REVIEW: Mafia 3 – Stones Unturned

REVIEW: Mafia 3 – Stones Unturned

When an old friend comes to New Bordeaux, John Donovan asks Lincoln Clay for help. He has a feeling that something big is happening, and it’s not good.

Steam: Released
Type: Single-player
Genre: Action, open world
Developer: Hangar 13
Publisher: 2K
Release date: 30 May, 2017

Something very different

John Donovan, one of the main characters from the base game and someone who fans wanted to explore more, was promised to tell his side of the story in this DLC. What that story entailed was never revealed to us, I think we all presumed it had something to do with the main story. However, it is very far from it. There is nothing related to Mafia in this. It is instead an action packed one and half hour that rivals Hollywood blockbusters. From start to finish, we’re shooting our pursuers from a turret mounted on top of a car, having a shootout with mercenaries in the jungle and infiltrating a missile silo with guns blazing.

Gameplay Video

Action movie cliches

After the last DLC ( see my previous review here) , I was hopeful. It was far from perfect, but it did many things right by giving us a new area that was fun to drive around and included a weed growing minigame. A couple of hours after finishing this, I’m still a bit confused (for lack of a better word). I didn’t expect anything like this at all. I suppose you could call that a positive thing because they surprised me. Our villain, who reminded me greatly of a young Willem Dafoe, could very well be in a James Bond movie with his intentions. The locations where this DLC takes part in are straight from those old Bond movies as well with the occasional Rambo-moment shoved in.

The first half takes place in new Bordeaux and offers some funny dialogue along with a couple of comical moments in the style of those old 1980’s “police buddy” comedies. In particular, Lincoln’s reply to the cleaner at the shopping center made me laugh out loud.  It is the guaranteed Mafia-quality writing of which I’ve always personally been a fan of. As soon as we get to the third floor, mercenaries bust in and we have to fight our way out, only to get ambushed outside. I tried to get some footage of the car chases into our gameplay video, but the famous FPS issues the game has made it impossible. At the top of our escape car, we have a 50 caliber turret that we use while speeding through New Bordeaux (and later, through a jungle), followed by an army of mercenaries. With their cars flying around everywhere, blowing up all the time, no one really bats an eye. We sped past police cars, but not a single “you-know-what” was given. This was a big immersion breaker. These games usually have a realistic world, granted this one less than the previous ones, but it still was odd that no one seemed to care about a huge war on the streets.

Rambo IV, anyone?

After the action-heavy first half, we leave New Bordeaux behind for an island that once was a thriving community but then abandoned. Mainly one linear path with a couple of larger areas along the way which are again filled with action. The last area is on par with the great theme park shootout from the base game.  It felt a bit longer, but was full of action. The main feeling that I was left with after completing this DLC, was that it’s something completely other than Mafia. The plot doesn’t belong in the theme of the base game at all, or even to the whole concept of Mafia as a series.  This isn’t a game where we should be saving the world from a serious threat, especially in one and half hours in a DLC.

The plot tries to criticize the war and politics behind it, but somehow it comes out the wrong way. It doesn’t feel like anything else other than a used up cliche. The final confrontation with the villain where he explains his reasons is predictable, and something that we have seen many times before. It almost feels like there were different writers for that one scene than in the rest of the DLC. The final confrontation feels totally different in tone and quality in comparison.  If they would have stuck with Donovan’s side of the story, showing him aiding Lincoln by gathering Intel during the main story, that would have made for an interesting DLC. That, in my opinion, would be his side of the story. He is an interesting character and is now simply reduced to a soldier. It seems like he is someone else other than the great and interesting personality we saw in the courtroom scenes.

New ally, costumes and a ride

At the beginning, we meet a bounty hunter by the name of Robert Marshall.  He offers some sidequests after the main story missions in the DLC have been completed.  Marshall is also a qualified sniper which you can call out for help, I didn’t find any use for this new service during the DLC nor can I see using it much in the main game either, at least not with the AI this game has.
Hunting bounties offers more of the same.  Go someplace, get a guy and repeat like most missions from the main game. However, this time those bounties need to come back alive. We are given a dart pistol to knock them unconscious, put them in a trunk and drive back to some holding cells. The main reason I liked them was that they gave me a proper reason to drive around the beautiful New Bordeaux again. It’s an amazing city, one of the best cities I’ve seen in open world games. Bringing back all three bounties earns you a groovy a new decal for your cars. Additionally, we also get two new costumes: a party animal-outfit for the weekends and an army costume for when we want to play war again which comes with a  civilian version of an army jeep.

Just imagine driving “bounty hunter 69” at 1960’s.

Should you buy it?

No. This isn’t Mafia, nothing even remotely close. I had fun with this one, but I still cannot recommend it, considering what it is a part of. If this were Just Cause 3, this would have fit perfectly. It doesn’t also offer any post-game content like its predecessor did with the weed growing. As fun as it was, it’s not worth the price. The DLC brings next to nothing to the base game after completion. If you are planning to play this just for the sake of shooting, there are much better alternatives that cost less.

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June 2017

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