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  • Acceptable Targets: Played with. The game makes The Klan, Confederate apologists, and Southern racists the target for much of Lincoln's wrath. This has ticked off a very large number of them. This, of course, makes the game even more popular with those who have a dislike for them.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: An early one comes up in-universe with Lincoln Clay thinking of his adoptive father Sammie as a shrewd businessman, honorable man, and pillar of the community. Cassandra, by contrast, considers him a weak brownoser who was nothing more than Sal Marcano's puppet.
    • Lincoln himself is likely meant to be an ambiguously characterised sort. We know he's an Anti-Hero, but just what kind of Anti-Hero? Just how bad of a person is Lincoln, and is it entirely his own fault that he is that way?
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  • Anticlimax Boss: For as sinister and violent of an outside force as Santangelo is made out to be when he meets with Sal, he rolls up in an ordinary car just like any other hitman you'd encounter on a Trafficking mission, and can be disposed of without Lincoln breaking much of a sweat.
  • Arc Fatigue: A major complaint about the game is that while the writing and plot is generally accepted as solid, it is bogged down by the fact that you spend most of the game unlocking territories and doing the same activities in order to progress.
  • Awesome Music: The soundtrack is based on 60s blues, and manages to capture the era and setting perfectly. The soundtrack also features carefully curated classics from the era, increasing the awesomeness.
    • The jangly first song that plays in the game proper (excluding cutscenes), "Psychotic Reaction" by Count Five, provides a great score for Lincoln and Giorgi blasting their way out of the Federal Reserve.
    • Also during the Federal Reserve heist is "Born To Be Wild" during the boat chase at the end, and "I Fought The Law" when the crew finally escape the police.
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    • "Green River" plays while you hunt Uncle Lou dead after destroying his riverboat. "Fortunate Son" also plays at the credits of the game, when John Donovan shoots dead the Lousiana State Governor after Donovan reveals he was a mastermind behind JFK's assassination.
    • Stones Unturned has some great songs at pivotal moments, like "Wild Thing" during the turret shoot-out and "Eve of Destruction" as Lincoln and Donovan try to shepherd the nuke back into American hands.
    • During the finale, as Lincoln drives to Marcano's casino, Mourning Ritual's slower, haunting cover of "Bad Moon Rising" plays, making it perfectly clear that this is the end of the line.
  • Broken Base:
    • Immediately after the announcement, fan opinion were divided about the protagonist and the setting. While some see it as an interesting new take, with potential especially lying in playing as a black man during one of the most racially tense periods in American history, others think it is too much of a change of genre and want the classical Mafia setting back.
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    • Others are divided whether the game makes proper use of its setting (They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot) given the Civil Rights Era is only a backdrop between Lincoln Clay's Punisher-esque revenge plot crossed with criminal takeover.
    • While the more sandbox take of this particular installment is widely applauded, many people either feel that it isn't used to its full potential, as you can't buy anything from stores or do side activities (it was justified for its defenders because Lincoln and co works underground), or that the linear elements of the previous games suit the series better.
  • Catharsis Factor: Since this is a game where you fight virulently racist assholes in addition to the standard "gangster" enemies, a lot of people are going to be very satisfied.
    • Taking down the openly racist Neo-Confederate Dixie Mob and putting down any remainder encountered is exhilarating for many players.
    • Many people take the opportunity at the Southern Union rally to not only kill Duvall and the armed guards, but everybody wearing a white robe.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: A big complaint about the game is that you can more or less win the game by hiding and whistling for guards to come to Lincoln. It becomes even easier once you get silenced weapons. The poor A.I. of the guards and the fact they don't chase you means that it's a lot easier than it should be.
  • Complete Monster: Mafia III has a trio of Politically Incorrect Villains, a pair of Human Traffickers and a Dirty Cop, who put all other villains in the series to shame:
    • Ritchie Doucet, the leader of the Dixie Mafia, is first shown participating in the betrayal and destruction of the Black Mob, where he personally stabs Ellis, Lincoln Clay's younger brother, to death. As a reward for his help, Doucet is given control over Delray Hollow by Sal Marcano, and starts running heroin and prostitution rackets. His prostitution racket is revealed to be comprised of black women whom he's had abducted, addicted to heroin, then forced into sexual slavery to service white patrons.
    • Remy Duvall is a Blue Blood of New Bordeaux, and the host of its widely popular "Native Son" radio broadcast. On the air, he presents himself with a folksy, gentlemanly demeanor while he espouses white, Christian values. In private, he's the militant leader of the Southern Union, a white supremacist group, and in league with the Marcano Crime Family. Under his leadership, Duvall's group beats and murders blacks, helps the Marcanos in their PCP operation, and, vilest of all, sells blacks into slavery for wealthy whites, a crime that disgusts even other mobsters. After Lincoln Clay dismantles his operations, Duvall gathers his followers with the intention of leading a manhunt for Lincoln, which involves marching them to Delray Hollow and burning it to the ground in revenge. Though Duvall claims to love his city and want to protect it, he's ultimately a self-serving hypocrite who thinks the city belongs to him and only cares about Christian whites, and he's even willing to harm them through his drug dealing and criminal activities if it will benefit himself.
