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Some spoilers for early in Mafia 3

Butch:

And we’re back. I’m sad. It was so nice there. They had rum. Now I”m out of rum. And I’m back to exercising. You may not be the biggest fan of the beach, but if you had to choose between spending your morning sitting on white sand, the crystal blue sea gently lulling you into a state of relaxation, a rum drink in your hand as you lounge under an umbrella, or running around in circles in the fog when you’re tired, you’d pick the former, I’m sure.

As would I.

But what I do have, even on a Monday, is games! So we can go back, briefly anyway, to being a game blog!

So…what, did the early parts of the fed heist (Heists! Check!) and drove a bunch, and watched cutscenes. I just watched the cutscene of Lincoln in the bar, and he’s going to the basement to sleep. That’s where I am.

THOUGHTS!

Good thoughts:

DAAAAAMN this game looks good. Maybe I’ve just been playing too many old games, but DAAAAAAMN this game looks good. I’m even playing it all maxed out for the pro, and DAAAAAMN.

I had forgotten that it was a framed narrative, and so far I’m really, really into it that way. The cuts back to documentary are great. Seriously awesome exposition device. And it even lets you start WILD INTERNET SPECULATION early, cuz you know “Ok, priest lived, they’re talking about Lincoln in the past tense, so…..”

The voice acting is outstanding. When games decide to do “authentic” dialog, often, if not usually, it can be pretty damn cringe worthy. If you’re going to have dialog that’s straight out of the Wire, you best nail it, and, so far, they’re nailing it.

Bad thoughts:

One of the knocks on this game was the bugs, and, yup, bugs. I did have some weird voice/picture burps (not many, and they went away), but I did have one total crash. Right after the whole “kill the poor burner guard in a brutal way” bit (more on that in a second), I picked up the body, and then it said “press R3 to crouch,” so I did, and I was holding the body, and I guess it didn’t expect that and the whole thing just plain froze. Had to quit the application and reload. Not cool, game.

Man, you weren’t kidding about the driving, were you? I very much hope a fast travel mechanic shows up at some point. That I do. And I’m trying to be careful to avoid cops, so a bunch of my game time has been spend waiting for red lights to change. Making Asian beef or feeding a kid is bad enough, but waiting on lights? C’mon, game. Is there a setting I can change to speed that up?

Thoughts that still require some pondering and will lead to bloggage in the future:

The soundtrack is good, that it is, but if you’re going to make a game about black people, and you’re going to set said game in a city that has a black music tradition that goes back more than a century, can’t we have some, I don’t know, music from that tradition? Jazz? Blues? It’s in New fucking Orleans, dammit! Play some of that shit. Make the commitment to making race count in a game.

(By the way, I’m not calling it New Bordeaux. Just won’t. It’s New Orleans.)

But the big thing I ponder: Lincoln is a bad, bad guy. So far, anyway. He’s (at least in my game) executed some whimpering dude with a bag over his head (a choice I made, yes, but still), and rather brutally killed a guard, and he’s rather gruff. I see what they’re doing with this. He’s not a bad CHARACTER. Indeed, so far, I’m rather intrigued by him. But I’m not sure I LIKE him. You can have “bad” guys be good protagonists. Shit, I want to BE Geralt, and he was a womanizing, drunken, gambling mercenary. Lincoln? Hmm. Not sure yet. I’m interested in Lincoln’s story at this point, but I’m not sure I’m relishing BEING Lincoln for the next 30 or so hours.

Which is an interesting problem video games have. History is chock full of great stories about bad people. Awful people. From Ahab to MacBeth to Ajax and beyond. Video games have a lot of great stories about bad people to tell. But because the relationship between the consumer of the story and the protagonist is so intimate, it’s hard to tell a great story about a bad person without the game being a drag. TLOU did this well, but they did that by a) giving Joel some redeeming qualities and b) resigning themselves to the fact that their game was depressing.

I have a feeling we’ll revisit this about Lincoln fairly often.

Ok! That ain’t bad for a first day back! Your turn.

Feminina:

Hm. Yes. Even without any great love for the beach, I would pick sitting on it drinking rum over running in circles in the fog. You’re right about that.

Fitness tip: exercise is not as much fun as booze.

Wait, that’s a booze tip. No one needs those. Everyone is all set with booze tips.

But games! We sometimes play games!

I am enjoying this game more than I thought I might. It’s pleasingly reminiscent (to me) of early Assassin’s Creeds, but with somewhat less assassinating and a lot more driving.

