While Mafia 2 had one of the most compelling stories, some of its game mechanics, like the weapons and vehicle handling, really let the game down. Now Hangar 13 is back with the surprise announcement at Gamescom, Mafia 3.
The game tells the story of Lincoln Clay, an orphaned mixed race man who’s spent his life trying to find a family. It’s 1968 and Clay has just returned from serving in the military during the Vietnam War. He’s taken in by the “Black Mob”, but just as he starts to believe he’s found somewhere he can belong, the Italian Mob wipes them out.
Clay vows to have his revenge and he certainly has the means, the method and the training to do so. He finds three characters, which he recruits as his lieutenants for his own mob. He then makes plans to take out the Italians and take New Orleans for his own.
And his race is very important in the deep south of New Orleans, where outward, violent racism is just a part of everyday life at the time
My extended guided gameplay demo takes place in the French Ward of Mafia 3’s fictional New Orleans. Clay knowns that the Italian Mob has a drug den somewhere in the French Ward, but doesn’t yet know here it is. If he discover it, he’ll be able to take it out and claim it for his own.
As Clay strolls through the French Ward, the city pulsates with activity. The streets are filled with people chatting and singing, suggesting a strong NPC system, while jazz and blues music oozes through the windows of bars onto the street like a mist. Developer Hangar 13 has obviously put a lot of work into making its fictional New Orleans feel as authentic as possible to the time. The hustle on the streets is also complimented by some stunning weather effects, particularly the moonlight highlighting the moving clouds.
Clay’s next move is to find an informant that knows the approximate whereabouts of the drug den, which is run by an Italian mobster known as Don Caston. Once Clay’s found a suitable mark, he’ll need to catch him and interrogate him. In our demo, this was met with some resilience, meaning I got a good look at the combat system of Mafia 3 early on.
Calling Mafia 3’s combat gruesome would be an understatement. It’s some of the goriest hand-to-hand combat we’ve seen, but it’s done with a slick elegance that you can’t help but be impressed by.
Clay is capable of switching quickly between melee and gun-based combat for a bloodthirsty show.
Once Clay eliminates the informant’s back-up, he has a choice of ways to interrogate him. One of those is getting into a car with them and driving dangerously enough to force him to spill all his secrets. When you’re done with them, you can either let them go or dispose of them.
Of course, thanks to his less-than-perfect driving session and casual assassination of his informant, Clay has a gaggle of cops on his tail. When he’s got a bit of distance between them, he heads to a phone booth to call in the help of one of his lieutenants. He can use his pals for various services, including weapon drops, creating diversions and bribing the police to call off the chase.
It turns out the drug den is hidden beneath a jazz bar. When inside, Clay’s movements and actions will draw attention to him, making it more difficult to take the direct route into the den. Instead, he heads into the back alleys behind the jazz bar to find an alternative route, taking out one guard silently to slip in the back entrance.
In the next five minutes, Clay takes out a number of guards using stealth attacks that often involve a knife to the face, while he makes his way to Don Caston. When he manages to take him out, he’s faced with the remainder of the den’s thugs, which Clay takes out quickly with shotguns, machine guns, knifes and some gruesome yet brilliant finishing moves.
Now Clay has the drug den under his control, he can assign lieutenants to the hideout, which will give him a handy base in each area. Retaliation is inevitable when you steal one of the Italian Mob’s hideouts, so as soon as Clay gets in his car he’s assaulted by a barrage of bullets.
So my demo ends with car chases, explosions and the spattering of blood, which does well to give me a taste of what’s more to come.
Mafia 3 is raw and sensitive. It rips the pinstriped suits, wing tipped shoes and slicked back hair from the romanticised image of organised crime, and takes it somewhere new with Clay.
Choosing to set the game in such a period of change, where racist hangs in the air like smog, will make for an intense atmosphere, while the music of the time sets off the uniqueness of New Orleans
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