One week on from release and we think we finally have a handle on Mafia 3, in terms of its console performance and perhaps more crucially, what it actually takes to run this game at 1080p60 on a mainstream gaming PC. What's clear is that this is a game that somehow made it to gamers in a highly unoptimised state, and the amount of bugs, glitches and crashes back to the desktop are legion. Fundamental questions need to be asked about the QA process here - and also of the console platform holders, whose own technical requirements demand a far higher level of stability than what we're seeing here.
Regardless, it's all a bit of a shame. The lighting engine is a real high point, and parts - at least - of Mafia 3 feel like they're genuinely built with modern machines in mind. There's a subdued beauty to Mafia 3 at its best, and there's an apparent attempt to match the oil-painted concept art that pan across its loading screens. Seeing flashes of sunlight play across a rain-soaked streets is a purely incidental moment where all its effects combine to create something spectacular. And likewise, there's a good use of volumetric lighting in interiors to give that a dim, chiaroscuro effect we see in film noir classics.
But that's the city of New Bordeaux at its best. Elsewhere, it's often a dark foggy place, which can only go so far to hide the obvious pop-in as you drive fast down its streets. There's an almost last-gen appearance to the world as a result; not helped by the low resolution, flat textures maps and basic NPC models. Some parts look superb, but others feel like they're plucked straight from a PS3 or Xbox 360 version that never came to be.