A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mafia III is a mature action-adventure game. It's a visually graphic tale about going after a criminal syndicate in New Orleans in the '60s, with players eliminating enemies through assassinations with guns, knives, bombs, bare hands, and more. There's lots of blood, along with scenes of torture and gore. There's also lots of nudity, sexual imagery, and implied sexual acts, including oral sex. The game has very strong profanity. There are many drug references, scenes of illicit drug consumption, and missions related to drugs.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
MAFIA III is a gritty organized crime drama set in a fictional New Orleans (called New Bordeaux) in 1968. It's a third-person action-heavy open-world adventure starring Lincoln Clay, a disenfranchised Vietnam veteran returning from combat. Initially, Lincoln is looking for a sense of belonging, but that soon turns to revenge after his family is betrayed and slaughtered by Sal Marcano and the city's Italian mob. These gangsters are responsible for much of the city's illegal gambling, drugs, and prostitution, as well as keeping corrupt police and politicians paid off. Clay, and other criminals he aligns himself with, wages a war against the Marcano family, which in turn shakes up the balance of power in New Bordeaux's underworld. On foot or by car, you have a large open world to explore, many missions to accept, and colorful characters to interact with.
Is it any good?
The ambitious open-world game has a great story, excellent characters and dialogue, and strong production values that make the city very immersive. This world is big, believable, and interactive. Similar to games such as those in the Grand Theft Auto series, you can explore freely, and the narrative takes you in different directions based on what missions you accept and when. You can see what the game developers wanted to achieve with this third-person, action-heavy adventure. But Mafia III suffers from repetitive play, technical problems, and some other assorted issues. Much of the third-person driving and shooting missions feel like a bit of déjà vu after a while. Plus, there's no way to jump from one place on the map to another, so there's a lot of commuting on the New Bordeaux city streets (at least the music is great). Some technical issues also can hamper the gameplay experience.
Consider it a B-grade game for fans of these open-world shoot-and-driving games but especially those who love a good mob story, with memorable characters. Perhaps with a little more time to add some variety to the missions and iron out the code to be a bit more stable, Mafia III would be one of the year's best. But as it stands now, it's a really good but not great game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Do games such as Mafia III glamorize mob life and desensitize us to real-world violence? Are these games a harmless piece of entertainment? Are there double standards with video games?
Discuss the portrayal of women in the game. Females are depicted as prostitutes, strippers, or nude models and are frequently subservient to the men in the game; how does this affect your playing experience?
- Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: 2K Games
- Release date: October 7, 2016
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, History
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs
- Last updated: January 22, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.