Mafia III (PC, PS 4, Xbox One) first impressions

It has long been rumored the return of this saga, and finally at gamescom 2015 the announcement was made officially. The Mafia III will arrive to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2016. If the Illusion Softworks’ first Mafia surprised the world with its sequel, Mafia II, and converted to 2K Czech, defrauded almost everyone, and ended up closing its doors in 2013.

The heads of Mafia III is a new 2K Games studio located in San Francisco, Hangar 13, leaded by Haden Blackman, formerly of LucasArts, where he served as executive producer and writer of Star Wars. Yesterday we were able to see what it looks like his first job, and the truth is that we were surprised in many ways to start with its great atmosphere, rarely seen in the world of video games.

The first Mafia was set in the 30s, and its sequel took a leap to the 40 and 50, this third installment advances further in time, and is in 1968, in New Orleans, somewhat turbulent few years in the History of the United States, but also of enormous cultural wealth. A churning river fishermen gain, as the city where the adventure takes place will be full of corruption and organized crime, with the Italian mafia as the main protagonists, controlling illegal gambling, drugs and prostitution.

If in the previous Mafia Italians were the protagonists, now are the villains, since the main character is Lincoln Clay, a tough veteran of the Vietnam War, who returns from the battlefield, finding a family welcome him in the black mafia in the city. Until the new Lincoln family is betrayed and murdered by the Mafia, at starting a bloody revenge, having to wipe out all criminal gangs in the city.

From what we have seen in a show of about 15 minutes, this is a shooter opened manually, with shootouts and chases in a huge city full of world missions and secondary activities. But not sound too original but that did not stop our attention thanks to its great atmosphere, both visual and audible. The streets, local, pedestrians, everything is recreated with great detail, note that has some great production values, and if you draw the 60 in its various forms, such as film and music, sure I will call this game a lot of attention.

To listen great songs from Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and The Animals in a video game is not something that happens every day, and enter into a jazz club and see how a band playing is a joy. Have been recreated great vices and virtues of the late 60s, showing explicit violence, drugs, prostitution and everything it takes to make us believe that we are in the New Orleans of 1968.

The first shooting that showed we were surprised by its rawness, because although the gameplay is not much different from any action game in the third person in recent years, yes we liked the strength of weapons, how good they sound, their rewind, and how literally burst the enemies. Although it may sound a little strange, reminded us a little of The Last of Us, first by the bulk of the protagonist and the way he moved, with good animation, and then how the shots with the melee mix, time when the game hits you with its generous violence.

Stamp head of an enemy against a wall, throwing to the ground and burst his fist, or cut necks with a knife or stick it in his eyes, shares the latter that we can make if we surprise the enemy from behind. After the shooting they showed the peculiar way in which we can interrogate certain characters, aboard a car, driving in extreme ways, until they die of fear and beg us to stop, tell us everything to change.

Driving is much based on the skidding and screeching tires, Bullitt to be heavily inspired by the movie starring Steve McQueen in the same year in which the game takes place, a benchmark in car chases the big screen. Or something more recent and what we saw in Driver, the game Reflections, which in turn was inspired by the film that we mentioned before.

Although it playable, Mafia III seems to have nothing too original, yes we should mention some curious details. For example we will have three friends who lend us help throughout the game, the lieutenants, who can call from a pay phone to lend a hand, in very different ways. As a sniper, firing from the car in melee fighting, or taking to the police when we are being persecuted, among other assistance. These three characters could be seen in the trailer of presentation (one is Vito, when we met in Mafia II), and not only have a playable, but also argumentative importance, since it seems that will weigh heavily in the history helping our hero to eliminate all mafia and take control of the city.

The way to get rid of the mafia not only be a clean shot, but weakening their businesses, and they can steal their dens, with stealth or direct action. As we are seeing in almost every open world action games, this works much like the camps of Far Cry series, and when we get these facilities, whether bars, gambling, sex clubs, discos, liquor, etc., unlock new missions, weapons and information in the area. A curious mechanics is that when we conquer one of these sites have to choose one of the lieutenants to manage it, and depending on your personality lead the business in one way or another.

To end the demonstration, and a massive shootout in which the only thing that grated us a bit was the artificial intelligence of the enemies, who stood to shoot without covering, showed us a chase, as wild and spectacular allegedly became almost comic, with cars flying through the air and exploding after a few shots, or simply ramming burst into pieces. Truth looked fun, but it does not create such a detailed and realistic setting, if then it seems that you'll be playing a Saints Row or Just Cause, action games totally crazy rampant and open world.

Graphically we liked it a lot, and as is becoming usual, played in front of us, on PC, so there was no cheating or cardboard. The game still has some way to improve technically, but visually it is a delight, with very nice touches, both atmosphere and animations and the level of detail of the scenarios, sick at times.

We did not expect many of Mafia III, and maybe that's why we were surprised what we have seen, a set of open-world action does not seek to reinvent the wheel in playable but has production values above average. With a lovely atmosphere that pleases both the eye and ear, and with a completely visceral sense of action, which does not skimp on violence, and promises to offer some pretty funny scenes action.

We have seen that many of you have disappointed sense because it breaks radically with the seen so far in the series, a series of games featuring the Italian mafia, but at least we the new approach seems very attractive, and can become a sandbox very entertaining and stimulating, with a certainly original setting. We will follow closely from now to tell you how it evolves, as it has planned to launch in 2016.