Mafia III: Destructively Satisfying and Disgustingly Realistic


Hey, I'll be honest, I'll gladly pay $60 for any game that is willing to put a black character in the lead, where being black is actually touched upon. Where it actually has some relevance to the character and isn't some silly caricature of what a bunch of white guys with no black friends thinks it's like being black. That's why I had no problems with throwing down $60 for a copy of Mafia III. Boy, let me tell you, it's a hell of a ride.

So, I'm not exactly a fan of trigger warnings, but the game starts with one. It's an explanation that this game will be racist as fuck. Not because they wanted to make a game where they could just throw racial slurs around, but because they wanted a game set in this time period, and they knew with no racism it just wouldn't be accurate. Now you know me, I like racism, but only in my games, because it adds a level of realism. Everything started out great, then the guy I thought was my buddy started talking about "gooks," then the next thing you know I've got cops calling me "tar babby and shit heel." Yeah, the racism in this game is real. But, there's also civil rights activism portrayed in the game. One of the underbosses, Cassandra is also concerned with making sure black on black violence isn't carried out in The Hollows area.

Graphically, the game is fucking beautiful in cutscenes. They've got it down to Lincoln's razor bumps and Father James hair graying evenly over time. The cutscenes are just great and look just like the trailers. But, every mission doesn't have a cutscene, there's either a 10-30 minute long, incredible cutscene or there's nothing. The problem is there's a ton of graphical glitches during actual gameplay. Sometimes you'll enter a building and it'll be pitch black until it loads up. Rain will cause cars to act as mirrors and the shading from light is either all or nothing. It's not pretty.

Besides the graphics, there's two other issues I have with Mafia III. First, the city has all these interious and people, but most of the time it just seems dead. There's people and everything goin about their day, but they aren't interesting. The second is the repetitiveness of the missions. Again, this just comes with the turf, because every sandbox game starts to repeat missions at some point. Just look at GTA V, how many times did Franklin steal a car for a mission? How many times did Trevor have a gun fight with rival drug dealers? It just comes with the teritory.

Now, lets talk about the good, because there's a lot of it. The story is just incredible. Drugs, racism, violence, crime, all of it rolled into one hell of a ride. I just wish there was more story. We either get half hour blasts of cinematic greatness or no story at all. But damn, when we're getting story that shit is incredible. The way they weaved past and present together accompanied by a soundtrack that is just phenominal. The story makes up for all of the shortcomings alone. Then once you get used to the ridiculous controls the combat can be super fun especially the stealth kills.

Murder shouldn't be so satisfying, but for some reason stabbing members of the Dixie Mafia in the throat, snapping their necks in several different ways, kneecapping them, and blowing a guys head off with a silenced sniper rifle from 100 yards away while he chats with his buddies just is. Maybe it's because I'm killing racist that it's extra fun. Like, I always kill as few people possible when I have the choice. I flip the informants because they haven't wronged me. I rarely kill anyone I don't have to in video games, but I find myself using brutal takedowns just because I can. Somehow killing feels okay after someone has called you a ton of racial slurs and systematically destroyed your home while you were in a coma.

Is Mafia III perfect? Not at all. Are there a lot of things that could be fixed? Cetainly. Is it satisfying? Of course. Never has a game made me say the racism is so strong in this that I have to go back to real world racism. It is too realistic in that sense to me. The game isn't perfect, but damn if it doesn't make you lick your lips and say "yeah, that's what the fuck I'm talking about," when dispatching a Klan rally. I don't really care for reviewers and redditers claiming it made them uncomfortable because of racism. In the words of Cassandra "ain't that just how white people do?" Go play this game. Right now, that's my ending to this review, just play the damn game.

You can hear Darrell on the CP Time and Powerbomb Jutsu podcasts. He also plays classic arcade games on The Cabinet. You can also check out his playthrough of Sleeping Dogs.
Mafia III: Destructively Satisfying and Disgustingly Realistic Mafia III: Destructively Satisfying and Disgustingly Realistic Reviewed by Darrell S. on Friday, November 25, 2016 Rating: 5

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