I’ve got to admit, this is a game that launched under my radar. I knew it was coming, but it appeared in stores without any fanfare, with no aplomb, and I have to ask myself why? Nothing else came out in the first week that looked like it would overshadow it, Mafia is a tried and true franchise of GTA Clones that are exceptional story driven games, and they usually have a fairly high production value so why did it sort of sneak in?
Then I saw the review scores and was like ‘ohhhhhhhh, that explains it, well at least it’s not cause the main characters black…. Although we now live in a world where Trump was elected to office so….” Anyway, yeah, this game did not score well from the reviews an opinions I saw. But there was one common factor in all of them. I saw none that had reviewed it on PS4. Everyone seemed to review it on PC, and I know PC is the grand mac daddy of gaming, but they do seem to have far more bugs pre-launch and in week 1 than consoles when it comes to newer games.
So I took the plunge. I love crime games, I love history games. Anyone who knows me as a gamer will tell you I adore a good story driven game. And I gotta say, Mafia 3 throws you in right at the deep end of a Vietnam vet turned gangster after revenge story. I love it. And one more thing I love about it? Despite the fact that it’s set in 1968, when it would be easy to have an all white everything (I’m looking at you Grand Theft Whitewash) there is a startling amount of diversity in this game, and it actually makes you feel like you’re having to fight for your very rights as a person. Just because you’re black.
The game opens up with the screenshot above, and that takes balls. The casual racism of the NPC’s in this game make it harrowing on a new level to play. The racism that your character faces is sickening. But the devs are right. To leave it out would be a disservice to all the strong men and women who fought for equality then. Do we still have racism, yes, but now it’s frowned upon. And I only say that because so much of it goes unreported and unpunished.
Visually, this game is outstanding, for its facial animations. For everything else its average, which you kind of expect in a sandbox world like this. The fmv sections are amazing. The performance capture and the voice acting is astounding. You feel Lincolns pain when his friends and mentor die. You feel his rage as he sets out on his saga of revenge, and you feel sick at the casual use of terms such as “ni**er, J*g, Sp**k” . So much so that the game itself has come under fire for glorifying racism. Yes, really, there are people out there calling this game racist, and I have to say that the vast majority of these people have obviously never played the bloody game because its not.
This is a game that’s horrifying in different ways to most games. Here youre confronted with the hard truth of the past. Of the inexcusable actions of society against people whose only ‘crime’ was being born a different colour. But lets not get this twisted, this is a story that sets out to shine a light on the horrors of racism and the prejudices people receive, and it asks players in its own violent way to think about the fact that it is now 2016. Things can be different. Racism does NOT need to be accepted.
Or, maybe I’m looking too deeply into this. I mean it’s not like the Southern States of the US have a history of intolerance and racism, and that it continues in pockets today…. Oh wait a minute…
All I have to say is play this game and pay attention to it. You might actually learn something that’s important.