Mafia III Racism Depiction Makes You Forget Technical Issues
Mafia III is out now and amongst all the criticism it has received so far, as it has lots of issues in terms of technology when it comes to PC optimization and even graphics on console for certain aspects, it must be noticed that it has few pros that makes its narrative stand in the whole video games industry. I've been playing it for three days now, and it is pretty clear that Hangar 13 worked very hard on story and the way it is told throughout the game. Just to name one of the things I've enjoyed so far, there's a documentary going on for the entire adventure that puts all in one place, thoughts and tales of main characters have to offer about protagonist Lincoln Clay.
More in particular, Mafia III is a story of racism and revenge. Interestingly, these themes have not been touched superficially or, like in many other titles, as they're not really part of the game itself but just exist as stuff that is required to kick-off the adventure. Racism is a true key component in the latest 2K Games blockbuster and, being Clay black, you won't get rid of it pretty soon.
Indeed, racist behaviors will hunt you down no matter where you are in New Bordeaux. For example, sometimes you will be required to leave stores because of your color and basically anywhere you'll head racist comments from characters, even if they're close to you in certain moments of the story – it's just like they talk like this, in few cases they don't even receive it as an offense.
Of course, police are not out of this matter. They constantly act like they mainly serves as a portion of the population, the white one, and only cares to have their eyes on your back in case you do something illicit. Sometimes they even put more pressure on you, just like the other part of the population does, when they see you steal cars or doing little crimes: they'll instantly call the police for them to come and catch you.
Interestingly, police's reaction to these calls will also be different based on your position when you commit such crimes. If you are in the center of the town, they'll be there likely in few seconds, while they'll take their time when you do something illicit in the poorer suburbs as they don't really care about black people who lives there.
And, as I said, things don't go differently unless you become a more powerful and feared boss in the city. This is not a problem of you not being powerful enough to be respected. It's a cultural issue where white men and women think they're better than you black guys. And that you're not good (you're even not supposed to drive a car as some of the white men that travels with you in a certain moment of the story thinks you're not able to do that).
When I think at the way racism has been depicted in Mafia III, I get some sort of relief: Mafia II had some many more realistic details (like refilling gas at stations and stuff) in gameplay, but Hangar 13 has opted instead to bring that effort and put it all in the narrative. So while you didn't receive a dedicated animation for repairing your car, you have a lot more context and an environment that specifically reacts to the way you are as the protagonist (are). One day we'll have both but until then… my choice seems obvious.