What is Mafia 3?
Mafia 3 is an open world crime adventure that plunges you into the heart of the criminal underworld. Set in a town called New Bordeaux, a late 60s take on New Orelans and the deep south, you play as Lincoln Clay, a mixed race Vietnam veteran who returns home to find himself a man without a place. Soon getting sucked into the criminal underworld, a deal gone wrong leads to his mob - the black mob - getting on the wrong side of the Italian mafia, who murder everyone he held dear. It's up to you to set out on a quest for revenge, and make mafia boss Sal Marcano feel the same pain he inflicted on you.
How do you play Mafia 3?
While it may be an open world game, Mafia 3 is a game that has a structure. Although you can go anywhere you want, at any time, there's not too much to do outside of the official missions, whether they're the main story missions, or side quests.
The game's main missions take you through the process of getting your revenge on Sal Marcano, as you team up with other folk who've been betrayed, or have a bone to pick with the Italian mafia, and use them to turn the tables on Sal's control of the city. New Bordeaux is divided into districts, and each district is held by a different gang. By finding an informant in each district, you'll be able to figure out how each gang is structured and organised, and then work out how to bring it to its knees. Usually, each gang has a racket or two that they're running - smuggling, prostitution, moonshine, drugs - and by causing damage to that racket (by which the game means "stealing wodges of cash from"), you can draw out the underbosses, who'll be deployed to the rackets to try and bring things back under control. All you need to do then is top the underbosses, and head off for your showdown with the guy who runs the joint, as you take control of the city, district by distrcit.
As you can probably imagine, there's a lot of shooting here, and when you're not driving a car, the game mostly plays out as a cover based shooter - you'll need to duck behind cover, pop out every now and then to take a few pot shots at your enemy, and very slowly make your way through each area. Hugely outnumbered, you'll need to rely on either stealth or cunning to survive.
How easy is Mafia 3 to pick up and play?
Mafia 3 is a game with a surprisingly steep learning curve, that likes to provide a real challenge through its combat. While you may be a Vietnam veteran, you're still only human, so you can't take too much in the way of hits - two blasts from a shotgun, even at a distance, is enough to kill you. While your health does auto-regenerate, it only does so to a point - half way - with the remaining half only restorable by using one of the game's limited health pick ups, leaving you in a weakened state until you can replenish your health, and making you more vulnerable to your foes. When you often find yourself outnumbered 20 to 1, and completely surrounded, staying alive can be a real challenge, and you'll need plenty of situational awareness - and one eye on your mini-map - at all times.
Turning the game's difficulty down to easy does make a big difference, as you'll be able to withstand several more shots before you snuff it, although the game is still more punishing than other shooters - you'll still need to rely on finding cover, and staying out of sight if you want to survive. Even crashing your car can cause you to lose health, and when you do eventually die, you'll be sent back to the nearest last safe house (often quite a way away), and lose half of the money you had on your person. Luckily, you can store your money in a safe easily enough - just make sure you do it regularly.
There's a lot that Mafia 3 does to make it easier for new players to get into, though - there's a generous auto-aim function, which will track/snap your crosshairs on to a target, while the game also, refreshingly, lets you choose whether you want subtitles on or off before you start playing - something that's great for those who are hard of hearing. The game's navigational system is also really innovative - set a waypoint on your map, and along with having your mini-map show you where to go, the game will place handy street signs at junctions, telling you where you need to go!
With strong language, topless nudity, racial slurs and graphic violence throughout, Mafia 3 is a game aimed thoroughly at a mature audience. As with many other games of a similar nature, there's no option that will let you disable mature content.
Coarse and frequent throughout, Mafia 3 contains plentiful uses of "f*ck" and "sh*t", alongside more colourful fare like "c*cksucker", which seems to be every gangster's favourite insult. Set in a city rife with racial tension, the game also contains multiple racial epithets, like "nigger", "coon" and "cracker".
Along with several verbal references towards sex ("one look and your pecker's gonna pop right out", "I heard there's nothing finer than Vietnamese pussy"), the game also contains both in game and real life photographic nudity. In game characters are sometimes implied to be performing sex acts (a woman is shown and implied to be performing oral sex on a man), while the game also allows you to collect issues of Playboy, and view the centrefolds, which are usually naked, with exposed breasts/bums, and handily placed objects covering their lower parts.
Strong and bloody violence is a frequent part of Mafia 3. Headshots are particularly gruesome, giving out large splatters of blood that coats nearby walls and floor, while melee attacks see you stab character in their chest or slit their throat, leaving them toe-curlingly gurlging as they drop to the floor.