Mafia III takes place in New Bordeaux, a re imagined version of New Orleans during one of the most tumultuous times in American history, the late 60s (1968).
In Mafia III you play as Lincoln, an orphan and Vietnam vet who finds a familial closeness in New Bordeaux’s Black mob. When the black mob is double crossed and subsequently murdered by the Italian mob (led by Sal Marcano) Lincoln focuses on nothing but revenge. As Lincoln you will wage a vicious war against the Italian mob shaking up the balance of power in New Bordeaux’s criminal underworld and in the process creating a new crime family from the ashes of those in the past by recruiting three underbosses all with personal vendettas against Sal Marcano.
These three underbosses include – Cassandra: the head of the Haitian gang, Burke: a foul mouthed Irishman that was once close with Marcano, but now wants him to suffer for personal reasons yet undisclosed, and finally Vito Scaletta: the protagonist of the previous games – he is held back by the Marcanos and now he wants to get back in the game and take his piece of the action.
Your time in Mafia III is mostly spent doing whatever you can to hurt Sal Marcano: destroying drug boats, taking over his brothels and drug dens, interrogate his pimps and dealers, rob his bagmen, and anyone in Sal’s criminal hierarchy.
As you gain power and territories you need to make decisions about which underboss you want to run the day to day operations. You have a sit-down with the family and each presents its case as to why they should take the reins. Depending on who you choose it can result in consequences in your relationship –some underbosses will respond with understanding while others may be furious. The choices you make in your individual play-through will alter certain outcomes and change aspects of the story – you can favor all bosses as equally as you can or roll the dice and support one boss or just a couple and forget the others, each is a decision that influences the game in a different way. The results can be a new mission weaved into the story organically as demonstrated in the developer commented gameplay footage that showed a play-through where Burke was ignored and as a result became a threat, which led Lincoln to track him down and eliminate him before it was done to him.
The combat in Mafia III is undoubtedly brutal and occasionally stomach churningly visceral that can move at intense speeds or with tentative stealth – all drawing from Lincoln’s combat experience in the Vietnam War. There is a greater intensity than we have seen in the series previously; there are brutal up-close execution from throat-cutting to point blank head shots, quick cover based movement, and a wide array of high-powered weaponry for massive explosions of both shrapnel and viscera.
During combat you can even call in reinforcements from any one of the underboss’s crews to help you when you are jumped by a rival gang or when you are about to take on a difficult or overwhelming mission.