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Mafia III: Definitive Edition

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Hangar 13
Release Date: Oct. 7, 2016

About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Mafia III'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on Aug. 15, 2016 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Mafia III will immerse players into a world of organized crime through rich narrative storytelling and a beautifully crafted game world featuring period-accurate cars, music and fashion.

Pre-order Mafia III

The Mafia franchise has managed to be consistently unpredictable in every release. The first game took a dive into the underworld of the Italian mob and made it far more compelling than anyone expected. The second game was anticipated to be a successful sequel, but it somehow ended up partially collapsing into a more mundane action game. Mafia III bucks even more trends and expectations, taking the trappings of the criminal underworld and settings it in a New Orleans-inspired city with elements of the Italian mafia, Irish mob and Haitian gangs. It's a like a Creole-themed "The Godfather" set to a jazz soundtrack, and it ended up being one of the most interesting things I saw at E3 2016.

Continuing the trend of bucking expectations, the game is set in 1968, and the protagonist of the game is Lincoln Clay, a black Vietnam vet. After returning from the war, he found a sense of family in the black mob operating out of his hometown of New Bordeaux. However, the Italian mafia struck and effectively wiped out the black mob to the last man. Despite his injuries, Lincoln survived and looks to build up his own empire to enact vengeance against the Italians.

The city of New Bordeaux is broken into multiple districts, from the high-dollar Frisco Fields to the French Wards that make up the city center. Lincoln can eventually win over these districts after damaging the operations of their current owner. Then they can be handled by one of Lincoln's underbosses: Burke, Cassandra or Vito. Each has their own motivations for helping Lincoln, the benefits of giving them control of a district remain the same. Ignore an underboss's wants for more districts (and thus more power) for too long, and they'll end up turning on you.

I only saw prerecorded gameplay footage in the game presentation, but it seems like an open-world title with a strong focus on the notion of being a cover-based shooter. In one segment, Lincoln had to assassinate a member of a rival gang, and though guns blazing was an option, the player used stealth instead. After sneaking past nearby guards, Lincoln surprised and shot the target, who was enjoying a lap dance, and then he blasted his way out with the help of a gang of thugs. Cars full of armed men aren't the only things that Lincoln can call to his aid; he can also have an arms dealer pull up to his location, so he can swap out his loadout from the back of a van.

In another segment, Lincoln boarded a paddleboat to track down Uncle Lou, a family member of one of the other gangs. It devolves into a full-on shootout aboard the ship, and the sequence was set to a fantastic jazz soundtrack. It was in this moment when the beauty of the game really came together for me. Sure, there were some great moments when Lincoln dodges enemy fire and trades some of his own, but music is clearly an important part of the game's ensemble. The developers also seem to have a keen eye for thematic elements, such as in the end of the segment, where Uncle Lou panics in the dark swamp as Lincoln stalks him while shoulder-deep in the muck and armed with a knife.

I didn't have any expectations for Mafia III, and it ended up being one of my most anticipated titles of E3. While the Italian mafia still features prominently this time around, it isn't about them but instead about the man who they wronged and burned their entire operation in New Bordeaux to the ground. It's a fresh take on what could have been a tired cliché, and I'm eager to check it out once the game hits on Oct. 7.

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