    • Faster, Baby! DLC: Sheriff Walter "Slim" Beaumont, the vicious, ruthless and racist sheriff of Sinclair Parish who seeks to maintain power and to make sure the town has an all-white influence, does so by murdering black citizens after sundown. He also works with the Southern Union, letting them loose on Sinclair Parish, using additional murder and intimidation to keep its citizens in check. When a movement starts to expose his crimes and bring him to justice, he murders Ezekiel Dandridge, and steals the written testimonies gathered against him. By the time Lincoln and Roxy arrive in Sinclair Parish, Beaumont is already targeting the citizens that are testifying against him. When Lincoln and Roxy put a stop to his plans, he has Lincoln abducted and prepares to leave him to the Southern Union, taking the time to gloat to him.
  • Contested Sequel: Easily the most controversial game of the entire series. Supporters believe the game is good in terms of storyline, cutscenes and cinematics. On the other hand, detractors believe that it forever tainted the legacy of the series to focus on an out of place storyline.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The game's main selling point. Lincoln is a Vietnam veteran with a stick up his ass, a bullet drilled into his head, and an explicit desire to make Sal Marcano suffer like hell. How does he take away Sal's brother? By sabotaging a ferry full of upper-class fundraising a corrupt politician, who is set on fire. And then it explodes, killing everyone but Lincoln. Every execution is in some way excessively violent, and every mini-boss uses some form of chaos and excessive violence. The entire narrative is about interrogating Lincoln's minions after he single-handedly destroyed New Bordeaux.
    • The Baron Saturday theme park is one of the most racist things ever created with a cariactured Black cartoon Baron Samedi spouting off horribly inaccurate facts about the Vodou religion. The line crossing happens that the level is about Lincoln hunting down and murdering white supremecists holed up there and lynching their leader. Afterward, the radio mentions the park failed due to being unpopular with Black groups. Gee, really?
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common complaint about the game is that while Marcano is a racist backstabber who gets what's coming to him, Lincoln ends up being no better than him or any of his cronies during his Cycle of Revenge. For example, he ends up killing several people who had very little to do with the murder of his family, such as Frank Pagani, and several people onboard Lou's boat and turns New Bordeaux into a war-ground, which causes Father James to realize he is no better than Marcano and kill him should Lincoln kill his three cronies. In addition, Burke and Cassandra fair no better, being greedy jerks who end up up destroying New Bordeaux if Lincoln leaves most of New Bordeaux to either.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: The game is rather repetitive and tedious when it comes to acquiring territory and it doesn't really take advantage of the open world game style it introduced to the series, but the premise and the story is just enough to maintain enough interest in seeing what's gonna happen next.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: CIA agent John Donavan has been very popular due to calling out the senator for being involved in the Kennedy assassination and killing him on live TV, then telling the other conspirators that he's coming for them next.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Some fans of Mafia II often refuse to believe that Leo Galante's driver may possibly be Joe Barbaro, believing that it cancels out the mystery behind what happened to him after Galante said he wasn't a part of him and Vito's deal. Due to disputes involving what really happened to Joe, the Wikia-made Mafia Wiki explicitly disallows any mention about this topic.
  • Game-Breaker: Silenced pistols are these if you're going for stealth.
  • Goddamned Bats: Sentries. Even though they're usually the weakest enemy in any racket (even late into the game, they're merely armed with a pistol), they can be a major nuisance in the beginning of the game by calling in reinforcements. Said reinforcements usually use much more advanced guns than the player, and can easily rip through Lincoln in seconds if you're too careless to hide. Not to mention, they usually tend to be in that will alert other enemies if they are killed, even when using stealth approaches. They're also a nuisance even with Cassandra's perk that disables phone lines, as not killing them quick enough may alert other members.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The game's plot is about acquiring territory for your gang with a Ragtag Band of Misfits associates. This is a concept which has been done in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the Saints Row series, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate, and plenty of other titles. Aside from its setting and focus on racism, the game doesn't arguably distinguish itself very well from other titles of its nature.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Burke's a bigoted, mean-spirited drunk who has no problem resorting to violence to achieve his goals. However, in addition to the pain of losing his son, he drunkenly confesses to Lincoln that he has spent his whole life fighting and pushing away people who only wanted to help him.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Sal crosses this when he betrays and kills the Black Mob. This is particularly noticeable as it's completely unnecessary as the reason Sal has the Black Mob killed (Sammy's "weakness") is now compensated for by the fact Lincoln is there to back him up. We also discover that not only does Sal betray the Black Mob but he also betrayed everyone else involved in the heist as well from Vito to Burke. We later discover he had a semi-decent reason for doing so as he needed the money to fund his casino and get his family out of the mafia life - but due to racist elitism, he didn't even consider convincing the pushover Sammy into becoming a legitimate business partner, and was basically leaving his lieutenants to grovel and die.
