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Review Mafia III: Rivals
Take Mafia III with you on the go
Author: Brandon Girod
Date: 26 Oct 2016, tested on HTC One M8
Good voice overs, plenty of in-game options, top-notch graphics
Heat mechanic sounds good in theory but artificially limits how much you can play, people that go down in a fight get no xp, some moves are too powerful
It seems like the release of every new AAA console game now comes accompanied with a lesser mobile game. For Mafia III, it’s Mafia III: Rivals for Android. This is a turn-based RPG very similar to many other mobile RPGs. You’ll gather a few crews, take turns fighting waves of enemies, build up characters and grow your influence in the game. This is all, of course, while you’re trying to balance the use of artificial gameplay limitations.
The crux of literally every mobile RPG is its timers. In Mafia III, it’s called “Heat.” In theory, heat is actually a pretty cool idea. You’ll start the game out with two full crews and as each member of each crew goes out on a job, they’ll accrue a certain amount of heat. If they have too much heat then they’ll be unable to go out on any more jobs, so you need to rotate which crew members you use. The smart thing is that, at least in my time with the game, I was never able to max out of my crews’ heat. Instead, alternating my crews let me play pretty continuously. There is a cost associated with this, though - XP.
This isn’t an easy game. The first time I got into a fight, I had a guy go down. And when guys go down in this game, they receive absolutely no XP for the fight - not even partial XP. That’s a bad thing. That means your crew will level unevenly and it means you’ll need to grind previous missions in order to make sure your guys left behind aren’t totally useless. Even worse, it means that you’ll have to grind to make sure all of your crews are able to continue going forward without becoming useless. Otherwise, you’ll have to just sit and wait out those heat timers.
The game has a loot system and it’s a little less intuitive than other games like it. For instance, when you’re swapping out your crew members, it doesn’t display shorthand stat sheets for you to know who has what equipped or what their stats look like. There also doesn’t seem to be an at-a-glance look at what types of items every character needs to have equipped. Instead, you just kinda have to figure it out as you go, which isn’t difficult but it is inconvenient.
Mafia III: Rivals is a decent mobile RPG with great graphics and voice overs. The gameplay is fun and you can seemingly play for long intervals of time without having to wait for timers, but there is a limit for everything. If you like Mafia, you’ll probably like this. There really isn’t a big story associated with the game, but leveling up characters is as addicting as ever.