This will be a short review because I played the game a few weeks ago and I’ll just write about the lasting impressions I have on the material.
What needs to be understood is that the game takes place in the American south in 1968 and that you play as a character of color. While it’s a fictionalized version of that time, the way other characters in the world treat you and the terms they use to refer to your character are more accurate and are really racist. The main character, Lincoln Clay, is a mixed-race character with both Dominican and Italian roots. The characters in the world just see him as one way and treat him as such, even if they’re wrong in their own stereotyping. Racial terms are tossed around like candy on Halloween, so if you’re sensitive to that you need to watch out.
That world and the language used is also a reason to like this game. It helped open my eyes to what it was like living in the South during this period of American history. It was refreshing that they didn’t censor everything and white-wash it, this was a volatile period of American history and it lent to the credibility of the story. It showed one of the ways that video games can really make a lasting impact on players and it was because they stuck to making an authentic world. You have to give it to the developers for sticking to their guns and following through on this title in the way they did.
On the other hand, playing the game felt like I was playing an early version of Grand Theft Auto. It’s a fairly basic open-world title where you go around driving and shooting up warehouses full of people. It wasn’t bad at all, just had the feel of an old-school title. I had an enjoyable time going around, doing missions, and collecting the collectibles. It felt good that you could call in some suppliers to restock ammo and armor, then call in one of your fast cars before going out on a mission. If you go in not expecting the next Rockstar game and just see it as an old-school open-world game, then I think you’ll be just fine.
The collectibles in the game are really good, especially for anyone into old Playboy magazines and pinup art. Sure, it’s pervy as hell, but looking at the old Vargas paintings that you find all over the world are really cool to see, especially as an admirer of his work. The old Playboy magazines you pick up might have a few pictures in them and then usually the whole interview portion of the magazine, it’s a real blast from the past that really sets the tone for the game world. There are other collectibles, but they’re less interesting to me.
At first, I didn’t like the character model of Lincoln, it just looked off in some way when you start the game. It did get better after the inciting incident in his life happens and you pick up as him again down the road, he just becomes a more likeable character. A nice part of the game, and something that’s feeling really rare these days, is that you can customize his outfit without having to spend real-world money on micro-transactions! This means that you’re immediately able to just swap out his whole outfit to something a little more your style from the get-go, how refreshing. This was important to me because I knew I wasn’t going to pick up this game again, so being able to enjoy the way my character looks without unlocking every little item was appreciated.
The story isn’t that bad, it’s your typical bad/good guy let’s kill everyone tail. I really like the CIA handler that you work with, he’s the one who’ll supply you with all the intel and lead you to the next major mission in your journey of revenge.
An issue I did have, besides the game crashing on a few occasions, was the side character of Cassandra, she’s the boss of the Haitian mob in town. She starts out alright, but that only lasts until you’ve brought her into your own gang and don’t give her everything right away. She quickly became an annoying asshole at every one of my boss meetings. Every meeting you have she’s complaining about not getting territory and that I wasn’t looking out for her. It just made me despise her, which meant that I kept giving more to my other guys and she got nothing (she clearly didn’t like this choice and let me know at every opportunity). I continued to ignore her ramblings, if only she had played it cool she would have been an equal partner in my crime organization, but she couldn’t handle it. I ended up just killing two of the three bosses I had working for me.
Final Score – 7.0
It’s just a decent game that I got for “free” with PS Plus. It reminded me of simpler, old school style open world games and I appreciate it for that. I love the story and the fact that this studio decided to make it. This is not your typical play it safe little mafia game that only fit the Italian stereotypes. It opens up an interesting part of American History and hopefully it allows people to see the world from a different perspective. Just wish Cassandra wasn’t so annoying!