Before I dive into the mechanics and story-line of Mafia III, I’m going to recite to you the disclaimer that Hangar 13 placed at the beginning of this game: “Mafia 3 takes place in a fictionalized version of the American South in 1968. We sought to create an authentic and immersive experience that captures this very turbulent time and place, including depictions of racism. We find the racist beliefs, language, and behaviors of some characters in the game abhorrent, but some believe it is vital to include these depictions in order to tell Lincoln Clay’s story. Most importantly, we felt that to not include this very real and shameful part of our past would’ve been offensive to the millions who faced – and still face – bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism in all its forms.” I personally felt it necessary to disclose the detestable racism within this game. As a new player to Mafia III, and even with the initial warning, the realism and forwardness with which this game depicts the south in the 1960s is flooring. Certain words, phrases, and sayings are used frequently, and can be alarming and offensive to players who aren’t properly prepared.
Now that I feel I’ve sufficiently warned you, let’s get into the story behind the game. While it’s told through the eyes of the people who were witness to the events, it’s played through the eyes of Lincoln Clay, an African-American orphan who grew up on the streets of New Bordeaux (Pronounced Bore-dough), a city heavily based on New Orleans, Louisiana. Lincoln joined the Army and fought in the war in Vietnam, and upon returning home began reuniting with his family. While growing up in New Bordeaux, he was taken in by a man named Sammy Robinson. Sammy and his son, Ellis, had some heavy ties to the city’s biggest mob boss, Sal Mercano. Other friends Lincoln made over the ears included Giorgi, Sal’s son, and a boy named Danny Burke. After a successful tour in the military, Lincoln learns that Sammy had been having issues with a gang of Haitians disrupting his neighborhood, called The Hollow.
He offers to take care of the issue, and once he does, Sal takes more notice of him. He offers Lincoln a job running The Hollow – which is Sammy’s current job, but the veteran politely declines. He offers his help in another job that Sal had mentioned – robbing the New Bordeaux Federal Reserve. To do so, it took all of Lincoln’s friends, and with Mardi Gras in full swing on the streets above, their heist went virtually unnoticed. After the group escape the cops and get back to Sammy’s, the set about celebrating the successful heist. But things go south quickly when Giorgi pulls out his gun and shoots Lincoln in the head. On the verge of death, Lincoln is forced to watch as Sal and Giorgi murder his family and friends – all because he told the Crime Lord of New Bordeaux “no.” After being rescued and healed by a pastor, and family friend, Lincoln decides to do what no one man had ever decided to do before. He was going to take down the mob.
Mafia III is…well it’s a mafia game. It’s gritty, gory, and rough. Worry not if you haven’t actually played the others in the series, as this game doesn’t relate to its predecessors, though we do see and interact with the Mafia II protagonist, Vito Scaletta at a few points. As for its gameplay, there’s driving, shoot outs, stealth missions, and various missions that utilize all three. Interestingly enough, if you look to be breaking the law while driving, there’s a chance that you could get noticed by the cops. I’m sure you can imagine that in a Mafia game, getting noticed by the cops is ultimately NOT a good thing. It’s very much open world, and if you’ve never been to New Orleans, well…this game is about as close as it gets. The city really is as colorful as it’s depicted in the game, and and it transports you directly into the Mardi Gras themed atmosphere of New Orleans. I’m still playing this fascinating game through, but so far it’s got a solid 5 out of 5 glasses from me. Let me know what you thought of the game, and as per the usual, thanks for reading!