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Mafia 3’s ‘Faster, Baby!’ feels like premium DLC. The production values are top notch. Everything, from minute details in the environment, to the unique animations that accompany the transitions from cutscenes to gameplay (like the smoking on the porch / listening to the radio moment) is absolutely superb. Faster, Baby!’ continues the trend set by Mafia 3 of being a meticulously crafted adventure.
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- My biggest concern going in: would this deliver the kind of polished cut scenes, consistent voice acting, and nuanced writing found throughout the main game? The answer is a resounding yes.
- The story of a white supremacist sheriff vying for control, and the civil rights case against him, provides a simple enough backdrop to let the characters shine. Alex Hernandez (returning once again as player character Lincoln Clay) and newcomer Kalilah Harris (voicing the instantly memorable Roxy Laveau) are both excellent in their roles.
- ‘Faster, Baby!’ offers an entirely new area of the map, Sinclair Parish. It’s great that Hanger 13 chose to build something from the ground up, and not recycle areas from the main story. Moreover, the wider open fields and significant destructible scenery lend themselves well to the heavier focus on high speed pursuits.
- Driving mechanics were always a high point in Mafia 3, having taken many cues from former Split Second developers who jumped ship when Disney sunk their in house game division. Here, a new slow motion ability paves the way for greater control, as well as the ability to lob grenades out of your driver side window. Nice touch: the subtle zoom effect in your rear view mirror to highlight when you blow up a pursuing vehicle.
- Roxy accompanies you throughout, and having a companion by your side is an interesting mechanic, particularly when stealth is involved. Although in the main game you could call in a hit squad to lend a hand, and allies would help out during full blown combat, Roxy actively comments on, and adapts to, what you’re doing. Nice touch: when attempting to do a mission stealthily, Roxy stayed in cover, commenting ‘okay fine, we can try it your way’. When I made a mistake and alerted a cop, she leapt into action. Very cool.
Despite what appeared to be a mixed critical reaction, Mafia 3 turned out to be a huge sales success, and for JTGA, one of the most enthralling open world adventures in recent years. The story, characters, and alternate world of ‘New Bordeaux’ left a lasting impression; a testament to its narrative ambition and quality writing.
Thankfully, developer Hanger 13 are supporting the game with both free DLC and larger, premium expansions. The first of which, ‘Faster, Baby!’, is a short but densely packed affair that doubles down on what made the base game so special. An entirely new, fully realised story is on offer, alongside an increased focus on action and vehicle combat. Two further expansions are due for release later this year (in May and July, respectively).