Mafia III's first DLC (Faster, Baby!) was a refreshing change of pace. Putting more of a focus on creating fun and unique gameplay scenarios rather than having you repeat quests to take over sections of a city, the DLC managed to be a weird anti-Mafia III that was successful in entertaining me for its running time. Now the second DLC is here. Does Stones Unturned provide a similar experience, or should we just leave the stone alone?
Stones Unturned puts its focus on Lincoln Clay's CIA buddy John Donovan. When a CIA safe house comes under attack one of Donovan's old rivals, Connor Aldridge, shows up. Connor appears to be trying to secure a nuke, for reasons that Lincoln and John are unaware of. Now the two need to figure out what he's doing and how to stop him. The story of the DLC almost feels more like a James Bond film or an Uncharted game than something that belongs in Mafia, albeit with you playing as Bond/Nathan Drake's assistant rather than Bond/Drake himself. However, getting to see more Donovan is always a treat and his charisma and overt patriotism really do add a lot.
Your adventure will mostly take you around New Bordeaux, and no new permanent areas have been added to the map. There are a few new indoor areas where the story missions will take place, and the last third of the game moves to a Pacific island named Hermosa Pez. The particular island is actually a really interesting location change, offering up something else other than the Mafia III we've seen so far by providing lush jungles, a strangely abandoned small village, and eventually a Russian bunker. It's nice getting something totally different than what the game already offers.
If the last DLC was focused on car chases, Stones Unturned has more of a focus on fire fights. Over the course of the campaign, I must have spent more time in back-to-back gun fights than I ever did in the main campaign. Over the course of Stones Unturned's 5-hour campaign, I shot people in an abandoned CIA outpost, in a tropical jungle, through a shopping mall, and all around New Bordeaux. Fans of the gunplay should get a kick out of Stones Unturned, though I never really found Mafia III's gunplay to be any different than that of any other third person shooter available on the market.
Not to say it's all just gunfights. There's a single car chase which was rather fun, if not particularly unique. There's also a pair of moments where you get to hop into a turret in the back of a truck, flying down roads while taking out Aldridge's mercenaries as they peruse you. Similar to a lot of things in Mafia III, it's done competently but also about the same as any other game that has a similar segment. Still, it's a welcome break from the usual. Plus one of the car chases is set to The Troggs' Wild Thing which furthers my amazement at Mafia III's soundtrack and picking the right song for the right situation.
While Faster, Baby! added in a new game changing element with slow-motion driving, Stones Unturned doesn't have any of that. There are a few new guns and Lincoln now has the ability to call for sniper fire to support him, but these are more there to compliment the gameplay rather than change it up with something major. Still, I did enjoy calling for a sniper to pick off a few enemies while I was sneaking around, being a great way to take attention away from me when I needed it.
There's also a new bounty hunting activity added to the game after you finish the DLC's story. Here you'll have to find targets in a time limit, knock them out with a dart gun, and then bring them back to a jail cell. It's a fun little activity, though nothing that really stands out from what other games do. Still, it's a nice addition considering Mafia III's lack of other extra activities.
Stones Unturned is a totally competent expansion that doesn't quite hit the gameplay heights of Faster, Baby! or the story heights of Mafia III. It serves as an extra five hours of getting to hang out with one of the best characters in the game, shooting your way through some new challenges, and some extra side content for once you've had your fill. If you enjoyed Mafia III then you should also enjoy Stones Unturned, but it's not going to radically change any views.
Stones Unturned is a totally competent expansion to Mafia III that fails to bring a unique story like the main game or unique gameplay like the first expansion. Still, it is fun to hang out with the characters of Mafia III some more.
- Donovan Continues to be Fantastic
- Hermosa Pez is an Interesting Location
- Soundtrack is Still Put to Great Use
- Story Feels Out of Place
- Offers No New Gameplay Elements