So far each of Mafia III‘s DLC has felt like it was part of a different movie genre. We started off with Faster, Baby!, which felt right out of a blaxploitation film. Following that, we had Stones Unturned, which was closer to a spy thriller. Now Mafia III‘s third and final DLC is here. Sign of the Times mixes it up again, by playing out more like a detective movie with some seemingly supernatural elements. Does this prove to be a winning combination, or does the final DLC end the game on a bad note?
Sign of the Times opens up with Lincoln and Father James deciding to revisit Sammy’s to try and reconcile with the past. When they get there, they run into a strange cult called the Ensanglante who are trying to force a pregnant woman named Anna into committing ritualistic murder for them. What follows is Lincoln attempting to hunt down and stop their cult from whatever it is they have planned. Of all the DLCs in the Season Pass, Sign of the TImes easily has the most interesting story. The weirdness of the cult and trying to figure out exactly what they’re doing serve as an interesting goal. Furthermore, Anna proves to be a really well-written character, and I found myself easily invested in how she got sucked into the Ensanglante and what happened to her.
As interesting as the plot is, there’s one really strange blemish on it that I couldn’t help but notice. In Mafia III, it’s established that Lincoln will never kill a woman, even if that woman is trying to directly kill him. Despite this, Sign of the Times is chock full of female enemies that Lincoln has absolutely no problem gunning down. It’s blatantly character breaking, and it’s especially noticeable when neither the main game nor any other DLC episode did this. It’s not a deal breaker, but I wished they found some way to incorporate Lincoln’s refusal to kill woman into the gameplay rather than just sort of forgotten about it.
You’ll be following a chain of missions to take down the Ensanglante, and they’ll include much of the same driving and shooting that you’ve already grown used to. Similar to how Faster, Baby! added in a major new element by letting you slow down time while driving, Sign of the Times offers a big change by letting you slow down time while shooting. The ability runs off a meter that will recharge slowly over time, or you can get it to recharge quicker or last longer by making head shots. On one hand, it’s a fun addition because, seriously, who doesn’t love slow motion shooting. On the other hand, it honestly makes the game too easy. It’s clear Mafia III wasn’t really designed around the ability to slow down time, so I tried to avoid using it unless it was necessary. There are also a few new weapons, one of which is a throwing knife that you can use to keep stealthy when needed.
There’s also one major new gameplay element in the form of some minor puzzle solving and detective work. Taking a page right out of detective game L.A. Noire, you’ll have to sweep over environments to find clues as to what happened there. You can pick up objects in the environment and look them over so you can inspect them closer for the relevant information. It’s an interesting change of pace, but it never quite goes into enough depth to really stand out. Still, I do like that something different was attempted here.
Once you’re done with the story line for Sign of the Times you’ll unlock a new and multi-step side quest. Lincoln decides to give rebuilding Sammy’s bar a shot, and you can begin to use your money to renovate it. While a lot of rebuilding the bar will just be based on getting money and clicking buy, I was actually surprised by some of the deeper elements. The bar was occasionally attacked by racists looking to burn down a business owned by blacks, forcing me to help defend it and hire guards. As I got more staff I talked to the bartender and learned that he lost his car in a race, giving me a new quest to go win it back. The bar becomes both a way to get more money and a place for smaller side quests, making it feel like a real place that I’d love to spend time in.
While it may not be as good as Faster, Baby! was, I still had a fun time with Sign of the Times. I wish the detective scenes had a bit more to them and that the game’s story didn’t require character inconsistencies, but I was still entertained by what was here and found it enjoyable enough that I’d suggest it to Mafia III players.More About This Game
If you can ignore the fact that Sign of the Times' story requires Lincoln to be completely out of character, it's a pretty fun expansion that adds in neat side quest content and a fun story.
- Interesting Story
- Shooting Slow-Mo Leads to Fun Moments
- Rebuilding Sammy's Bar is a Great Sidequest
- Story Requires Lincoln to be Out of Character
- Detective Stuff is Boring