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Mafia III. What can I say about the 2016 game that was set up to be the return of a much-beloved game franchise? Mafia III was sold to as us a completely new, upgraded, highly polished entry into an iconic crime-based series spanning over 25 years.

If you’re not a fan of crime-related RPG games then you may have never ever heard of the long-running Mafia series. Let’s take a quick look at the series before we deep dive into Mafia III. The Mafia games first released way back in 2002 are always set in fictional areas that look like classic American cities. Like depression era Lost Haven from the first game that looks like Chicago or New York to New Bordeaux in Mafia III which looks like New Orleans. Although more linear than other open-world games like GTA, the gameplay still centers on an open world where players perform missions to advance a main plot as well as partake in different side activities. A majority of the games have an added “Free Ride” mode that enables users to start missions in the open environment. Each game concentrates on an individual who, in one way or another, gets dragged into the Mafia, either trying to advance through its levels or bringing it down for wrongdoing. Typically, the villains are those characters who have betrayed the protagonist or their organization or who are having the biggest impact on their advancement. There is a lot of backstabbing in the games go figure right?

Now that you know about the basics let’s get back into Hanger 13’s Mafia III. This is a tough game to cover as I was very hyped for it. I pre-ordered and stayed up to play it on day 1 before I had to leave for a Thanksgiving trip back in 2016. I watched all the lead-ups, interviews, trailers, and any other videos I could find and was impressed with the brutality and beauty I saw. I was so underwhelmed once I got to the end that I have never played the 4 DLCs that came out after. Part of me wants to go back and replay it but I honestly don’t think I can.

Set within the fictional city of New Bordeaux in 1968, the story follows former criminal and Vietnam vet Lincoln Clay, who is forced to return to a life of crime to help his adoptive family settle problems with the local branch of the Mafia. After the Mafia betrays and murders his family, Lincoln embarks on a quest for revenge while slowly building a criminal empire and seizing power from other criminal organizations in the city. It’s a true revenge-at-all-cost story. You have to deal with racism, colorism, and sexism all during the chaotic time that was the United States in turmoil during the Vietnam War. I will give the game point for the original soundtrack. There were so many era-appropriate tunes on there that really immersed you into the environment presented to you.

There are 3 endings. I’m also going to assume that the DLC retcons one of the endings Resident Evil 7 style. The ends are very different and it really isn’t until the last few missions that you even get the sense that there could be more than 1 ending. The whole story is about getting revenge at all costs against all odds. You can either turn into the good guy, leave it all or become the person you fought against. Logically as games you know there is more than 1 ending but it is never really intrusive or in your face that there are consequences for that action. Me being me I played it to the fullest before I rolled into the last mission so I only saw 1 ending. I was happy with that ending and truthfully like Mass Effect I don’t think I’d ever not pick that ending just simply it suited who I wanted Lincoln to become.

We all know with the benefit of hindsight that Mafia III failed to live up to this name no matter how amazing the team behind it was. Mafia III has gone on to be one of the lowest-rated games in the series with people praising the story and character developments of Lincoln but condemning the stale and basic combat, repetitive gameplay, and an open world that felt too big and empty in some places.

On PC at least that’s where I played it this game still struggles to perform well not to mention the framerate is locked even if they stay it’s not. It might just depend on some people’s configurations but the frame rate seems to be locked for a fair few according to the recent reviews I’ve read. 4k runs havoc on some systems with new modern components but this is no flight simulator so I am very confused about why this game is so tough on some computers. That also doesn’t count a lot of general graphics issues, gameplay glitches, and audio issues in the game itself that often lead to crashes or soft locking even to this day.

Like I said I played this day 1 back in 2016 and it became quickly apparent that I and probably a ton of others slogged through this game to find out what happened to Lincoln his friends and the people you either helped or damned in the city. We all have had that game where it was like “I’m too far into it to stop now.” Dishonored 2 was also a recent game that comes to mind for me that was almost a chore to get through even though I enjoyed a majority of the game.

If you wanna play this get this game at a HEAVY discount and get the complete edition with all the DLCs. The story is solidly decent and has a lot to it but it’s trapped in a repetitive cycle. While very similar to games like Assassin’s Creed or even Death Stranding Mafia III just lacks something. It’s hard to describe unless you sit and play the game. I don’t know if I want to call it a “soul” but as detailed as the city is something is missing I just can’t put my finger on it.

As of August 2022, a new Mafia game has been announced to be in production by the very same team that brought us Mafia III. I am wishing them all the best because aside from the overarching technical issues Mafia III had so much care and time crafted into every fiber of its being. The team cared and with the technology upgrades we’ve had since 2016, I’m looking forward to what can be done if the recent remakes are anything to go by. Have you played this game? Are you interested in the new game coming out? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and stay tuned for more from Lv1 Gaming!

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