It’s SO not made for me (take a look at the collectibles when you get to that point), but it’s been fun so far. Even the driving has not been as awful as I feared, partly because it turns out the cops are surprisingly uninterested in my activities in many parts of town (subtle social commentary there?) so I can do whatever the hell I want without repercussions, and partly because everyone else seems to drive almost as badly as I do, so I figure I blend in.

Last night, I saw a random NPC driving by in a car that was on fire. ON FIRE. And I had nothing to do with it! I’d never seen him before!

That’s my kind of fellow motorist.

I did feel kind of icky about brutally executing that guard. I didn’t really know that’s what I was doing, I thought maybe I’d just say something to him or knock him out or something, but…no. That is not what happened, and I probably should have figured that no action taken towards that guy in that situation was going to be any good for him.

At least I got to throw his body to the alligators.

I do enjoy the documentary framing of the story. It’s an interesting device. And gives you a funny moment before the reload screen sometimes! I won’t spoil.

I’m not sure about Lincoln. Agreed, he’s a good character, but not a very good person as far as we can see. I suppose that’s kind of part of the territory of a game called Mafia. I mean, these are not, generally speaking, very good people, at least not in the sense that stodgy law-abiding types like us would ever want them anywhere near us. When your business is crime and you have to enforce your rules with violence, that’s kind of what ends up happening.

With that bit where Father Ballard comments on how Lincoln was JUST ABOUT to move to California and take a welding job, we get that “so close to getting out, and they pull me back in” trope, which I think is meant to make him seem a little more sympathetic. He almost went straight! He could have been a good guy!

It’s not as if he came back home specifically angling to take over the mob…it was thrust upon him!

And the fact that he sleeps in the basement, instead of his old room, presumably because of some PTSD from the war or something?–that gives him a little human touch. We’ll see. It’s early, and we don’t know him that well yet.

Maybe he’ll become more sympathetic, or less. We shall see.

Butch:

Are they all set with booze? Are they really? I think tips are still needed. After all, people still drink Bud Light with Lime.

Assassin’s Creed? Really? Didn’t play those. Not the comparison I expected.

I’ve found the other drivers to be rather polite. They even let me merge.

Though driving MY car is a lot harder than that armored truck. Can I have the truck back?

As I peruse menus right away, I did see that Playboys are collectible. That I did. Is that where the nudity comes in? Like, ACTUAL playboy nudity?

Not for the kids, this.

What games ARE made for you?

You threw his body to the alligators? Shit. I knew I should’ve done more there. I didn’t know HOW to throw him to the alligators! I only figured out how to pick things up when I picked up the money. What crashed the game was me trying to throw the burner guard’s body into the burner (it seemed practical at the time). But alligators? Didn’t do that.

That’ll come back to bite me, won’t it?

True about the crime. It’s one of the problems with “real world” games that don’t involve war. If you’re going to go around shooting people who aren’t soldiers/zombies/aliens/randits in the real world, that ain’t cool.

But does that make me want to BE him for 30 hours? After all, this weirdness is one of the things that turns me off of GTA.

We shall see. And, if he doesn’t become sympathetic, we’ll see if we’re ok with that, or if it affects our enjoyment of the game.

Which I, too, am enjoying more than I thought I would.

Feminina:

OK, maybe EVERYONE doesn’t drive as badly as I do. As you said, many of them are fairly polite. But SOME of them definitely drive very badly, which warms my heart. Or something.

No worries, you’ll have more opportunities to feed bodies to alligators. And I don’t think has any consequences if you do or don’t do it–I think it’s just a mildly amusing (in a grisly way) option that’s there because Louisiana.

Yeah, collectible Playboys. Actual centerfold photos. There’s the nudity. They must have paid a pretty penny for the rights to that. Although maybe not, it’s not as if Playboy is a hot property right now. It probably helps them as much as it helps the game to get their name in there.

Here’s a tip: unlike in many games, you don’t have to search all over every corner of every building you come across, just in case there’s a collectible there. They will be clearly marked on your map when you get near them. If there’s nothing on your map, don’t worry about searching the place.

Which is kind of hand-holdy, but on the other hand I don’t mind because whatever, it’s collectible Playboys. And Vargas prints! Don’t forget those. Tasteful.

And the Hot Rod magazines, album covers and commie propaganda. Less nudity there, though.

Butch:

There is a certain kinship one feels with other maniacs.

T SHIRT!!!!!

Hmm. I might have consequences for shooting the guy. My partner there was all “The old man said leave one alive….” which made me doubt myself. I’ll see if anything comes of it.

Actual centerfold photos. Wow. That’s….a thing. I guess it’s better than animus fragments. If you’re gonna collect, collect nudity.

T SHIRT!!!!

