Mafia III’s new DLC is like a good car chase: over in a flash, but a fun ride while it lasts.
The story-based DLC, called “Faster, Baby!”, is also mostly about car chases, as well as weed and blatant innuendos. It takes place in a new rural location called Sinclair Parish, where notoriously racist sheriff “Slim” Beaumont is making life hell for black people. You, as Lincoln Clay, team up with Roxy Laveau—daughter of main game character Charles “The Voice” Laveau—to make Slim pay for his crimes. While Slim and his cronies stop just short of being mustache-twirling ultra-villains (with “racism” as their sole defining character trait), Roxy is aggressive, funny, and perceptive, and other side characters like war-vet-turned-weed-dealer MJ have their own sort of charisma.
Really, though, action is the centerpiece of this one. Car chases are a highlight, enhanced by new mechanics that allow you to slow down time while driving and drop mines from your car. The varied, hilly terrain of Sinclair Parish has a tendency to send cars soaring, leading to even more automotive ridiculousness. Basically, you end up ramping off hella stuff.
Mission variety is better than in the main game, though most missions still devolve into sneaking, shooting, or driving like a devil. “Faster, Baby!” just fuses those components more organically, rather than relying on the same canned template repeatedly. The final half or so of the main story is basically a giant destruction derby, which is great fun when it works and so irritating that I wanted to put a hit out on Mafia (the video game, not the actual mafia, which seems counter-intuitive) when it doesn’t. See, the central problem with this DLC is that Mafia III’s driving physics are so-so at best, and they certainly weren’t made to account for high-flying feats of redneck-squashing derring-do. During a couple chases, I’d pull off a huge jump, only for my car to flip over or get stuck on terrain, forcing me to restart the mission from my last checkpoint. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, but it’s annoying when a game’s physics can’t even support its own mission structure.
The other big issue with “Faster, Baby!” is brevity. I’m all for brief, powerful statements over meandering, meaningless tirades, but I finished the main story in about an hour-and-a-half, and I felt like I didn’t really get to know many of the characters or the setting. Maybe if the DLC had a bit more meat on its bones, Slim wouldn’t have been such a cardboard cutout bad guy, and Sinclair Parish would’ve felt like more than a lifeless backdrop. As is, the only character you really spend much time with is Roxy, and while she and Lincoln share some great moments toward the end, I still came away wishing I could’ve gotten to know her better.
Mafia games live and die on sumptuous characters and settings, and “Faster, Baby” hands you crumbs, rather than a filling meal. It’s a fast, fun adventure with a solid little arc to it, but it’s painfully insubstantial. It’s also disappointing in that it does address some of people’s complaints about Mafia III (namely, repetitive cut-and-paste missions), showing flashes of what could’ve been without really going all-in. In some ways, it feels like a cartoon version of Mafia III. The missions are less grounded and more fun than many of the main game’s, but the story lacks weight or nuance.
There are some optional side missions and other goodies sprinkled in, but they don’t add much in the grand scheme of things. So I’m conflicted. I enjoyed this DLC, but I can’t really recommend it unless you already bought the game’s season pass. It’s Fine (TM). I just hope the remaining Mafia III DLC episodes are better.