Mafia III review: Open-world crime and all that jazz

The Good Mafia III is incredibly stylish, with great acting, soundtrack and setting. Its brand of action and gun play is as entertaining as it is brutal. The first 90 minutes of the game are great.

The Bad It suffers from a serious lack of diversity in mission types. It's occasionally glitchy and it becomes tired and repetitive.

The Bottom Line The action and chaos of New Bordeaux kicks off with a bang, but in the end Mafia III reverts back to a very familiar open-world game that never picks up enough momentum.

It's been six years since we last saw a Mafia game. Mafia III, pitched as a gritty revenge tale by California-based developer Hangar 13, follows the story of Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam veteran who returns from the war to find his hometown of New Bordeaux being run by mobsters.

In what's truly a powerful opening 90 minutes, Mafia III sets the stage for a terrific story filled with violence and vindication, but what plays out is far more pedestrian, a real anticlimax. The game absolutely nails it in the soundtrack and atmosphere -- New Bordeaux is a solid doppleganger of New Orleans -- but it fails to explore much beyond the all-too-familiar trappings of tired open-world action and driving games.

Hangar 13

Mafia III's brand of action includes brutal gun play, stealth and of course, city driving. But just four hours into it, I knew exactly what I was getting. The game's biggest problem is that things just aren't as varied as other open-world crime games out there. Very quickly, it turns into a snake eating its own tail, failing to provide enough variety to build significant momentum.

It's easy to draw comparisons to Grand Theft Auto V -- and I'd even argue the shooting action is better in Mafia III -- but GTA's wealth of diverse missions is sadly missing here.

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