Is ‘Mafia III’ the Emotional Ride that 2016 Needs?

There’s no doubt that fans of the Mafia series were unbelievably excited last year at Gamescom when it was announced that Hangar 13 and 2K Czech were to be working on Mafia III for a release date of October 7.  While it’ll be hard competing with games like Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Final Fantasy XV, you kind of can’t bypass the fact that you are in 1968 New Bordeaux, (basically New Orleans), where crime and corruption are at the pinnacle of society.  Playing as Lincoln Clay, you are a Vietnam war veteran that rejoins a mob group known as The Black Mob, an African-American organized crime syndicate. After some hardships with The Black Mob, Clay swears his revenge and creates his own crime syndicate to bring down those who wronged him.

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It’s a gritty American story of a hardship that could have actually happened, similar to the protagonist  and events of the previous game, Vito Scaletta being jailed for ten years for illegal distribution of ration stamps.  What also made Mafia II a great hit was the time lapse between the game prior to his imprisonment and the time after he is released.  The skip was a detrimental turning point in the story as ten years had passed and environments and vehicles changed, giving players an even deeper understanding to Vito’s anger towards Carlo Falcone, (spoiler).  You were locked up for ten years and not only does your own mother die and the money for your sister’s wedding go towards the funeral, but you have all the pent up anger towards the person that put you in this position.

Not saying that Mafia II is still better than whatever the third installment is going to bring, but Mafia III definitely looks like it will be heading towards the emotional turmoil that players felt in the second game.  You’re young and have just left the army, filled to the brim with a bitter hate for those that put you in this position as well as other difficult positions throughout your life; how does that not scream emotional backlash?  To top it all off, one of the people who aid you in your mission is Vito Scaletti himself.  Most other AAA titles this year are meant to bring closure and adventure to your hands; this one is beginning to look like it’ll bring harsh decisions and second-hand hatred towards characters that don’t even exist.  If gamers live off of anything in particular, it’s attaining the goals of the person that they are playing as, even if it means going through a whole army to do so.

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Story driven games are a must nowadays, especially since overdue sequels seem to be all the rage as of late, so bringing in something that hits a little bit closer to home seems to be the right idea.  Players want to be immersed in something that isn’t real, something more than just a game, so adding those elements as well as the idea that you are still behind a controller seems to be where this game is headed.  While this year is already filled tear-rendering games, it’s even more difficult to fathom the extent of Mafia III and whether or not 2k Czech and Hangar 13 will be able to tell a fictional story with a non-fictional lens.  That and the fact that since there is a six year gap between Mafia games, there’s no telling what the developers are going to be adding to really make players feel as though they are in 1968 New Orleans.

Now, all there is left to do is wait and hope that the game doesn’t try to unnecessarily push the boundaries of an open world action adventure game and stays true to gold ol’ American mob stories.  Mafia III will be released on October 7 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC.