Mafia 3 was released and was placed next to Grand Theft Auto 5 regarding the type of story and genre. Criticism involved comments about the poor performance concerning technology and graphic visuals but some other gamers praised the quality of the story.

The game is part of a series that works with a third-person shooter style where missions that must be completed to advance are assigned to the character. The original Mafia game was released in 2002 for Microsoft Windows and later to PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles.  A second version was released on 2010, and this October was released Mafia 3. 

The game is part of a series that works with a third-person shooter style. Photo credit:
The game is part of a series that works with a third-person shooter style. Photo credit:

The open space and virtual topography of the game received harsh critics concerning quality and style. Most gamers claimed that missions were repetitive and the gameplay was not as enjoyable as it seemed.

The game is not clean, once compared to the aesthetics of Grand Theft Auto 5, for example, the popular game that ca be considered Mafia’s main rival. Most players found a lot of bugs and visual irregularities.

The interesting change

While Mafia and Mafia 2 used Italian mob films of the 1970s and 80s as primary inspiration, where white males were praised for having “mafioso” behavior and look, Mafia 3 changed the storyline. This time is about revenge and hatred.

The stage is not the usual “wrong side” of the neighborhood where mafias operate with drugs and guns but instead, the game flows in a fictional version of the South (New Bordeaux, that seems to copy the New Orleans identity) during the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

This time, the character is not the traditional white leader. The player is assigned to perform the life of Clay, a black Vietnam vet who is living a difficult moment, considering he’s part of the black mob in the South during the year of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

“I wouldn’t say that we’re deconstructing the Mafia, but we’re using our protagonist Lincoln Clay as a perspective to look at them from the outside, to look at them through the issues you described, like systemic racism. What happens when the devaluation of black lives—the devaluation of an entire people—intersects with crime?,” said Charles Webb, the senior writer of Mafia 3.

There are several examples of social criticism in the dialogues and some scenes in the game. The storyline aims to make statements about racism and prejudices, but whether those messages reach the audience or not will depend entirely on the player’s perspective and way of playing.

But the game, in the end, is a shooter game where the main character is a ruthless killer tan can and probably must kill everything in sight to fulfill the mission and complete the levels, so this is why some gamers even criticized this intent to provide a historical and social story as background.

“It’s just a game” is a popular argument meant to forgive this type of dissonance. But as video games attempt to tell more human stories, the inhuman behavior of characters will be increasingly difficult to justify. And in some cases, like this one, the sheer abundance of violence is an outright disservice to the specificity and power of any individual violent act. How can a game comment on the value of human life when it treats every person as target waiting to be shot?”, said Chris Plante when analyzing the mix of extreme violence and philosophical message of the game.

Source: The Verge