    • Ritchie Doucet crossed it with the kidnapping of black women to be raped by white patrons.
    • Remy Duvall has crossed so many lines that it is almost impossible to keep a single example. Under his leadership, Duvall's organization murders blacks and literally sells blacks into slavery for wealthy whites. It is later revealed by Donovan that Remy took part in the murder of four civil rights workers three years before the events of the game, in which one of them was decapitated.
    • Lincoln himself can cross this by killing his underbosses so he has complete control over New Bordeaux's criminal underworld. Notably, if he does this, Father James realizes he's no better than Sal Marcano, possibly worse, and has him killed with a car bomb. And that's not considering how many civilians the player has killed by now, mostly for kicks.
  • Narm:
    • Averted during development. Lincoln and his friends originally used their N-Word Privileges a lot more, but playtesters found it comical, leading Hangar 13 to tone down the language slightly in the final script.
    • The Dixie Mafia's racism and criminal activity is serious, but when even the city located brothel security staff wears overalls it's kind of taken too far the redneck stereotype.
    • While it's a nice Anti-Frustration Feature, the fact that traffic violations don't get Lincoln in trouble in a town full of racist cops is a bit jarring. Walking into a white-only bar is apparently a worse crime than driving 100mph on the opposite lane. Though the "white only bar" is justified given that the Mafia owns most of it and early in the game some of the targets are there.
  • Porting Disaster: Basically sums up the PC version, as the developers made the decision to lock the frame rate to 30 fps, citing consistency with all platforms as a reason. Naturally, this doesn't bode well with PC gamer crowd as they expected the game to be more feature-filled than the console releases. Though complaints did die down after the 60 FPS patch came out.
    • Further analysis shows that the game also upscales from 720p regardless of how powerful your hardware is, resulting in blurriness even if one turns anti-aliasing off (even despite also seeing jagged pixels). What makes this stand out is that the Xbox One version of the game does the same thing, while the Playstation 4 version upscales from 900p, meaning the Playstation version technically looks cleaner than both the Xbox and PC versions. Furthermore, button prompts involving keyboard and mouse are prone to be glitchy for abnormal reasons, and switching an input for control seems to crash the game when it's pressed. Which is bad considering it's not exactly a perfect control setup, what with Left Alt being your counter button and all.
  • The Scrappy: Cassandra, for constantly complaining about not getting enough rackets unless you give her the majority of them. Her ending when Lincoln leaves does not help matters as she turns New Bordeux into a crumbling trash heap even before the hurricane.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: At least on consoles, the aiming reticule slows down when it's near an NPC. This sounds like an Anti-Frustration Feature, but those used to aiming with a controller may find it more frustrating than anything. Not only does practically no other game do this, it also means that shooting characters who're currently running becomes harder than it should be. This also cannot be turned off in the settings, and the fact that there already is an auto-aim function raises the question why it exists in the first place.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many fans were actually excited about setting the game during the Civil Rights Era, the death of Martin Luther King, and the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Others note that the game is a stereotypical "gang territory takeover" storyline combined with a revenge plot. This has led to a Broken Base.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: Dividing the city between the underbosses was touted as one of the game’s key features. If you gave too much to one the other two would turn against you. While a good idea on paper, it’s completely pointless if you know basic math. There are nine districts in New Bordeaux and three underbosses. Not counting the ones they start off with all you have to do is give them two each and the city will be divided evenly between them. The only reason not to do that is if you really hate one or more of them.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Zig-zagged at best; During private preview events gaming press were shown a tool Lincoln Clay can use against enemies, a Voodoo doll. As an object based in stereotypical images of Voodoo and conjuring Black tribal savage imagery, it's not a good look. The devs tried to work around this by explaining that Lincoln is a psychological warfare specialist and while he doesn't believe in Voodoo, the Italian mobsters he's fighting are superstitious enough to react to a Voodoo doll fearfully. While discussing their respective preview events Vice Gaming's EIC Austin Walker—who is Black—thought the justification was still pretty flimsy and problematic while Italian-American Vinny Caravella of Giant Bomb summed up having the explanation told to him during his previewing as "they pulled back that punch and elbowed me right in the face."


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