Spoilers for the end of Mafia 3
There’s more to say about this game! For example…
Ok, that drive to “hold on I’m coming,” “paint it black” and the metal, slow cover of “bad moon rising,” which was the song they played at the beginning when Lincoln is “becoming Lincoln” was the best use of music in game history up to that point.
That was a great cover of Bad Moon Rising. I sat in the car for a minute to hear the end of it. Did they make that just for the game, or have I just never heard it before?
How confident are we that Donovan didn’t just kill Remy Duvall’s cousin and feed him to the alligators? Given that we know only that he can’t be found later.
There was that moment, there, too, where we got to see Olivia being genuinely bad, in case we were going to be sympathetic. “Take one of his hands.” That lady was not messing around. Although the cousin was surprisingly uncooperative, for reasons that were never made clear. Why did he care so much about that land?
Lincoln seemed vaguely sympathetic towards him, as much as Lincoln is to anyone, but we don’t have any reason to believe he’s not as bad as Remy, other than that he wouldn’t cooperate with the mob. Ah well. No need to plunge too deep into the background of a minor character, I suppose.
I think we’ve just never heard it before.
But it quickly got supplanted as the best use of music in a game by the fact that the ending there had “Sympathy for the Devil” slowly building behind it.
Especially as I was thinking, at the time, “This game sure does try to humanize a lot of very bad people, and, in so doing, points the finger at the player.”
More on that in a bit.
Ok, after some googling, turns out the cover was by a band called “Mourning Ritual” and it came out in 2014, making it a bit of an anachronism, but I’ll forgive it cuz it was so cool.
Yeah, I didn’t think it really sounded like the 1960s, but you never know. And yeah, we’ll forgive because it worked so well.
It represents the spooky, futuristic version of the song in Lincoln’s head while he ponders the ultimate fate of his own soul.
Sometimes really fucking cool is enough.
So what’s our final verdict on this? I certainly liked it more than the 62 or something it’s sitting on at metacritic. Lots of good stuff, from story to acting to the mechanics of XP and skills. And a bitchin’ level on a riverboat. But, on the other hand, weird ending, WAY too much unskippable busy work, WAY too many obstacles to getting to know interesting characters.
Some games you think are 7/10 ish cuz your reaction is “Meh.” There’s very little I felt “meh” about in this game. I had feelings. Strong feelings. But strong mixed feelings, and I never know how to judge a piece of art when it does so much so right and so much so wrong. See: any other art form as well.
And, as you said some time ago, I liked it more than I thought I would. So that’s something.
I liked it quite a bit. There was a LOT of interesting stuff here, serious stuff you don’t usually get in games and certainly not at this level of forthrightness–yes, we’re talking about race. Yes, we’re talking about class. Yes, we’re talking about systemic racism in society. Yes, we’re talking about whether or not violent revolution is a good answer. (Speaking of violent revolution, how about the Voice getting shot in the last radio bit? Is that part of the backlash to Lincoln’s moves against the white power structure, as threatened by that police officer on the news after Remy Duvall’s death? Or is it just that the police have probably been looking for the Voice for a long time, given what might be described as his inflammatory rhetoric?)
And honestly, I didn’t even mind the repetition and the driving all that much. I don’t know why, I can certainly see why people complained, but it didn’t particularly bother me for the most part. (I did get to a point where rather than obsessively complete every mission related to a racket, I would just do enough damage to bring out the boss, and then move on. So it got old for me to enough of a point that I gave up my usual complete-ist tendencies.)
I will certainly remember the characters and the story bits more than the racket missions, of course. (But all the driving in the bayou, that will live in my heart forever.)
I definitely glad I played it. Thanks, PS+!
Wait, WHAT? The Voice is dead? I didn’t get that, or I got out of the car too soon.
Oh, I gave up that level of completeness early. Shit, I decided I was going to stay on track and keep the story going so much I skipped about 20 playboys. PLAYBOYS! If it gets to that, the story needs a lot of help maintaining momentum.
