Returning home from a war in Vietnam, Lincoln Clay finds himself in another war on the streets of New Bordeaux. A Haitian crime syndicate may seem like a problem initially but that’s nothing compared to the betrayal and violence that it will take to bring vengeance to the mob.
You will spend the first few hours of the game pulling off a bank heist and it is a fun, fast-paced beginning. The cutscenes have you passing backwards and forwards through time and whilst personally I hate this type of story telling, for the most part, it worked quite well.
New Bordeaux is essentially New Orleans, having never visited I can’t say how it fairs, however, I have watched Live and Let die more than once so in my expert opinion it works really well. During this period in history there was still a lot of segregation and racial tension in the US. Hanger 13 have tackled this head on and I applaud them for it. As you walk down the streets you may here people being openly racist and if you enter a “whites only” shop or cafe the owner will confront you and tell you to get out. If you don’t leave they will call the cops but I usually kill them before they get the chance. I am white and live in the UK so I have never had to deal with racism, I think if I had I would be in prison. I am a very angry black man.
Seriously though, its actually hard to hear these slurs, I know it happened, I know it was a part of history but a really wish race would just go away. If it was never mentioned again it wouldn’t be long until people stopped thinking about it and so maybe I am over sensitive but I actually found myself killing every digital person who made a racist comment.
That said the racism in this game feels natural and not just there for shock value and I am happy that it has been tackled in the right way instead of pretending it didn’t happen. I know my statements are duplicitous however, that is how it makes me feel. I like it and hate it at the same time.
New Bordeaux itself feels good, it is pretty lively if a little dull, I do not know if it’s the port or the pallet but its all a bit brown. From the Bayou to the Colonial French Ward the architecture and the people fit each area and there is a reasonable amount of variety to keep things interesting.
The world is open and you can move around with relative freedom, however, when it comes to the gameplay, driving feels odd, it isn’t fun zipping from region to region. I wanted the cars to be more tail happy, a bit like the Driver series, however, they were hard to control and felt blocky and game like to the extent that it broke the immersion.
The general idea of the game is that you take over each district working your way up to take the big boss Marcano down and this is the first area that the game lets itself down. You can choose to take over prostitution, smuggling, selling drugs etc etc and the more you take over the more money you earn from each. This will all get you closer to the day you take down Marcano.
The problem is, to get the boss of each racket to show up you have to cause trouble, killing stealing and damaging their business until they arrive, you then take them down. Rinse and repeat. Over and over until you want to punch yourself. Its at this point you realise you are playing a console game first and foremost.
I liked the creeping about to start with, sneaking up on the enemy and taking them out. However, after the first 40-50 times, it started to lose its appeal. I think the key problem is that this isn’t a side mission that you can do every now and then. These are the parts of the game you have to play until you get another story mission.
I found it odd that given how big the game is many missions take place in the same location. One early mission has you taking out a strip club where they are holding girls captive. You kill everyone, then have to return to the same location later, take out the same goons to kill the boss. If these missions were in something like GTA, you wouldn’t bother with them after the first couple of times.
Mafia 3 suffers from the console cancer and it shows in spades for the PC port which is really not well done. I didn’t care what happened to Lincoln as I think I started to hate the fact he couldn’t do anything fun. The missions are busywork to hide the fact that the story is actually pretty short.
I can see why this game would do well on console and graphically I would imagine it looked good on console, the facial animation is pretty good and the acting is what you would expect from a big budget title but it’s not enough to save the game from mediocrity.
Everything has been done before, the repetitive missions, the uninteresting mechanics and the poor melee combat all combined to take a not terrible game and make it pretty dull. Top this off with retarded AI who will stand up and take aim for a bit while you are shooting at them and you get the feeling that you will be happy when you finish playing this game.
There is one saving grace for the game, the soundtrack. WOW, every track on the radio will stop you getting out of the car when you arrive somewhere just to finish rocking out. If you have ever watched a Vietnam war movie you will instantly recognise the outstanding tunes. My parents were from that era, I grew up listening to these songs and I was absolutely smitten. It made the bad seem good and meant that I actually enjoyed the monotonous drives from location to location.
Overall then, the game is dull, formulaic and repetitive. It’s worth playing for an hour or two just to hear the soundtrack but other than that, it isn’t worth your money.