I’ve skirted around it, but the Grand Theft Auto comparisons are obvious. Mafia 3 feels less tongue-in-cheek, more overtly brutal. I’m still a little on the fence as to whether Mafia 3 is going to deliver something genuinely innovative, or whether it could just be the open world crime equivalent of Blaxploitation movies in the 70’s. I’ve got high hopes, but until I can actually get hands on with the game, it’s going to be tough to confirm.
This game demo we’re shown comprises a mission that sees you assassinate mob accountant Tony Derazio in his hotel penthouse. That Tony has to die is set in stone, but the way Clay chooses to do it has some wiggle room - stealthier players might choose to steal an armoured car that Derazio uses to collect protection money, using it to sneak into the hotel’s parking garage. Those who prefer to get down to business could stroll in the front door with a M16 and conduct a full frontal assault on the way to the elevator.
Our group chooses to see the stealthy option, and the stealth seems well handled. Stalking the parking garage taking out guards with a silenced pistol looks like good fun and seems quite forgiving too. This is the perfect combination; everybody wants to be a stealth badass, no one wants to hide under a truck for 15 minutes.
Getting inside, we see some more of the shooting. Beyond committing the cardinal sin of throwing a grenade from a weapon wheel instead of a stand-alone key, the shooting feels like fun. Enemy goons take bullets like champions, yelling in pain and cussing you out with gusto as their bullet riddled bodies fall slowly to the ground.
It’s hard to get a sense of how something plays at these events as, although it’s running live, it’s being played by a developer who has played the game ten times that day already, and countless knows how many other run-throughs as they get this vertical slice of game to look just right for the throngs of journalists that have, are and will be sitting exactly where I am.
Not exactly where I am; I’m still squatting on the floor near the door at this stage, scribbling notes desperately in the dark. They probably got to sit on the sofas. Jammy sods.
So, Mafia 3. There's a part of me that desperately wants it to be a mega-hit. With the New Bordeaux setting, a sixties soundtrack and a grindhouse tone over the lack of sincerity we usually get from Saints Row and GTA, it could deliver something truly unique. At the moment, all of the signs are looking good, but we'll have to see what happens when it releases in October.