“You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.” - Al Capone

Happy Weekend TAY!

I spent most of the last week keeping my wife and kid’s cold at bay and dealing with the minor jet lag from our trip out west. Nothing terrible, but I felt a little “low-energy” all week.

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This meant that I just sat around playing Mafia III after everyone else went to bed. I finally finished it last Thursday and I was reasonably happy with the game overall.

The controls and gameplay are the highlight in Mafia III. It is definitely one of the best controlling GTA-style games I’ve played. I’d put it up there with Sleeping Dogs and Mad Max for the sheer fun I had in the mechanics.

The game engine is extremely impressive. I haven’t played GTA V yet, but Mafia III offers incredible visuals compared to many similar games. Most impressive was the lighting and weather effects. In particular, the wet streets and puddles left after a rainstorm were a new experience for me and one that added to the level of realism in a way I never knew I wanted.

And the soundtrack! As a child of the 70’s, Mafia III’s soundtrack had a huge nostalgic pull on me. I felt at times like I was a kid again listening to the AM radio. They even did a great AM fade when traveling in tunnels or into underground parking. This game includes some of the best tracks from that era and I was surprised how much of this music I already own in my library. There is also some brilliant use of music in some of the missions that were exquisitely picked. Clearly, someone on the dev team loved and understood this music.

The story is definitely the reason for playing Mafia III. As I’ve mentioned several times in previous posts, I’m a sucker for a good mob story and Mafia III certainly delivers. The characters are all well written and superbly acted. It is an excellent movie inside the game.

The game isn’t without issues though. The AI is laughably predictable and often stupid. This of course has a huge impact on the difficulty of the game. Rarely did the game offer a challenge to me. In fact, I didn’t even realize there was a car and weapon upgrade system until the very last mission. I had no desire (or need) to go to the shop prior to the last mission and no reason to seek out more power throughout the game.

*NSFW. Contains a racial slur, which is very common in this game.*

Missing from Mafia III is the traffic violation system that was also absent from Mafia II. The first Mafia game was brilliant for how the police would pull you over for infractions such as speeding and running red lights. This added such a thrill to the driving portion of the game. It is a pity that the Mafia series has dropped this aspect as it would set the series apart from the rest of the crowded genre.

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You can see in the game’s feedback while you are tailing someone in Mafia III that the game is still tracking a whole host of driving behaviours. It knows when you’ve endangered pedestrians, run traffic signals, driven on the wrong side of the road, etc. However, the police react to none of this. I’ve blown by police at 100mph, through a red light, and on the wrong side of the road and they simply don’t care. In the first Mafia, the police would be all over you for such behaviour.

Overall though, I think the journey through Mafia III is worth the time. The game isn’t terribly long and the design allows you to avoid a lot of extra fluff if you choose. The mission structure can be a little repetitive and the world is not very interactive, but the pacing is great and the game length is measured so that you never become bored. It is the very strong storytelling and wonderful controls that will keep you coming back for more. I definitely ended up liking the game much more than I thought I would from my initial impressions.

So, now I get to pick a new game to play. I think Ryse will be next, though as always, I will let my mood take me where it wants when it comes time to actually choose. I just picked up another SSD for my PC to give me more room for installing games and I need to put that in my chassis on Saturday. Along with that, I’ll likely do a wipe of Windows 10 and install the Creator Update which I haven’t had time to do. Hopefully, that will be problem free and I’ll be up and gaming again this weekend.

So, what are you playing this weekend?