Certainly worth the price though!
As for getting back to games we paid for: You start TR? Cuz I haven’t yet.
Yeah, he was talking about how the promise of America, to be an example, and learn from mistakes, and provide opportunities for people, isn’t borne out because the same kind of people always end up in power, and won’t live up to the ideals and the laws of the land. Politicians suck, basically, and things never get better. And while he’s talking you’re hearing banging and crashing, and then some other voices yelling, and gunshots.
He could also be talking about Lincoln, as a potential person in power who doesn’t do real work to change things. Or, in our playthrough, a person who has the option to take power and try to change things, but doesn’t do it.
Because that’s something we also have to think about. It was better for Lincoln’s soul, probably, that he left town, but was it better for the city and the people in the city? As he said, “somebody’s going to do it, and if not me, probably somebody worse.”
James didn’t accept that argument, and so neither did we when we played that choice, but it’s actually not a bad argument. Lincoln didn’t do it, so in fact someone else did. Maybe they did it worse.
One could argue it’s a sign of weakness, of personal selfishness, to say “I’m worried about my soul and/or my relationship with this one dude (and/or I’m just bored with all this murdering)–I’ve done all this damage and now I’m running off.”
Sure, man. We wrecked the power structure and then walked away. Good for us, I guess. A bunch of people still have to live here, though. It might have served them better if we’d sucked it up and stayed to deal with the aftermath of our own destructive actions.
I mean, since when is breaking everything and walking off a sign of strength and character? Staying to deal with the consequences, that would have shown commitment. Or else it would have shown that we were no different from every other person who takes power.
Man, we SHOULD have stayed. Ah well. Life and video games are filled with regrets.
As for TR, I haven’t started yet. Soon! In mourning or celebration of the brave new post-election era of whatever!
Damn, man. So both Remy and the Voice die. Interesting.
And pessimistic. This was a pessimistic game, wasn’t it?
Well, my city sure as hell wound up a mess.
What’s interesting is that Lincoln’s city ended up pretty good. There was crime, sure, but still. Wound up better than Cassandra.
What’s VERY interesting is that the “betray” ending, where you kill everyone and then get killed by James, we don’t really know how shit turned out. We know that things were some degree of bad to awful if Lincoln leaves, things are good but still crime ridden if he stays, but if he dies, we don’t know if someone does, and, if so, if it’s someone worse.
But also see that a) Lincoln says to the mob guy “I got no quarrel with you,” which is true and b) even FBI admits that Lincoln did what the FBI couldn’t: got Marcano out of power.
We’re on the same game schedule? Still? What?
WHO ARE WE?????
WHO ARE WE?! This game has changed us. Made us more thoughtful and cautious.
Interesting, indeed, that the best ending overall for people who aren’t you (and even arguably for Lincoln, since living on the run probably gets old), is if you stay and share power. So maybe what ruined Sal–I mean, aside from Lincoln–was not his actions, but his inability to work well with others? After all, if he’d left Sammy and Ellis alone, NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED. (Or if he’d made sure Lincoln was dead. So…work well with others OR make sure you definitely, absolutely kill them. Whichever works!)
If the game was about taking down the Man, maybe the only way to ‘win’ was to keep the man out, by staying in his place, but to refuse to become the Man, by not trying to take all the power.
Maybe the point is that you can’t listen too much to either the angel OR the devil on your shoulders–you have to ignore James’ advice, and seize the power, but ignore Donovan’s advice and don’t try to seize ALL the power. They’re both steering you wrong, there (though both, possibly, with good intentions as they see it: James is certainly genuinely concerned for Lincoln’s soul, and Donovan…maybe doesn’t trust other people and actually is giving what he thinks is good advice, although it’s also possible he is intentionally trying to stir things up.)
You can’t let any specific character tell you what to do, you have to steer between the extremes and compromise.
That’s…actually kind of inspirational.
We should have stayed.
