Mafia III is an action-adventure video game played in a third-person perspective, in which players assume control of Lincoln Clay, a Vietnam War veteran on a quest to seek revenge for his friends, who are murdered by local mobs. The game is set in 1968 New Bordeaux, a reimagined version of New Orleans, with the open world being larger than the Mafia and Mafia II maps combined. Mafia III’s map is made up of ten districts: Bayou Fantom, Delray Hollow, Barclay Mills, Frisco Fields, Pointe Verdun, Tickfaw Harbour, Southdowns, River Row, Downtown, and the French Ward. Players can complete objectives using a variety of approaches. For example, players can use the weapons provided in the game, like shotguns and revolvers, to eliminate enemies, or even to call up for some aid or “assisted backup” from a few friends, before or during the gun fight. Alternatively, they can make use of stealth tactics throughout the entire mission without being noticed by enemies. The core gameplay revolves around gunplay.
In addition, players can also perform executing moves and engage in melee-combat. The game also features a cover system, allowing players to take cover behind objects to avoid enemy gunfire and some detection. Players can also interrogate non-playable characters after defeating them in order to gain more information on their objectives, like scaring them while driving a car. Players can attack and overrun locations owned by the Italian mob, and assign one of their lieutenants to operate around the local area. The game allows players to drive cars from the era with realistic drive mechanics and sounds.
Mafia III is set in the year 1968, and revolves around Lincoln Clay, a black biracial orphan. As a boy, he was adopted by black mobsters and later served in the Vietnam War as a special forces soldier. After being discharged, he returns to New Bordeaux (a fictionalized version of New Orleans) and reunites with his friends in the black mob, led by his surrogate father Sammy Robinson. However, all is not well as a turf war with the rival Haitian gang has put Sammy in debt with Sal Marcano of the Marcano crime family. Lincoln meets with Sal, who insinuates that Sammy is no longer fit to rule the black mob and suggests Lincoln take his place. However, Lincoln refuses, and to pay back the debt, he works with Sal’s son Giorgi to rob the Louisiana Federal Reserve. The heist is successful, but Sal betrays the black mob and has Sammy and all of Lincoln’s friends killed. Lincoln himself is shot in the head and left for dead. Father James, one of Lincoln’s close friends, rescues Lincoln and nurses him back to health. As he recovers, Lincoln calls for the assistance of CIA agent John Donovan, who was his handler during his time in Vietnam. Donovan agrees to use his resources and expertise to spy on the Marcanos while Lincoln vows to destroy the Marcanos and seize control of New Bordeaux himself.