Having recently finished Mafia III, I’m interested in hearing other people’s impressions of its gameplay and, more importantly, its handling of racism.
The game opens with such incredible style and promise, but then devotes sooooooo much time to repetitive missions, an unnecessary open world that insists on omitting fast travel, and somewhat cartoony depictions of racism. And yet, I still find myself pretty enamored with the experience.
Lincoln doesn’t necessarily grow or come to any major realizations, but small moments throughout add up: offering support to Nicki when she opens up about her sexuality and the weight of her father’s disdain, completing the “My Name’s Lincoln Clay…” mission and the poignancy of Santangelo insisting to continue to demean and devalue Lincoln with racial slurs even with his last dying breaths, and mundane depictions of the daily injustices of oppression and institutional racism.
I wish the game had more interactions like these and the ones in the screenshots below. In particular, I wish it went further into exploring respectability politics and how minorities and marginalized groups wrestle with how the actions of one person member often group pose grave consequences for everyone.
CW: racial slurs/n-word.