After spending some time with Mafia III in my first impressions that went up yesterday, the thing that surprised me is that Mafia III is an incredible risky game and somehow I like that. Most of the characters are well-written and the story is interesting but that’s not what makes it a risky, what makes it risky is the setting and the time period.
1968 was one of those years that was a year that would stay with us forever in the annals of American History and we’re still referencing the year, 1968. The political landscape and the Vietnam War took a toll on America, this was the year that saw two political figures assassinated in close approximation to each other, in January was the TET Offensive which saw the public support in the United States dwindle even further, 1968 was the year that rocked the world.
What’s even riskier then 1968 is the Southern setting of Mafia III. Mafia III takes place in New Bordeaux which is a fictional version of New Orleans, and what comes with the southern setting is the very obvious racism and the hostilities that face Lincoln that was present in that particular era of the 20th century, now setting a game in Louisiana at a time of strife takes a particular set of balls to do because not many games go to the South and go to a time that we don’t often see. This is what I like about videogames.
This is what I like about videogames, videogames can take you places that you’ll never see and they have the power to transport you to that setting. Videogames are a great medium to explore time and place, and to explore history. What comes to mind is Battlefield 1, a WW1 shooter that’s out in a couple weeks and that is a shooter that might do the impossible, and it could pull off an compelling story about WWI and the soldiers that fought in the Great War. What also comes to mind is Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a game that is set in 1990’s and it’s deep root in 1990’s hip-hop and it doesn’t shy away, that’s what Mafia III does. Mafia III doesn’t shy away from it’s setting, it embraces that and it’s risky.
Mafia 3’s Vietnam-Era setting is a setting that is ripe for the taking and it’s sad that not many developers don’t want to go that era and explore the 1960’s and the early 1970’s, it’s sad that Mafia 3’s setting is something that we’ll never see again in the open world / singleplayer only genre.
Mafia III is a crime story that takes place in a time of racial tension and a time of great upheaval when the Vietnam War was at it’s peak, is a setting that we don’t often get in videogames, and what’s more interesting is the southern setting of Louisiana. This is what I like about Mafia III, it doesn’t shy away from anything and that’s what I would like to see more games to do, more games ought to not shy away from anything.
Mafia III is a risky game and that’s why I applaud it’s bravery.