Oh no. He took MORE power. It makes it clear that he EXPANDED into Florida, the Carolinas, the whole south.
I like the whole “balance” idea you have. Lincoln does well for people by doing terrible things. People get schools and hospitals, but they get them because Lincoln is awful. Little of both. Lot of both.
The last thing you see in that ending is a) the FBI guy saying he wants to shed light on the real Lincoln Clay, even if people won’t believe him or care because of his public image and then b) James lamenting the path Lincoln took and sobbing.
So the game is hardly cheering you. Often, when you get the “good” ending, the game, at some level, pats you on the back. Here, the game rewards you by having the best guy in the game, James, sobbing over what you did.
Sigh. Here we go again. So many complexities. So much good stuff. So much thought.
In a game with so much tedium.
I didn’t mean “not taking all the power Sal had,” or expanding on that, I just meant “not trying to have all the power in his own hands”–instead, he was sharing it with his underbosses, if I understand your description correctly.
I would feel bad about making James cry. I would. But then, it’s not like he was ecstatic if you leave town, either. All alone there in the church in the city that had returned to lawlessness.
I did like his line there with Lincoln at the end: “there’s only so much a soul can bear,” and you think he’s talking to Lincoln about how this is his last chance to save himself or whatever, but then he goes on with “and mine has had all it can carry” or something. He’s going to cut Lincoln off not because Lincoln would have crossed a line into irredeemable badness, but because HE would have.
He’s done so much for Lincoln, taken on some of the badness himself along the way by tolerating all kinds of crime and sin, but he can’t do anymore. And again, it’s such a priest’s line–he’s not telling Lincoln he’s damned, just that he can’t help anymore.
“God could still help you, but I can’t.”
James is a good, earnest character.
Ah. True. That he was, sharing power. Though it certainly still seemed he was in charge.
Ooo, good point about James. He has reached a breaking point. All he can do.
Lots of good characters in this game.
And props to acting. Acting is an underrated thing in games. Good acting is SO important, and there really wasn’t a weak performance in the whole thing.
The acting really was excellent. Props to all the actors! Lincoln was great. Whether it was chatting casually, or making violent death threats, or saying “how you doin’?” to a passerby on the street, the lines always sounded right.
And you’re right, I can’t think of any characters where the voices didn’t work. Maybe Santangelo, but as you say, he was just weirdly stereotypical and fit oddly into the narrative in general. His voice wasn’t the problem–that actor did a fine job with a role that just didn’t quite make sense (to us, anyway).
The facial animations were not always as good as the voices–I found that Nicki in particular often looked kind of creepy. But her voice was always good! So I’d just kind of glance at something else while listening to her. And Lincoln’s animations were generally good.
And Donovan’s animation was good, and the actor managed an interesting level of possible craziness (you start to think there’s a little something off with him pretty early on) balanced with extreme competence in his particular skill set.
So yeah. They should make another game with similarly intense characters and good acting and heavy story, with maybe slightly less driving in the bayou.
Although man, even when you were tired of driving in it, the scenery was also excellent.
That shit was great. As was the lighting and weather. How the sun hit the car differently at different times of day? Wonderful.
Of course, I’m about to do a true 4K game here (cuz I got a PS Pro. BOOM!) so maybe I’ll be like “Uh…never mind. THIS game is awesome.”
And, as I looked on imdb, as one does, the actors were all rather inexperienced. Here’s hoping they get more gigs.
They didn’t do well with the weird full body, cutscene but not conversations when it came to animations. All of those were kinda weird. Cutscenes themselves? Great. Those? Weird.
That said, the game is almost three years old. We gotta remember that.
Slightly less driving. And killing enforcers. And running down informants.
Hey, hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We should give this game at least a full day for wrap-up.
More, if we don’t start raiding tombs right away.
So yeah, the light on the car–good stuff. And the reflections in the car hood, as you were driving over bridges! And the way the car would respond as you progressively wrecked it more and more until it had no windshield or mirrors and the hood wouldn’t stay closed–I kind of enjoyed that.