Why do I have a feeling that, if Playboy is collectible, that’s not gonna be the only nudity we see? Somehow I doubt they’d throw that in then go all Victorian.

I won’t forget those collectibles, no fear!

Well, didn’t AC also mark such things? Little triangles all over the damn map? Treasure chests? Songs? (a collectible that’s still weirder than Playboys.) It’s not like it hasn’t been done. At least with that game, even once you got there there was usually some trick. Chasing a song, jumping just so. But still.

Feminina:

Yes indeed, this ‘marking collectibles on the map’ is part of what reminds me of AC. I’m for it. It gives you something to do if you’re not quite in the mood for following up on the story and getting into a fight…you can go track down Playboys and animus fragments instead!

It would actually be pretty great if you could track down songs on 8-track cassettes and then play them in your car, but probably they spent their music budget on the songs that play on the radio. Plus, it would be unrealistic to expect every car you managed to steal to have an 8-track player, since they weren’t introduced in cars until 1965 and most of the cars on the road in 1968 probably didn’t have them.

So you’d be roaming around looking for a car new enough to have a system that could play the songs you found. An unnecessarily complicated mechanic, perhaps. Or maybe they, like everyone else, just hate 8-tracks.

We owned a van with an 8-track player once! Good times.

Anyway.

I am curious whether they’ll bother to have nudity in the actual gameplay, or if the collectibles is it. Collectibles count, and there are a LOT of Playboys and Vargas prints out there to find.

We shall see.

Butch:

I’ll take Playboys. Ahem.

So like…FULL nudity? Rare thing. Geralt would approve.

I STILL take umbrage to the lack of jazz and blues. Watchtower is a cool song, but is it really the best choice for a game in New ORLEANS? So many music choices…..

I’m gonna bet there’s game nudity. Like, a game where you have to collect booze is probably gonna have a scene in a bar sooner or later. While, yes, agreed, centerfolds would be plenty to get it marked “nudity” on the box, if you’re going down that road in collectibles you’re going down it elsewhere.

Plus, there’s “strong sexual content.” Playboy never did that, now did they?

This game is very M. That it is. Some games, you wonder why the M. This one? No real mystery.

Feminina:

Well, 1960s Playboy nudity. They weren’t showing full frontal at that point, were they? Just breasts and nekkid bew-tocks. Uh…OK, looks like there was a “very slight glimpse” of pubic hair in Playboy with Miss July 1968 (so still a bit later than we are in the game right now), and the first full frontal centerfold was Miss January, 1972, well after the game action unless we skip a lot of time. Or if you can eventually gather collectibles in the documentary portion.

Man, the things you learn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pubic_Wars.

And the Vargas prints certainly aren’t full frontal. So to answer your question, no, not FULL nudity.

And definitely no MALE NUDITY. Siiiiiiiigh.

I agree about your complaint regarding the lack of variety in music, though I did steal a truck that was playing country-western, so maybe it depends what station you’re tuned to. There may be a way to change it, though I haven’t really tried.

Butch:

I like that you’re going the extra mile for our followers. Well done.

And, well, not collectible full nudity. Maybe in game.

Male nudity, again, IN GAME. Have hope.

Country? I mean….it’s NEW ORLEANS. Home of jazz and blues greats from here to there.

C’mon, game.

Feminina:

Well, it was a truck with a Confederate flag painted on the side. (Which I obviously particularly enjoyed stealing and driving around in.) The Confederacy loved country-western music. It’s a known fact.

I feel like I once accidentally changed the station, but I don’t know how…OK, the internet knows! Obviously. It says to press right on the directional pad. So tinker with it, maybe you’ll find jazz and blues out there. I’ll check too!

Butch:

Ooo!

Too bad it can’t pick up Radio New Vegas.

Big IIIIIIIIRON big IIIIIIIIRON.

Maybe it can!

But at least give me some James Brown or something.

Feminina:

Oh man, I need to hear about the ranger, with the big iron on his hip!

Or James Brown. Something. Not that Runaway isn’t great stuff, don’t get me wrong.

Butch:

I will say white rabbit needs to be in more games. Good stuff.

I have a New Vegas Pandora station I listen to while exercising. Big irons a good walking tune. As is I’ve got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.

We do what we must.

But hey, it’s working. Even after vacation I’m down six and a half pounds!

Feminina:

NICE! Six and a half pounds down after vacation is a serious win. All that brisk walking and crushing Mrs. McP is good for you.

Spurs that Jingle Jangle IS a good walking tune.

Butch:

Well, it does help that pretty much all the native food in Turks and Caicos is seafood.

And rum. Ahem.

We’ll call it a wash.

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