Mafia III tells a riveting story in a way that's both compelling and original.

I've been playing since midnight Oct 6th and I finally finished it after 95 hours and there's still plenty I didn't do. Don't be fooled by these people claiming to be done with it in a day or two, there is no way to experience everything this game has to offer in that short of time. Those folks obviously skipped a good portion of the gameplay involved and did no more exploring than was necessary. It's their loss I guess.

On top of the multiple endings, there's several ways of dealing with your underbosses, various achievements and tons of cool collectibles to gather. (BTW guys, those Playboy mags aren't just tittie pics, there's actual articles too. I, um... well I haven't read them yet, but I will.) I figure there's at least three or four more playthroughs just to experience all the possibilities and then one final one to put everything I learned to use and end the game on my terms. You can even free roam after it's over to finish up anything you may have missed. This game will keep me busy for at least another month or two.

I have to say it's way better than I expected it to be, the storyline is absolutely riveting! I couldn't wait for the next cutscene to see it unfold. It's hands down the most satisfying story I've ever seen in a game! The critics are simply nuts to say the story falls short of it's predecessor. The opening mission gave such an in-depth lead-in to the game that as soon as it was over I was tempted to start a new game then and there to watch it again.

The gameplay is second to none and better than anything I've played in recent times. This isn't your standard shoot-em-up game, spraying bullets at everything that moves. Sure, there's plenty of that, but the game includes a very well done stealth aspect, with stealth kills and brutal takedowns that are extremely satisfying to perform, even after hours of doing them. Instead of having the missions spoon fed to us, you can go about them any way you see fit. Whether you like going in guns blazing, sniping your foes from a distance, exploring the many possible stealth approaches available or a combination of all three, you're sure to find a play style you enjoy.

The characters are very well written, these aren't nameless faces with generic lines. They have their own in-depth back story, personalities and motivations for what they're doing, there's even a few twists in there that will definitely catch you by surprise. Even the generic NPCs have well written lines, I've often found myself standing on a street corner eavesdropping on conversations people are having. You're not hearing the same voice from everyone you pass by either, the list of voice actors is astounding. I'm literally blown away by the attention to detail in this game!

Ok, now for the downside. I'll admit that maybe it's because I love this game so much that this even bothers me, but for a game that involves a shit load of driving, they put little to no thought into that aspect of it.

The vehicles are awesome, don't get me wrong, they're beautifully detailed and perfectly fitting for the era of the game, I often sit in one as I move the camera around just admiring the beauty of them. The problem is, you can't save any of them. The vehicle delivery is limited to the six cars they chose for us, and in my opinion they all suck. Luckily I had the preorder bonus cars so I had access to them, the Berkley Stallion is my personal favorite, if it wasn't for that car this game would have been much less enjoyable.

In addition to not being able to save your favorite cars, there's no repair shops, you have to get a new vehicle every time you get something as simple as a flat tire. They also get dirty easily, those back roads of the Bayou take their toll, but there's no car washes to be found.

There's also no icon to show you where your car is, meaning after some missions you can spend five minutes running around looking for it, it's quite easy to get turned around in some of these places and a simple marker on the map would have taken care of that.

There's also something not quite right about the sound some of these cars make. This is the late 60s, the era of the muscle car, they should have a nice throaty rumble to them, instead many sound more like my push mower than a muscle car. Others have this high pitched whine to them, reminds me of my vacuum cleaner. Don't even get me started on that ridiculous backfire many of them make every time you let off the accelerator, good god that gets annoying. Cars are NOT supposed to do that!

However, when you do manage to find a car you like that has good handling, assuming you can hang onto it, the driving is very satisfying. Speeding through the back roads of the Bayou while CCR plays on the radio is simply a joy to experience!

Well, I'm off to start another playthrough. I think I'll give everything to Cassandra in this one. So while I set out to kill the hero of Mafia II, go out and buy this game, you won't regret it!

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