And the brief blindness when you’d go from a dark area to a bright one, or vice versa–games in general are pretty good with that these days, but I frequently noticed that this one did a nice job.
“So bright, I can’t see! Oh, now so dark I can’t see!”
The world in general was mostly very nicely done. And the richness and variety of the supporting characters, we’ve given the game props for that before but they remain well deserved. If it had been easier to get at that richness and variety without having to wade through an unending sea of racket missions, that might have been cool.
I was going to muse that maybe we should have just played it on ‘easy’ if what we really wanted was the story bits, but I don’t think that would really solve the problem. It would just be wading through a bunch of trivially easy combats, as opposed to a bunch of somewhat challenging ones–having to put in the time on all those very similar little missions was really the issue. (Though, again, not really as big as issue for me as for some. I guess I have a high tolerance for straightforward, minimal-nonsense jobs that involve murdering dudes.)
If there had been a difficulty setting that reduced the number of missions, but not the actual difficulty? That might have been interesting.
Yes. That car damage.
Though there were times I lost my front tires and was all “Uh…why is the car…oh right.”
That is a nice touch, with the light shifts. And, as you know from my gushing over TW3, I am a sucker for in game sunsets.
Though it’s funny. You look at a game like Beyond, which came out at a similar time, that game didn’t have great lighting or sunsets or times of day or anything. But it DID have much better facial capture. Maybe folks had to pick and choose where to spend their CPU power. Lighting must take up a whole shitload of processor power. Gotta give up something to get that.
I must admit, I did lower it to easy a few times for that very reason. It was for the times when I had just done a bunch of racket bits the night before, and I just didn’t want to waste a whole night’s playing doing nothing but those and looking at load screens. And yes, it was wading through a bunch of trivially easy combats. But sometimes you have to make the choice to just quickly wade. If you’re gonna wade, wade through shallower water. And it was late in the game. I had already DONE so much. I figured, I proved I could do it. So there.
Reducing number but not difficulty would be interesting, but I don’t think I’d dig it. Even wading through combats, you get a sense of what the developers wanted. I generally don’t like too many customization options in games. It’s like going to a nice restaurant, ordering something, and then telling them to omit four ingredients and change five more. What are you at the restaurant for? You have a great, trained chef in there.
I figure, if developers think you should be able to skip certain missions, then they will make them skippable. Our legitimate beef was that a lot of missions that would be skippable in other games weren’t. What a game makes mandatory or not is a decision that should be left to the artists, even if they’re going to fuck it up sometimes. Like this time.
Well, certainly in terms of reviewing games, you kind of have to play it the way it was designed. Too much room to fiddle around, and it gets to the point that two people aren’t really even talking about the same game anymore.
“What do you mean you loved X part, I never even met that character or visited that area!”
Which I guess is fine if you really do want to make an “everyone gets their own story!” game, but difficult to pull off while maintaining any kind of stable narrative.
True, but it’s a problem reviews have anyway. You get a game, you have two weeks to do whatever the hell you can and get the thing written. I imagine a lot of reviewers play on easy just to get through it, which means they don’t get how hard it’s supposed to be. Or, as you say, they miss so much that they’re not playing the same game as other folks that review it. You think anyone played 100 percent of Skyrim or Fallout 4, or even MEA or TW3? Shit, you think anyone played 50%? So if I play, say, 30% of a game to review it, and you play 30%, the amount of overlap might be quite small. And that’s even without fiddling around.
No reviewer on earth plays a game an hour a night then writes about it like we do. It’s just not how shit works.
Plus, no one looking for actual game reviews wants all our spoilers and fine detail.
“Considering whether or not to play this game? Here’s 11 weeks of daily, 20,000-word posts about every aspect of it, including the plot, characters, and our thoughts about exactly what happens at every stage!”
If that doesn’t help you decide, I don’t know what will, honestly. WE’VE TALKED IT TO DEATH WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT.