Mafia III

Mafia 3 was not great, but it did get credit for tackling the rampant racism of its 1960s New Orleans setting head-on—a "bold, subversive move" in a game that was otherwise a pretty big letdown. It turns out that it was actually toned down somewhat prior to release: At one point it featured a "cold open" sequence that laid out exactly why lead character Lincoln Clay joined the Army and went to Vietnam, but developer Hangar 13 cut it, and scrubbed it from existence, because it was just too far over the line. 

"That whole cold-open has been burned from our servers," executive producer Andrew Wilson said at the recent Develop Conference (via Eurogamer). "It literally does not exist. Because if ever that had come out without any context in any form it would have looked terrible, because disconnected from the game it's obviously even more shocking." 

Game director Haden Blackman described the sequence as a "really violent prologue" in which Clay kills a cop while escaping a mob ambush. That in itself may not seem like such a big deal in the context of videogames, even if it was as violent as they said. The problem is that it was added late in the game, and so it felt "exploitative" rather than like an integral part of the story. 

"Lincoln never really talks about it," Blackman said. "I think we added one scene where he has a conversation with this Priest, Father James, and they talk about it a little bit, but we never really paid off on it. There were characters involved in it who he encounters later but doesn't really acknowledge." 

"We ended up cutting it because of the feedback, which was super-painful for me personally because it was something I'd pushed forward and championed, and I ended up directing that day's mocap shoot because it was such sensitive subject matter, and we worked on it for a couple of months. But it was absolutely the right thing to do in hindsight." 

Blackman explained in a Q&A session that he believes it's important to tell "meaningful stories with meaningful characters," but added that it's important to avoid getting "on a soapbox," or presenting idealized characters. 

"One of the first conversations Bill [lead writer Bill Harms] and I had about Lincoln was, 'He can't be perfect. He has to be flawed'," he said. "We cannot put him up on a pedestal and say this is the idealised African American lead character, otherwise it won't feel true, or honest, and we wouldn't have enough to relate to with him while working on the story."

Hangar 13 suffered layoffs earlier this year after Mafia 3 failed to catch fire. A Kotaku report from April indicates that it is now working on a new project.   

Mafia III

"We've known each other for many years, but this is first time you've come to me for help," says Vito Corleone to Amerigo Bonasera in the opening scene of The Godfather. Swap out the word 'help' for 'the chance to discuss selling Mafia on our digital storefront', and I imagine that's how GOG secured Illusion Softworks' 2002 open world crime sim last year

I suspect a similar strategy was behind bringing Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 to the online distributor too, which means the organised crime series is now available to play DRM-free in its entirety. To mark the occasion, each game is subject to a limited-time 50 percent discount—66 percent if pick them up together. Is that an offer you can't refuse? You tell me. 

PC Gamer UK's 91-scored review of the first game doesn't exist online, sadly, but let me pull excerpts from Rich McCormick and Andy Kelly's respective Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 analyses. 

First, Rich's words on the second's setting: 

It was the city that drew me in. An amalgamation of New York's streets and Hollywood's hills, Empire Bay is as interactively sterile as all other 'open-world' game-cities, but it's been coated in a veneer of dreamy credibility. Each street and hallway has a feature—a man shouting at an open window; a woman pressing her ear to a door; the sound of an argument. It's easy to see these details written down in a design document, but it gives Empire Bay a genuine rhythm, a pulse that Liberty City lacks. 

Plus, it helps that it is—on hefty machines—stunning. Turn up in the city in winter, and the streets are caked in snow, with layered bands of crystalline white on the untrodden paths contrasting with slush on the roads. And the lights! Even as the game transitions out of the 1940s and into the '50s, Mafia II's waxy lighting remains consistently arresting, casting pools of gold and yellow on windscreens.

Second, Andy's frustration with the design and performance issues of the third:

The repetitive mission structure might not have bothered me as much if the game was more fun to play, or if there were any interesting systems to experiment with. The melee combat has a satisfying crunch to it, but the firefights are about as generic as cover-based shooters get. Vehicle handling, even with the vaguely more responsive ‘simulation’ mode activated, is frustratingly weightless and slippery. And the AI is astonishingly dumb, with enemies behaving more like confused robots than people.

The PC port is pretty bad too. The textures are muddy and the image is curiously blurry, even when set to your monitor’s native resolution. The fact that I couldn't hit 60 frames per second with a GTX 970, even on medium settings, suggests poor optimisation. And the aggressive colour grading—an attempt to create a vintage ‘60s aesthetic—is way too overpowering. The city can look spectacular at night, especially when it rains, but overall the image quality and the fidelity of the world are incredibly disappointing. 

At half-price, Mafia costs £3.99/$5.24, Mafia 2 Director's Cut (which comes with its DLC) costs £15.00/$19.74, and Mafia 3 costs £17.49/$23.04 on GOG till April 5 at 9am PST/5pm BST.  

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info. 

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The month of March is upon us, and that means it's time for a new Humble Monthly Bundle. This one is headed up by Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, God Eater 2 Rage Burst, and Mafia 3, complete with the Sign of the Times DLC.   

The Humble Monthly Bundles go for $12 each—it's technically a subscription, but you can cancel whenever you want and the games are yours to keep—and feature one or more "early unlock" games that are available immediately, and a bunch more that are revealed when the bundle is over.   

The follow-on games are typically lower budget and less well-known, but the lead games are usually worth more than the price of entry anyway. Last month's bundle, for instance, started with Dark Souls 3 and the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, and ultimately finished with that plus Overgrowth, Lost Castle, Splasher, Aviary Attorney, Last Day of June, Holy Potatoes! We're In Space, and Arawkanoid.   

The current Humble Monthly offering will be available for just a hair under 35 days, which means you've got until April 6 to make your move.    

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.

Mafia III

2K Games has confirmed with Kotaku that Mafia 3 studio Hangar 13 has laid off a portion of its staff. Numbers weren't revealed, but the Kotaku report describes the cuts as "significant." 

"2K can confirm that there have been staff reductions at Hangar 13 in order to ensure that the studio’s resources are properly aligned with its long-term development plans," a rep said. "These reductions will not influence 2K’s ability to create and deliver its products that are currently in development. We never take these matters lightly, and are working with the affected employees to support them and explore potential opportunities throughout our organization." 

Mafia 3 moved the series away from its classic Mafia roots and into the racism-riddled Louisiana of the 1960s. "The choice to tackle a difficult period in American history was a bold, subversive move," we said in our review, which also praised the game's world-building. Unfortunately, the gameplay was "rote, unambitious, and poorly designed," with too much repetition and not enough depth.   

Despite those shortcomings, Take-Two Interactive touted the game as a success, noting in its fiscal year 2017 second-quarter report that Mafia 3 "is the fastest-selling game in 2K’s history, generating week one sell-in of more than 4.5 million units." The most recent quarterly report, released last week, also cites the launch of Mafia 3 as part of the reason that quarterly revenues were down by nearly $100 million compared to the previous year. 

Mafia III

I'm so far removed from Hangar 13 and 2K's largely underwhelming Mafia 3 that I completely missed the launch of its second DLC, Stones Unturned, back in May. I did give its other add-on 'Faster, Baby!' a whirl back in March but failed to find its Sinclair Parish setting any more inspiring than the base game's wider New Bordeaux. 

You might've gotten on better with it, though, which means you might be interested in Mafia 3's latest and third slice of proper DLC: Sign of the Times. 

It's out now and features The Ensanglante—a drug-obsessed cult who worships blood and has it in for protagonist Lincoln after he inadvertently interrupts one of the group's seance rituals in Sammy's Bar. From there, Lincoln seemingly takes it upon himself to uncover what the cult's all about by investigating ritual sites, following clues and gathering evidence on its unscrupulous activities. 

Some of that features here:

Similar to the time-manipulating feature that popped up in Faster, Baby!, a new "slow-motion gunplay mechanic" appears in Sign of the Times that rewards accuracy and successful headshots. A new weapon comes in the mould of the Black Sacrament automatic rifle, while throwing knifes boost Lincoln's repertoire for a more stealth-leaning set pieces. 

As with before, playing this DLC outing also grants Lincoln new outfits - this time expect The Wandered and Tee Time rigouts respectively. 

Mafia 3: Sign of the Times is out now. Head over here to learn more about the above, and over here to read more about The Ensanglante.

Mafia III

Against last year's catalogue of wonderful games, Mafia 3 was a disappointment. As Andy detailed in his review, a promising start was quickly marred by repetitive missions—which was a shame given its Civil Rights Movement narrative was interesting, its soundtrack was stellar, and its faux-New Orleans setting was at times gorgeous. If you were put off splashing out by any of this at launch, then you might be pleased to hear Mafia 3 now has a free demo which boasts its entire opening act. 

Again, it's worth noting that Mafia 3's opening act—a thrilling bank heist sequence—is easily one of its highlights, so bear this in mind if you do feel like opening your wallet once it's done. If you do, though, all saves are transferable into the full article. To mark the occasion, 2K and Hangar 13 have launched a new trailer: 

In other Mafia 3-related news, its latest premium DLC—Faster, Baby!—is out now. "Whether you’ve already taken down the Marcano crime family, or you’re still new to town, the streets of Mafia III have more stories to tell," explains the add-on's Steam page blurb. "The Faster, Baby! DLC is ready to roll—and with it come a number of game enhancements, gear, new vehicles to add to your fleet. And, of course, there’s the story of small town corruption choking Sinclair Parish. It’s up to Lincoln Clay and Roxy Laveau to do something about it."

With that, Faster, Baby! introduces a new part of town in Sinclair Parish—a rural township with its "fill of Hollywood-caliber car chases". Players can now activate slow motion, adding an extra layer of movie-like veneer to driving and vehicular combat, and a new story segment that runs parallel to the main game explores the murder of a civil rights leader. To top this off, new combat mechanics and proximity mines are "perfectly suited for causing destruction on-the-go," so says 2K

Here's some of that in moving picture form: 

Head this way for Mafia 3's free demo, and over here to learn more about its Faster, Baby! DLC—the latter of which costs £11.99/$14.99 on Steam. 

Mafia III

Prior to its October launch, Mafia 3 was one of my most anticipated games of the year. A promising start was however marred by "tiresome, repetitive grind," as Andy noted in his review—a claim he later explored further against the rest of the series. In a bid to turn its tide of middling review scores, the game's first free DLC came in the way of superficial costume upgrades last month, however the latest add-on introduces car customisation and races. 

"This was one of the big requests from the fans," says publisher 2K on the game's site. "Today, we’re delivering with some seriously cool customizations for Lincoln’s fleet of up to 10 cars. You heard that right, 10: The six you earn through playing the game, the three cars those who own the Family Kick-Back have access to… and an unlockable 10th car which we’ll get to in a minute." 

The Family Kick-Back is an optional paid DLC, and the tenth unlockable car is the Griffin Marauder which looks like this:

Only by winning races can you hope to unlock that, as well as a number of customisation options, across six circuit lap races and six point-to-point events. More information can be found in this direction.

Mafia 3's racing and car customisation update is out now. Before you go, have a gander at its launch trailer.

Mafia III

Mafia III has its predecessor beat in one respect: the originality of its premise. Playing as a black Vietnam veteran in 1960s America, in a city plagued by institutional racism, is a genuinely bold, interesting idea. Compared to this, a young Italian American rising in the ranks of the Mafia is a fairly standard crime story. But that s about all Mafia III has going for it.Mafia II follows Vito Scaletta from fighting in World War 2, to returning home and pulling off petty heists with his old friend Joe Barbaro, to climbing to the top of the criminal ladder and becoming a made man. You share his journey, which makes the important moments in his life more meaningful. You feel like you re experiencing them through him.Lincoln Clay s story has a promising start. He plans to move to California after his homecoming for work, but is reluctantly drawn back into a life of crime. Then something happens in the story that sets him on a path of revenge, and suddenly his character becomes completely one-dimensional. His motivation becomes killing the man who betrayed his family, and that s about it.Vito is, in many ways, just as driven as Lincoln. But he has other dreams too. Early in the game, when he s still a low-level crook, you drive past the suburban houses of Greenfield and he daydreams about living there one day. Then, later, when he s risen in the ranks and made some money, he realises his dream and buys one, and you feel a sense of pride. It s a relatable, human moment; Lincoln s single-minded quest for vengeance is not.Mafia II is full of humanity. You re playing as a ruthless criminal, sure, but there are moments of genuine warmth. There s nothing in the new game as memorable or charming as Joe and Eddie Scarpa drunkenly singing Dean Martin s Return to Me as Vito drives them home, and realising, to their dismay, that they don t know the words to the Italian verse.

And the fact that they just buried a body minutes earlier is another thing Mafia II gets right. This contrast of the brutal, ugly side of crime and the humour and friendship of the characters is a hallmark of the best crime fiction, from Goodfellas to The Sopranos. You love these guys in the same way you root for Tony Soprano, despite the fact that he s done some horrible stuff. In comparison, Mafia III is a bleak and largely humourless revenge story that, for the most part, takes itself far too seriously.Then there s the setting. The idea of a game with a black protagonist being set in a racially segregated city is, again, a great concept. But the execution doesn t live up to the strength of the idea. New Bordeaux is a dreary, lifeless place painted in murky shades of brown. With the exception of the distinctive French Ward, it s visually and architecturally uninspiring, and fails to evoke the time period as effectively as Empire Bay.Mafia II s city is a stylish mix of Chicago and New York that sidelines realism in favour of capturing the romantic image of a great American city, and we get to explore it in two superbly realised time periods. The game begins in the winter of 1943, and the snow-covered streets are incredibly atmospheric. Military planes fly overhead reminding you that World War 2 is still raging, and there s a sense of uncertainty about what the future holds.Then Vito goes to jail, returning to Empire Bay in 1951 to find a city in the throes of sunny, post-war optimism. He watches shiny red sports cars and loved-up young couples through a cab window as Eddie Cochrane s C mon Everybody plays: a stark contrast to the dark, wintry city you explored earlier. And, once again, you share the moment with Vito, having spent the last hour or so in prison with him. It s a wonderful example of scene-setting, and captures the period better than any moment in Mafia III.

There is some nice world-building in Mafia III. I love walking through the French Ward and hearing distant jazz music leaking from the doorways of bars and clubs. A small detail, but one that brings the place to life. Mostly, though, it s one of the most uninspiring virtual cities I ve explored in years, with miles of seemingly identical-looking streets.A result, no doubt, of the pressure to make it bigger than Mafia II. But it really didn t have to be. A smaller, more lovingly crafted game-world is always better than a sprawling, forgettable one. I wouldn t have cared if New Bordeaux was the same size as Empire Bay as long as it was a detailed, atmospheric, and interesting space to play in. As it stands, there s a lot of New Bordeaux to explore, and not a lot to find.

Empire Bay was the same, of course. In fact, one of the main criticisms of Mafia II was that the city was devoid of things to do. But I ve always found that complaint fallacious, because, really, Mafia II is not an open-world game; it s a scripted, linear shooter that just happens to have an extremely elaborate backdrop and some limited freedom. Mafia III, on the other hand, is more explicitly a traditional open-world game in the sense that its missions are scattered around the map and can be accessed at your leisure.Mafia II is linear because it serves the story. It spans years, and having a focused, scripted narrative is the only way to effectively tell such a sweeping tale. Mafia III has a story to tell and an interesting one at that, at least before Lincoln becomes The Terminator but the structure and design of the game betrays it. You spend most of your time in New Bordeaux running between objective markers, taking over rackets and territory, and while you re spending hours doing that, the story is going nowhere.Mafia III s design is, perhaps, a result of critics who claimed the previous game s city was too limited. But by responding to these complaints with a more familiar open-world structure, the story has suffered. If they used the same formula as Mafia II some moments of freedom, but ultimately a completely linear experience the story they wanted to tell might have had a better platform. I might have cared about Lincoln Clay and his quest for vengeance. I might have felt like I was going on, and sharing, a journey with him like I did with Vito. But, alas, I just didn t care.

Mafia III

This week, PC Gamer gets stuck in the past. From beating up racists in the 60s, to fondly reminiscing over World War 2 s varied terrain. (It did have a lava level, right?) Also, what happens when trucks meet physics meets jumping meets streamers? And what s the deal with review scores?

You can get Episode 26: "I miss World War 2" here. You can also subscribe on iTunes or keep up with new releases using our RSS feed.

Discussed: Mafia 3, Battlefield 1, Clustertruck, Slayer Shock.

This week: Samuel Roberts, Phil Savage, Andy Kelly.

The PC Gamer UK Podcast is a weekly podcast about PC gaming. Thoughts? Feedback? Requests? Get in touch at and use the subject line Podcast , or tweet us via the links above.

This week s music is from Mafia 3.

Mafia III

If the third time's the charm, the Mafia series must have started out as one repellent goodfella. The previous two games were multiplatform, so this isn't new territory by any means, but Mafia 3 came out last week and created quite the stir. Initially there was a 30 fps cap, but a patch over the weekend thankfully took care of that problem or did it? Let's look at the essential features for a PC game, how Mafia 3 stacks up, the available settings, and what sort of performance you can expect with several hardware options.

Essential feature check and PC behavior

There are many things that go into creating a game, but when we talk about PC games and in particular, games that push the envelope on graphics quality there are certain items we look for. Here's our feature checklist for proper PC behavior.

Any (graphically demanding) PC game worthy of the name should have the option for an uncapped framerate. Mafia 3 failed this test at launch, but a patch released just a few days later addressed this shortcoming. That of course raises an important question: If the framerate cap could be patched out in just a couple of days of fixing and testing, why was it there in the first place!? It speaks volumes that 2K Games ever thought having a cap on PC was acceptable.

Elsewhere, Mafia does better. It supports all the common resolutions I've checked, including everything from 5:4 aspect ratios like 1280x1024 through common 4:3 and 16:9 options, and up to ultrawide 21:9 stuff like 3440x1440, though it appears some of the HUD elements have issues at 21:9. (I didn't check multi-monitor modes.) V-sync is a toggle, and fullscreen/windowed modes are present (though borderless windowed isn't directly supported). You can also change the field of view (range of 55-90), which combined with resolution support allows the game to render 'properly' at virtually any resolution.

Mafia 3 includes good support for remapping and customizing the controls, but not all mouse buttons can be mapped. You can turn on/off various assist features (like aim and driving assist), and tweak the sensitivity of the mouse and keyboard. Key changes also show up in the in-game cues, so if you change the 'open door' from the default E to F, you'll still get the appropriate overlay. Audio settings are limited to five different volumes (master, music, dialog, SFX, and cinematics), as well as a dynamic range option of low/high. Setting dynamic range to low vs. high didn't seem to make much of a difference, or perhaps I just don't have the ears to detect subtle variations in audio quality.

Worth noting is that the game takes quite a while to load, even on high-end hardware Core i7-5930K and an SSD. I timed it at 27 seconds from launch until the main menu, complete with several unskippable logos for 2K Games, their partners, and a warning to not exit when the autosave is active. Loading into the game world is a bit faster, at around 11 seconds using a slower CPU and a hard drive will increase the load times quite a bit, naturally. Once into the game proper, however, loading scenes are scarce mostly you'll see them when you die and reload.

Having a seamless world to roam around in does increase the system requirements, and here Mafia 3 is a real doozy. The minimum reqs ask for a Core i5-2500K or FX-8120 for the CPU, and an HD 7870 or GTX 660 graphics card. I suspect the CPU is less of a factor with older graphics cards (more on this later), but don't expect mainstream GPUs from several years ago to run the game well. The recommended hardware consists of a Core i7-3770 or better, and an R9 290X or GTX 780 / GTX 1060 GPU. Ouch.

Mafia 3's beautiful concept art gives us a taste of what might have been.

Graphics settings and impressions

Initially, Mafia 3 struck me as a reasonably attractive game. Of course it could never live up to the concept art hype, but at high quality it looks good and at times great sunsets in particular can be quite pretty. The game also includes an active day/night cycle, which generally means global illumination is required, and depending on how it's implemented it can really tax your hardware.

What sort of knobs and dials can you tweak to make the game run more smoothly? Not many, actually besides the usual resolution, V-sync, fullscreen toggle, and the fps limiter, Mafia 3 has just nine items to tweak, and four of those don't really count. For example, the screen borders option can be useful if you're running on an HDTV that has overscan by default, but for standard PC displays it's not important.

The global quality preset modifies eight core graphics settings depth of field, ambient occlusion, motion blur, geometry detail, shadow quality, reflection quality, volumetric effects, and antialiasing. Most of the individual settings have Low/Medium/High settings that match to the global preset, with depth of field and motion blur being the only two on/off items.

Several of the settings have almost zero impact on performance: depth of field, motion blur, and geometry detail can be set on/off or low/high as you see fit. Depth of field applies during cutscenes and when using the sniper rifle, motion blur is a post-processing filter that doesn't really change performance, and geometry detail is supposed to increase the object complexity, but in practice on the cards I tested it makes very little difference set it to high and forget about it is my advice, as there are a few instances where it can affect shadows.

The high preset has the best looking water but other elements seem blurry.

The medium preset doesn't look all that different, other than the water and car reflections.

Low quality turns most of the lighting and shadows way down, but otherwise still looks decent.

The above three images represent the High/Med/Low presets. Medium and High both look pretty similar and the world of New Bordeaux looks quite nice, but even the Low preset looks good it wouldn't surprise me to find out the "Low" setting is basically what you get on a current-gen console. Lighting and reflections are clearly different, but I wouldn't say low quality looks bad I might even argue that without the heavier antialiasing and other effects, the sharpness of the low preset is actually preferable to the other settings. But the water quality is definitely worse, so maybe reflections is one to turn back up if you have spare performance.

