Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mafia 3

Rating: 7.2
Happy Price: 19.99

Taking place in the turbulent late 60's in New Orleans, Mafia 3 has a lot to offer from a historical and cultural perspective in many different ways. Cars, racism, language, music, weapons, and countless other aspects were nailed perfectly. There is a great sense of authenticity in every aspect of gameplay which is a difficult thing to pull off right. 


The strength of this game lies within the story and supporting characters which are incredibly detailed and developed for a video game. You play as the main character, Lincoln Clay, who is an ex Green Beret that conducted covert operations in Vietnam. When betrayed by the Italian Mob, he uses the same tactics in Vietnam to take down the gangsters that flood the streets of New Orleans. The game is portrayed like a documentary, with members of the senate interviewing your CIA correspondent that provides all the tactical data for your missions. It's a great way to show your characters past as a complete story, all the while developing your character in the present moment. It's one of the best narratives I've ever seen in a video game. 


It's a semi realistic open world with cars and guns, if you've ever played Grand Theft Auto or any previous Mafia games, it doesn't deviate much further than that. There isn't anything innovative here, its just stays true to the platform. 


Controls are tight and the driving physics are very good. Each car has a unique feel to it, and the shitty cars far outweigh the cool and fast ones, creating a nice system of always seeking and wanting the faster cars. Shooting while driving is simplified, as there is an auto targeting system that allows you to switch between what you want to shoot. This switches between the tires of a vehicle, the driver, or the engine, depending on what you're attempting to damage. You can only fire with your secondary weapon, so if you're built for stealth and have a silenced pistol you'll have a tough time shooting while driving. Wielding a .50 caliber revolver however, you can do some serious damage while driving. 

Stealth Combat

The best way to go about any mission is to use stealth, due to mob bosses having the police on their payroll, it's best you don't draw too much attention to yourself. Having the police and mob on you at the same time ensures death, or a loss of time since you'll have to evade the area to get them off your back. That said, enemy placement is designed for strategic stealth combat. It's very easy to lure enemies into your area and do stealth attacks, all the while avoiding others seeing it happen. The stealth attacks are gruesome and satisfying, usually involving multiple stabs to the neck and chest with a military Bowie knife, or quick throat slashes followed by a hug to break the fall. The green beret methods are reinforced and demonstrated. Headshots with a silenced pistol are a guaranteed kill as well, which is a huge plus over games that don't do this. I've never understood why it matters the damage rating of a gun in relation to headshots. Aside from bosses, headshots kill all enemies. There are some James Bond moments where you have to take out multiple enemies to remain detected, and getting three headshots in a row is very satisfying.

Shooting Mechanics

Mafia 3 uses a third person cover based system, and as stated earlier, rewards headshots and silenced weapons greatly. When shit hits the fan, or you anticipate it's going to, you can change up the arsenal to include more powerful weapons like an AK-47 or M-16 assault rifle. These more powerful weapons greatly enhance stopping power and allow for shots to the body to deal much more damage than the stealth based weapons which have very good accuracy. Getting into a shootout is not advised until much later in the game when your character has better weapons and more health. The AI is pretty good and will flank when they can, or will force you out of cover with grenades and other explosives. Many times I've died by being reckless, and one good shotgun blow will take you out. It's essential to be tactical since you're essentially a one man army. 


Conceptually the system is creative and makes sense with the world, but the execution of this is awful. Essentially your character has three underbosses, each with a specialties. One might be cars and explosives, another might be health related, etc. There are missions you can do to enhance your underbosses operation (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense as the person they kick money up to). The problem is when doing these missions, the game makes you drive across the entire map, get into a firefight, then return whatever you're trying to get back to base. Each of these missions can take 30-45 minutes, and they might not even progress the character right away. These missions increase how much your underbosses' operation revenue, and there are milestones as the revenue goes up. This makes it a very painful process to level up your character. These missions don't pay either, so not only will you not level up in every case, but you also don't get paid. So it becomes a gigantic waste of time.

There comes a point in the game where you're assigning rackets to each of the three underbosses, but then have to assign a district to someone. So this gets strange as well, and doesn't make any sense. For example, if I have region New York that has 2 rackets available. I can take over both rackets, and assign them to person A. But then, when I've done all the missions in region New York, I can assign that to someone. If I assign it to person B, they get all the rackets inside that region, and person A loses them. It's a strange system, and I'm not sure what the purpose behind that is. I guess it gives the player some short term flexibility, but ultimately the person that takes over the region's revenue increase, hence progressing your character.

The currency system offers some nice flexibility, but currency is not consistently rewarded and it's difficult to plan out your personal progression tree. There is no telling when you'll receive a mission that is heist related, or assassination related. Missions that require you to steal large amounts of cash, result in a cash reward which is the lifeblood of staying fully equipped and ready to take on harder missions. When the objective is to eliminate a target, nobody is paying you to do that. You have to search the facility for cash, and it's not guaranteed that there will be a sizable amount. The advantage of the currency system is if you're skilled enough using stealth, you can save up enough money to buy powerful weapons regardless of whom you have running rackets or districts.  


The soundtrack is amazing, and was the most inspiring part of this game. They've taken hits from the era and tend to sync up songs with storyline missions that bring you inside of Lincoln Clay's emotions. The problem is these works of art were not created by the game developer, but the execution of applying them was done very well. It made driving those long distances doing side mission chores that much better. They also had great voice acting with the radio DJ's that complimented the radio stations. For a sense of the music, check out this playlist.  


Mafia 3 passes as a decent game, but it had some technical issues as I've had the game crash THREE times during my 30 hour campaign. It's generally unacceptable to have a game crash even one time, but three is terrible. It would leave me frustrated because I essentially lost about 45-60 minutes of my life due to them. The gameplay was ok, the story and characters were fantastic. This is not something you need to play, but if you're looking for a great story pick this up on sale if possible. 


No comments:

Post a Comment