I could have been sat in an American cinema in the 1960’s so great were the aesthetics, yet, I was actually sat in the National Exhibition Center in Birmingham. Publisher 2k games were at EGX showing off their new game Mafia III and whilst it would have been nice to have a hands on with the game (seeing as it is out in a few weeks) they pulled out all the stops with a 20 minute exclusive gameplay ‘movie’ and commentary.
We took our seats in a tricked out 60’s cinema set, opened our popcorn (which was part of the whole presentation) and got ready to dive back into the world of Mafia. Before the gameplay section began, we got and overview of the game. We were shown the whole game map, which was extensive to say the least. Mafia III is set in New Bordeaux, a fictional backdrop for the game’s protagonist Lincoln. The game pulls no punches as it deals with race, sex, drugs and crime. It tackles them head on and is a very bold move, especially with the subject of race. The 1960’s was a notoriously troubled time for equality in America, so having a black protagonist is a master stroke.
Once we had the background info on the game, the gameplay demo began. The vertical slice we were shown focused on a classic ‘hit’ mission, where Lincoln has to infiltrate a crime boss’s multi-story building, making his way through different floors and taking out the mob bosses lackeys. I have to pause here and give a mention to the brilliant music in this game, the soundtrack is on point and is going to really sell the setting and mood.
As Lincoln is makes his way through the building, we were shown the varying different ways in which you can play. This is by no means a new game mechanic and I am pretty sure every open world game that comes out now seems to include the caveat that you can play the game in multiple ways, stealth, gun’s blazing or passive. To not have these choices in 2016 would make for a poor game against its competitors so it is good to see it in action, albeit annoying that they felt they had to mention it.
As Lincoln was gunning down the mob, the gameplay looked incredible, the action was fluid and the off the cuff comments from the ‘Gangsters’ were really well done. It struck me that the way the game plays looks very arcadey, which is not a bad thing at all, suggesting it does not take itself too seriously balancing intense subject matter with fun gameplay.
|We loved the free MAFIAIII pocorn!|
Our Mafia III gameplay demo came to an end with a ‘boss battle’ which wasn’t perfect, the developers seemed to have taken some cues from the division and created a bit of a ‘bullet sponge’ final showdown. The level of damage the boss took was nowhere near the ridiculous levels of the division but given the snappy, quick fire take downs we’d seen through the demo it certainly felt out of place, no man could have taken the amount of bullets this guy did. That’s aside, the game looks superb, cinematic and really playable.
You can’t judge a book by its cover and the proof is in the pudding, but, unlike our preview, the game isn’t relying on old ideas and clichés. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Mafia 3 Launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on October 7th.
Jake Buchanan | @HDD_Heart