In terms of performance, I didn't conduct extensive testing with Mafia 3, but I did run tests using the three global presets, and I did a bit of checking on which of the individual settings have the largest impact on performance. What it comes down to is that there are two major settings that can tank performance: reflection quality and volumetric effects. Three other settings ambient occlusion, shadow quality, and antialiasing can have a moderate (maybe 5-10 percent) influence on framerates, depending on your hardware.


So how does the game run? Not so great. I can confirm that the game will struggle to hit 60 fps even on high-end hardware, at least if you want to run at the high preset. My test sequence consists of running around the city a bit, climbing into a car, and then driving along a set path. Indoor areas aren't as demanding, but a large portion of the game is spent in the city, and that's where players are most likely to encounter choppiness.

Digging into the specifics, I measured average frame rates of just 41 fps on a GTX 1070 at 1440p high and 4K high cuts that nearly in half. Even at 1080p high, the 1070 only managed 53 fps, while 1080p medium bumped that up to 70 fps, and 1080p low yielded 100 fps. If you have lesser hardware, like a GTX 960 or R9 380, prepare for the worst if you want 60+ fps. A GTX 960 4GB card (R9 380 4GB was similar) scored 50 fps at 1080p low, and that dropped to 32 fps at medium and 24 fps at high.

You want 60+ fps? 1366x768 low got me there, but that's really hitting the bottom of the barrel. Ugh. RX 480 and GTX 1060 let you run 1080p low at around 70 fps, and the R9 390 and GTX 980 should come in at this level as well. Yeah a GTX 980 is going to need to run the low preset (or turn antialiasing, reflections, and volumetric effects to low) to hit 60 fps.

I did a bit of poking around with CPU testing as well, just for good measure. My default configuration is a six-core i7-5930K at 4.2GHz; disabling four of the cores and running as a dual-core 4.2GHz part only dropped the GTX 960 about 10 percent at 1080p low, and 1080p high showed no difference. Faster GPUs are a different matter, however, with the GTX 1070 dropping down to 55 fps at 1080p low and 44 fps at 1080p high. Running a quad-core CPU mostly makes up for the deficit, but clock speed is still moderately important. Regardless, you're not going to hit silky smooth 60+ fps framerates at 1080p high with anything short of top-end hardware like the GTX 1080.

Final analysis and parting shots

So where did things go wrong? New Bordeaux to my eye doesn't look any better than Los Santos from GTA5, but performance is substantially lower you can run 4K very high settings with 4xMSAA in GTA5 and get similar performance to 1080p high in Mafia 3.

Open world gaming, New Bordeaux, circa 1968.

Open world gaming, Los Santos, circa 2016.

Part of the difference may be in rendering effects that don't necessarily have a massive impact on visual quality but cause a big hit to performance, but that doesn't seem to be the only factor. Durante wrote recently about what 'optimization' really means, and why it's not always accurate to label a game as poorly optimized if it's simply a few specific settings that tank performance and for valid reasons.

No shadow is cast by Lincoln, and the lighting on his clothes is just wrong.

Volumetric effects and things like contact hardening shadows, screenspace reflections, antialiasing, and more can be seriously demanding. But while Mafia 3 is doing many of those items, it's not doing them particularly well just look at this shot of Lincoln standing under a streetlight. During the daytime things seem to go better, but even then I still have to go back to that other open-world game, GTA5, and ask why this game is so much more taxing on hardware.

Look at the complexity of the lighting and shadows all accurately cast and you can see why Deus Ex: Mankind Divided needs beefy hardware for max quality.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is another recent game that can eat graphics cards for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and come away still hungry. Unlike Mafia 3, it includes many more options to tweak, and the default 'medium' setting is arguably better than Mafia 3's 'high' option. Turn DXMD to 'ultra' and there aren't many PCs equipped to handle the workload, at least not yet. But in that game, I can point to various features and know why they kill performance for only a moderate improvement in visual fidelity. With Mafia 3, the answers are far less certain.

Going back to the original 30 fps cap, the most likely explanation in my mind is that the game and engine were built to achieve that modest (sluggish) goal, and not much more. The CPUs and GPUs I tested are far beyond the PS4 and Xbox One hardware, and even if the low preset does correlate to console settings, the resulting performance is still sketchy at best. The game engine (and story and mechanics, but that's another topic) needs a serious overhaul. To me, it feels like this is less of a badly optimized port and more of a poorly optimized game in the first place.


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