It has been five years since we saw the last iteration in the Mafia universe and last week, we were given our first gameplay peek at what Mafia III will be about. Some developers say their open-world game feels alive and living, but then you jump into said world and it feels plain and repetitive. This was not the sense I got from the Mafia III demo I witnessed last week. In fact, the impressions I left the demo with were awe-inspiring and extremely promising.
The gameplay slice I witnessed began by showing Lincoln slowly walking down one of the streets in New Orleans. All around him was life and that meant things like people wondering aloud who Lincoln was and a particular woman making a suggestive remark to him as well.
Throughout the demo, a constant theme I continued to think about was how the world was reacting to the player and the player’s actions. Mafia III is about making a player’s choices and actions have real, tangible, significant consequences, whether those are immediately shown or they are delayed.
An example of this happening immediately after an action was when Lincoln overtook a gang hideout at a local bar. He did this by dispatching the head boss, followed by all of the henchmen at the location. While the demo player decided to go about this mission through the front door, players could have also entered through the back entrance via the waterway where boats could dock.
After Lincoln had dispatched the rival mobsters, he got into a car and began driving down the streets of New Orleans. It was only after about three blocks of driving that the mobsters he had taken out had sent a posse of henchmen to try and kill Lincoln. This is a perfect example of how a player’s actions have consequences.
Hangar 13, who is the developer behind Mafia III, confirmed that the immediate response was simply so we could see what happens within the context of a demo. They said in the full game, retaliations will occur at different times, whether that is immediate or hours later when you’re in the middle of doing something else.
The dynamic of anything can happen at any time; even if you’re in the middle of completing some other mission is fantastic. This will provide a new level of excitement to gameplay since you won’t really know when a rival mob is about to hit back.
Mafia III clearly has a lot of gameplay opportunities for players to become engaged with. During the demo, we saw how open-world exploration can lead to unique interactions with civilian AI, cover-based shootings, absolutely brutal melee takedowns, thrilling driving and a lot more. The simple slice of the game showed how much depth will be in Mafia III, as well as the amount of systems that will be at work.
Mafia III’s car chases are done very much in the same vein that action movies were made in during the late 1960’s. The thrill of the chase is in Mafia III, and so are the wonderfully over-the-top explosions and crashes.
New Orleans sets itself up as a perfect city to host such an ambitious game and when you see the town come to life in Mafia III, it’s truly spectacular. From the neon-lit streets to the balcony-covered avenues, New Orleans comes to life in a way I haven’t seen in an open-world in quite a long time.
We’ve been told about Mafia III’s task for players of having them essentially take control of the criminal underground of New Orleans, and they will do that with several other characters that they’ll meet throughout the game. We aren’t sure what sorts of online or multiplayer elements that will or won’t be in Mafia III, but considering this has primarily been a single-player franchise, it would be surprising to see multiplayer put into the game.
Mafia III is looking extremely good and is by far one of the most eye-catching open-worlds I’ve seen this generation. It’s up there with Horizon: Zero Dawn, if you need a comparison. Mafia III seems to be extremely well-rounded with its various game mechanics and the slice I saw had it all. Hopefully Hangar 13 stays the course with Mafia III because they are on a great one.