bugs I’d say this game is worth £30, £10 less than the asking price. I had fun and I don’t regret my purchase at all.