Author Topic: Mafia series [2002-2016 -- Illusion Softworks/2K Czech/Hangar 13]  (Read 42 times)

Offline Doc_Brown

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While I reviewed the original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, for some reason I never wrote up anything for its sequel, Mafia II.  And now that I’ve finally gotten around to playing the third entry, Mafia III, I figure my best course of action is to throw together a quick overview of the trilogy as a whole.  The four out of five score is an average for the series, and while for most people that means favoring Mafia/Mafia II over Mafia III, I find myself doing the opposite.

Which isn’t meant as a knock on the first two games, mind you.  Mafia II does everything the original Mafia did, just more refined and with graphics that have aged much better (examplé).  But the one glaring flaw I find with both of them is how next to nothing is done with their open-world settings.  Critics of the third game complain that its open-world activities are boring/repetitive, but I don’t understand how having virtually nothing is somehow supposed to be the better alternative.

And to be clear, you can avoid a lot of Mafia III’s filler.  Collectibles can be entirely ignored (there’s nothing like Black Flag’s got-to-have-them sea shanties here), you don’t have to do every single side mission before taking over a district (it simply makes the takeover easier), and while there’s something to be said for doing favors for your associates there’s no reason to bother helping out with their rackets (all you get is more money, but it always entails a long, boring drive).

Some criticism has also been directed at Mafia III’s stealth system, insofar as it’s easy to exploit the enemies’ AI, but I’m just grateful to have stealth as an option.  Most games of this ilk are focused solely on driving and shooting, and the sneaking plays well with the series’ more realistic wanted system.  I actually find myself intrigued by the idea of these developers tackling a straight up fugitive game, going all in on the avoidance of the cops rather than guns blazing action.

To be fair, my more lenient opinion of the third game no doubt stems from having never played it at launch, and I understand it’s come a long way in terms of patches and additional content in the two years since.  It’s not without its faults (for instance, the controls take some getting used to, and there are still some bugs and crashes), but I just find myself willing to overlook them in light of all the things it does right (awesome soundtrack, beautiful setting, etc.).

Going forward, I’d actually like to see the series go backward--which is to say, I’d rather see a prequel set in the Roaring Twenties than a sequel in the 70’s or 80’s.  This last entry also barely gets away with the “Mafia” label (seeing as it’s more about fighting the Mob than being a part of it), so playing as a gangster during Prohibition would serve as a welcome return to form.  Overall, it’s a solid series even though your own individual mileage per game will vary.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 12:12:44 AM by Doc_Brown »
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Offline bobdog

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Re: Mafia series [2002-2016 -- Illusion Softworks/2K Czech/Hangar 13]
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 10:41:08 AM »
I really enjoyed the story of Mafia 2, and Mafia 3 is on my list coming up. Glad to hear you liked it.

Offline Doc_Brown

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Re: Mafia series [2002-2016 -- Illusion Softworks/2K Czech/Hangar 13]
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 03:30:50 PM »
When you do, I'd be curious to hear what you think.  A lot of people seem to hate Mafia III, but my suspicion is most of them played it before all the post-launch support came into play.  I was two years late to the party and thought it was fine.
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