Great Story, Broken Gameplay
by Christian Hollis, Editor-in-Chief
Reviewed on PlayStation 4
In Hangar 13’s “Mafia 3,” you play as Lincoln Clay, a half-Puerto Rican half Italian mobster. Set in 1968, Lincoln returns home to New Bordeaux (inspired by New Orleans, Louisiana) after his tour in Vietnam. It is clear that Lincoln suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and apart of him never left Vietnam. That’s why he inherits his adopted father’s career of organized crime.
Everything in “Mafia 3” is led by the narrative. It never gets boring completing missions or side quests because it all pushed forward the story. Backed by a talented cast with stunning cutscenes, “Mafia 3” is a proven example that an excellent story can be told through a video game.
The immersive setting is the best part of “Mafia 3.” Though Lincoln is Puerto Rican, he suffers from racial discrimination and deplorable language that any African-American did in 1968. While walking past pedestrians and police officers on the street, Lincoln hears people make side comments, police refer to him as “boy,” white women secure their purse and you can hear car doors lock. Most antagonists, and even some friends, refer to Lincoln as “The N*****.”
While driving around the open world, there are four radio stations that play music from the 1950s to late 60s such as Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. In between songs, radio hosts commentate on political news such as the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., judging President Johnson’s administration and the fear of a growing threat from the Soviet Union.
Though the story and gameplay shine in “Mafia 3,” the gameplay doesn’t feel finished.
Other than shotguns, all weapons are handicapped because of unpredictable bloom and inconsistent auto aim.
Hand-to-hand combat also feels stiff. During brawl outs, Lincoln glitches through his opponents, causing them to hit him in the back, which is extremely frustrating. The game gives the ability to silently take down enemies around corners, but a lot of times it just doesn’t work.
As the game progresses, you’ll unlock more health bars, allowing Lincoln to take significant more damage. Lincoln replenishes his health using adrenaline shots located around the world. Tactical vests can be found in armories to double Lincoln’s health for major gunfights, but don’t recharge after taking damage. Lincoln also unlocks the ability to slow down time while aiming and driving for extra precision and maneuvers.
Overall, “Mafia 3” is plagued with annoying glitches, tedious gun play and broken AI, but the game changing story, exceptional writing and immersive setting kept me pushing forward to the next mission.
“Mafia 3” is free now for PlayStation Plus members on PS4 until Sept. 3, 2018, and available to purchase on Xbox One and Steam.