Disclaimer: I am about six hours or so into Hangar 13’s Mafia III.
Mafia III has a great presentation and gorgeous looking cutscenes combined with a great story, you would think that Mafia II would make for one of the best games of 2016. Unfortunately it’s faults show in it’s gameplay and brings down the level of enjoyment greatly.
In this game you are in a reimagined New Orleans setting called New Bordeaux in the late 1960s. You play as Lincoln Clay, an African American Vietnam veteran who just returned to the war. Soon after that his surrogate family is a part of the black mob and they are betrayed by the Italian mob and you are set out to revenge them. These set up for a great story. The voice acting is quite phenomenal, mixed with beautifully animated cutscenes these characters come to life in front of you. I caught myself looking at the characters lips and they are captured perfectly when the characters are speaking, it makes the characters feel like they are real. These all make for interesting characters that make you want to keep playing the game for the story.
The visuals while playing on the other hand are good at best as well as inconsistent more than consistent. The lighting is one of the things that’ll be the most strenuous and distracting while playing. At times it will either be the darker than anything you’ll ever see as well as the brightest you’ll ever see anything. Or when the sun moves throughout the day, the lighting will move sporadically and unnaturally and it’s really jarring. The basic gameplay like movement, combat and driving work fine, there are some glitches here and there but it’s what you would expect from any open world game. This open world in particular feels empty. It has people and cars everywhere but it feels like the NPCs have no personality whatsoever. You have a game like GTA V that is three years old and you feel like you’re living and breathing in Los Santos. There are random events, the people react more to your actions and it is filled with more to do. But when you are playing in New Bordeaux you feel the total opposite. There are very few random events but there isn’t much to do besides the main story missions and some side missions. There are some cool gameplay elements in it that I haven’t seen before though. One of which, since you are in the south during the late 1960s there is a huge racial oppression towards black people and it is not downplayed at all. If you are in a white area and the police are called, they will respond quicker to calls rather than if you are in a black area. I respect that Hangar 13 confronts the issue of racism to make the player feel uncomfortable, I feel like this will stick with a lot of players awhile after playing the game.
Overall the great story is not enough to keep me playing because the open world isn’t enough to keep my interest. I had a high expectation for this game and hoped it would scratch my itch for a GTA type of game but it fell really short. This game should have been delayed and polished a bit, as well made a bit more beefy with missions and activities before released. With the tweaks of the lighting and gameplay it would have been much more enjoyable and probably would have kept me playing longer.