Mafia III: Six Months Later
Mafia III is a very story heavy game. It's front loaded with long sequences to detail the world and the state of things as they are, which I hear is a staple of the Mafia franchise. Having never played the other titles, my views on Mafia III may be skewed so keep that in mind.
I've been playing the latest Mafia game on the Xbox One, and the visuals leave a lot to be desired. At times in big set pieces the game looks great, but by and far I found myself thinking this game had the graphics of a late previous generation title which had squeezed everything it could out of the hardware but ultimately was held back by what it had to work with. Outside of the characters themselves I thought the world often looked muddy and adopted that stereotypical look from games five years ago.
Character and NPC animation was serviceable but on many occasions looked rigid and unnatural. There was a scene early in the game that stuck with me where when filling a bowl up with gumbo, it was represented as a flat single colour low poly object which scaled in size and a detailed texture popped in when the bowl was full. That's a very small detail but I think it's representative of this game.
A.I. was the biggest disappointment for me with enemies being very predictable, sometimes even ignoring cover to run directly at me during a gunfight. If I crashed a car at an intersection and proceeded on foot, the rest of the traffic would simply stop in all directions and never try to navigate around the problem, instead preferring to wait it out. I found it very difficult to get any police attention unless committing a crime directly in front of them, and getting away was all too easy.
The shining light in all of this is by far the storyline itself and the world it is told in. Hangar 13 have done a great job in constructing a living and breathing environment, although I'm not a fan of the flashback plot device used where the gameplay takes place of witnesses telling their account of the details after the fact. I felt at times this approach was disjointed and clunky, but once I was in the game world (which is the majority of the time) it all seemed to flow well and had some intriguing stories to tell.
Another highlight of my time with Mafia 3 was the driving. I've seen some complaints about the driving in the game being too arcade-y, but I love it. It's a little slower then you would expect at first, but it is ultimately a product of the time period the game is set in. I especially liked the feel of handbrake turning, so much that I hope 2K adapts that style into any future GTA titles.
The first piece of story DLC was released late last month and centres around a corrupt sheriff (seemingly played by Seth McFarlane's evil twin brother). The latest content includes new characters, locations, weapons, and vehicles, and will set you back $15 USD or $30 USD for the season pass. The reviews so far are mixed, but if you enjoyed the main game then this one is for you.
Changes made to the game since release include:
- 11 new outfits
- 10 car customisations
- Added car races
- Improved performance
- Improved UI
- Various bug fixes
The biggest change of all is the recent release of a playable demo which takes you through the opening stages of the game. It gives the player a great insight into what the game is like and I wholeheartedly recommend you check that out before laying down any money. If you decide to purchase the game afterwards then your progression carries on, but overall it's a good litmus test to see if this game is right for you.
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