Mafia III has been out for a few years and it now has a Definitive Edition which includes all of its DLC so let's join Lincoln Clay yet again.
Considering Mafia III originally released on modern consoles, this Definitive Edition is the exact same game but with all of the DLC. This means that you also get to explore a few characters' stories more in-depth via Stones Unturned with John Donovan, Sign of the Times with Father James, and Faster, Baby! with Roxy Laveau. You also get the Judge, Jury & Executioner Weapons Pack and the Family Kick-Back DLC which includes a few vehicles and guns. With that out of the way, I haven't played the original Mafia III so I'm glad that I finally did thanks to this Definitive Edition. Being a huge fan of Mafia II, I must say that I'm a little disappointed in what Mafia III offers although it's still a very rewarding game with a top-notch story as you would expect from the franchise. So, what is it that I liked and what exactly disappointed me? I'll start with the good then get to the bad so strap in; here we go!
Mafia III stars the tall and muscular Lincoln Clay whose physical prowess matches his bravery and determination. Early on in the story, something devastating happens to him and his family so he goes on a quest for both revenge and power as he conquers the many districts of his city New Bordeaux. He does so with a tenacity that's rarely seen in video game protagonists but then again, he's really an anti-hero so it's fitting. Along the journey to take over the entire city, he'll meet many friends and foes and plenty of them have their own stories to tell which are intriguing and make the game world feel alive. To be honest, I usually skip boring cutscenes in games but I didn't skip a single one here. It's engaging and entertaining stuff for sure and you'll love it, too, if you enjoy character-driven plots.
Mafia III's gameplay is similar to its predecessor although it utilizes its open-world much more which is both good and bad. On the plus side, there are tons of unique missions that are enjoyable to complete such as clearing out rooms of mobsters, tailing a car, trying to get information from a well-guarded crime lord, setting captive people free, and much more. As you drive to your next destination, you'll hear dozens of classic rock and Motown hits that are just awesome. I loved Mafia II's soundtrack but the one here is even better. On top of all this, there are loads of collectibles strewn about that are great fun to find including parts that you can use to install wiretaps which help map out areas. Factor in a boatload of optional missions and the aforementioned DLC and you're looking at a ton of replay value.
Now, allow me to discuss what I didn't enjoy about Mafia III. For starters, I disliked the opening couple of hours and found that the story doesn't do a good job of introducing Lincoln Clay. Mafia II's intro made the player very familiar with Vito Scaletta's past and present through a series of flashbacks and scenarios that helped flesh out his character and personality but with Lincoln, you basically just watch some folks talk about him for a bit then you're thrust into the story. Sure, you'll get to know him more as the story goes on but you probably won't be as invested in him as you were in Vito during the story's opening hours which is kind of unfortunate.
Next, the structure of Mafia III is much more open-ended and it's far more graphically violent than the previous game which makes me wonder if the developers tried to make it more like Grand Theft Auto. I don't enjoy GTA in the slightest and this structure and general gameplay feel is far less appealing to me than what Mafia II offered. I mean, it's still a ton of fun and very rewarding but I much prefer the more straightforward approach of Mafia II and its level of displayed violence made gameplay much easier to enjoy.
Finally, Mafia III may have released in 2016 but it still has an absurd amount of technical issues so I'll just list a few. Once, I killed an enemy and his corpse stuck into the floor upside-down with his legs flailing around. I then went to the room underneath and his torso was hanging there which made me laugh. Speaking of enemies, they behave very strangely. One time, a guard was shooting into the distance at nothing and he was across the street from his hideout which was weird. Plus, the cops were on the scene but they didn't care about the guy randomly firing a gun and instead killed me on sight. What the heck? Enemies also sort of just stand there before you take them out stealthily. It's like they don't even care to struggle. Anyway, the map is often useless as enemy markers warp around it and it's quite small, too. Oh, and the game crashed on me a few times. Couldn't they have patched all of these things over the years?
Mafia III may still have a ridiculous amount of glitches yet its plot is fantastically gripping from start to finish. So, if you enjoy character-driven stories set in open worlds then you'll be impressed with what it has to offer.
- + Fantastic character-based story that remains intriguing throughout
- + Loads of unique missions and cool music
- + Tons of collectibles and replay value
- - Story doesn't do a very good job of introducing Lincoln Clay
- - Structure and gameplay is too GTA-inspired
- - Oodles of weird glitches throughout