Stones Unturned follows Lincoln Clay as he helps his Vietnam war pal, John Donovan, solve a vendetta that has been brewing since the war. Donovan was always fun when he showed up to help Lincoln in the main game, and he continues to be in this expansion. Their chemistry and banter is charming and really sells that these two men have been through a lot together. Unfortunately, that is the nicest thing I can say about the writing in this expansion. The generic plot boils down to stopping a bad dude from selling a nuclear warhead.. Mafia III and even the first expansion, Faster, Baby!, had something to say, usually about race. Stones Unturned briefly tries to explore the negative aspects of America’s military might, but does so through a speech of the antagonist in his final appearance and waves it off as crazy talk. It is unfortunately shallow writing from a game that so far, has had an amount of depth to it.
The adventure to track down this nuke takes Lincoln and Donovan throughout New Bordeaux, and to a random tropical island. The island provides a welcome visual change to the game. Colors all around the environment pop in a way that New Bordeaux does not. And since it is an area designed solely for the story content of this expansion, it feels better suited for the chaos going on than the open world of New Bordeaux.
And boy is there a lot of chaos. All seven missions feature some sort of large shootout occurring, sometimes in a bigger scope than in the main game. A grenade launcher, a rocket launcher, and mounted turrets are also brand new additions to the game, allowing for even bigger and louder gunfights and explosions.
Unlike Faster, Baby! there is not a brand new mechanic that adds to the experience, so most of the battles play out pretty predictably. I have always enjoyed how Mafia III controls, so I did not mind being constantly engaged in gunfights. But anyone hoping for some sort of unique change to gameplay will have to settle for the colorful tropical island setting.
After the main story wraps, a three mission bounty hunter side objective opens up. The set up got me excited for a change up in the combat, as each target has to be brought back alive. However, each mission takes only a minute or two to actually do. In order to successfully capture the target, they have to be knocked out with a tranq dart, placed in the trunk of a car, and delivered. The three targets are not difficult at all to take down, and the delivery aspect of it does nothing to hide the fact it takes more time to drive to and from the objective than to actually do it. It also wraps up so quickly and unsatisfyingly that it feels almost pointless.
The Verdict: 5.7 out of 10.
While I enjoyed blasting through a new environment with Donovan by my side, Stones Unturned left me feeling a bit disappointed. The gunfights felt like standard fare, and any sort of depth the story could have had is tossed aside for a generic action plot. Even for people who enjoy Mafia III’s combat, it is hard to justify the base price for this expansion.
Riley Berry is an Associate Writer for MONG. You can follow him on Twitter.