This is an ok game
I'll complete the story and update the review.
Mafia III on PC: It’s Sort of Good
Mafia III finally hit the PC on Friday. By hit, it was more of an exhausted thud. The Mafia games have never really been anything spectacular. Just a decent cookie cutter story in a 1920’s Grand Theft Auto inspired world. The Mafia games have always been more of a time killer until the season’s blockbuster titles hit the market. This year it’s Titanfall 2 and Final Fantasy XV. Interestingly enough, I’ve very much enjoyed Dragon Quest Builders more than Mafia III.
Despite my indifference, I had to at least give the game a try. It’s a spectacularly pretty game. Environments are rife with life and detail. But sadly enough it ends there. Missions all boil down to the same sneak or shoot to the objective.
Mafia III could be equated as a rough edged Grand Theft Auto clone. It does share quite a few similar features and story elements, from criminal element to open world. But it’s still rough around the edges, full of wonky control quirks and for 2K games, subpar on everything it tries to be. But the game… Once you get past the pre-canned story and bugs,Mafia III can be fun to play.
I’m just going to quickly gloss over these items in Mafia III. I’m only a few hours in and thus have not experienced the full story. So this is from that early on perspective. Now the thing about video games, is the story needs to be catchy from the onset. If there is a buildup, there has to be enough early groundwork to draw you into the mystery and reveal. The first hour or so was none of that. The early story was jerked around so many times from present to past, to somewhere else in the past it was frustratingly confusing. There were a million other, better ways to lay down Clay’s history and build on that story. This part failed me with robbing the bank, then suddenly being jerked away to live out some part 3 weeks earlier, only to be thrust back into the bank robbery.
So the story setup was a bit rough. But what about the rest of Mafia III’s story? At least it’s now staying “coherent” despite still being hard to follow and understand. I’m at the “build up your mafia” point, so I can’t get into much more details. So far It’s been an uninspired tail of a man betrayed by the mob.
Mafia III is a 3rd person game that plays exactly how you’d expect a GTA game to be. You run, you shoot and you pulverize people with your fists. It’s all pretty standard.
Then there are the tutorial popups. These annoyances come at you at the worst times, and they stick around for too long. I know it’s great and all to catch the game mechanics as they’re being introduced, but a window that stops all action and screams at you for attention is not the best way. They’re even harder to clear if you’re streaming through Steamlink, which I’ll cover next.
Mafia III has a lot of stealth in it. I’m notoriously impatient for games with a stealth mechanic, including the Metal Gear Solid line which is basically a Stealth game. This is where they did things right. I actually like the stealth aspect and use it to clear out mission zones by repeatedly tapping ‘q’ when near enemies. Clay then does his brutality kill and you get to hear gurgling blood.
Yep, you read that right, Mafia III has mission “zones”. Areas where all the action happens, the police don’t bother and you can sometimes claim as your own for business. But this is where things get wonky. Sometimes a mission doesn’t complete well, and all your waypoints vanish. You’re left wondering where the heck to go, return to the guy who gave you the mission or wander the streets lost and directionless? Once I completed a mission, but had to talk to the guy 2-3 times for it to finally clear as complete and advance the story.
I didn’t mention a lot of other items that may be bugs or design oversight as I feel 2K games will fix these in the near future. Honorable mention of bugs is save points, they’re in weird locations. But 2K games is generally a decent company that makes great games, XCOM being my favorite of theirs.
This is a big one for me. Since I prefer to buy all my PC based games via Valve’s Steam client. Why? Because they have a great client based system, mod support and the Steamlink. That is a big deal. Because I often like to leave the basement office and uncomfortable chair and play games on the big screen TV in the living room. Preferably without lugging the PC, keyboard, mouse and other stuff upstairs. Steamlink has let me fulfill these dreams and it’s great. Mafia III sucks at Steamlink.
My expectations for games released on Steam are quite simple. First, unless the game is a complex flight sim like Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen, I expect to have a decent pre-canned control scheme that will let me jump right into the game. I also expect it to work seamlessly with Steam, especially if the game is made for play with a controller. Mafia III just sucks at these simple tasks. It’s main keyboard/mouse scheme just sucks and you need to needlessly move your left hand across the keyboard far too much. It also sucks with controller. Those annoying tutorial popups can’t be dismissed with a controller, so hopefully you have a keyboard in the livingroom hooked up to your steamlink. I fortunately do, but this is a massive pain.
Granted I’m picker than most gamers, I still did enjoy the current time (6 hours) with Mafia III, despite it’s flaws. Get it later on discount, because it’s really not worthy of full price. I’m sure glad I didn’t get the season pass, which is generally a lame excuse to charge $30 extra for a game. So for a fun, semi casual game get this game, but not at full price.