Easter of sheer gaming continues with Mafia III, and after 34 hours I’m starting to like it for reals! After affiliating himself with a Haitian, an Irish, and an Italian, Clay has managed to take over pretty much all the organized crime of New Bordeaux. The sleazy Sal Marcano is now only protected by his three Capos, and I’m fairly certain to deal with them by tomorrow. Still, there are so many side missions, street races, and miscellaneous collectibles left that the game most likely has quite a bit of mileage left in it, especially as its Collector’s Edition came with a season pass that seems to grant a sizable chunk of DLC. Everything has been pretty much the same, though. Despite occasional tailing, chasing, and grand theft auto, Mafia III is still very much a game in which you just end up killing a bunch of people. When going for the boss of any given district, you might be given a choice between a full frontal assault or a slightly sneakier approach but even then, it’s mostly about how many poor saps end up having to cross their path with Clay.
Despite its notably lazy script and a cast of characters borderlining on tired old stereotypes, Mafia III is fun. New Bordeaux first felt a bit quiet and it still is, but at least its architecture and attention to detail are top-notch. If you, just for once, forget rushing off to the next mission marker and instead choose to cruise around and soak it all in, that’s when the 60’s with its adverts, enterprises, restaurants, and bars begins to work its magic. The superb soundtrack is propped by news that not only cover Clay’s most notable achievements but also address topical issues such as Kennedy and Nixon, racial discrimination, the murder of Martin Luther King, the race to the Moon, foreign relations, and what else! As another delightful feature, the otherwise trivial journey is often intercepted by short documentaries in which a state prosecutor, a CIA agent, and a priest from Clay’s youth look back on what the man achieved, years after it took place.
The best part of Mafia III, however, are its cars. Those chromed showboats of the era might’ve never been that fast or practical but not only do they look cool, driving them is pure joy! After finally getting the speed up, tearing towards an intersection, and hopping on the woefully poor brakes just to realize your tons of metal will irreversibly plough towards the nearest wall and maybe even a pedestrian… That’s truly a time to smile and grimace at the same time. The weight and the handling of the cars is spot on, and even if the big blocks could always sound a bit more throaty and the tires often feel a bit too grippy, they still make a lovely sound both on asphalt and gravel.
After all I’ve experienced so far, I’m actually kinda pleased. Sure, Mafia III is awfully repetitious and as far as its story goes, utterly forgettable. Still, it gives me stuff to collect and whenever there’s a firefight, I’m free to choose my approach. Good enough, works for me!