Have You Played… Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Gosh, I don’t like to think that you might not have played Mafia. Oh no, what if you played the horrible Mafia II, and not the first one? Oh gosh, dear me, no.

They are chalk and cheese. Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven, as absolutely no one has ever remembered to call it, was a wonderful game, bursting with heart and intrigue.

Look, you can hate me for this if you want, but I’ve never seen The Godfather. Nor Goodfellas. I’ve never seen Casino, Donnie Brasco nor Once Upon A Time In America. Even Jane Austen’s Mafia! It’s never interested me, grumpy men talking about cwaaffee and who they’re going to pop. I’m sure they’re very good, but until they feature dinosaurs or spaceships, I will continue to disgust you. So I came to Mafia not knowing all the allusions it made, but rather appreciating them as their own story. I think it’s all the better for it, as I played through ten years of the life of former taxi driver Tommy Angelo.

The tragic curve of his life, the breaking down of his personality and hopes, makes for a compelling anti-heroes journey. And yes, it has that race, but you can get past it. It’s a stunning game, and a demonstration of what others could be doing with GTA as a foundation if they only had the imagination.


  1. rondertaker says:

    remember finding out that you could just drive through a shortcut in the middle of the race and easily win

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Really? I managed to win it once, and thus complete the game. Tried a replay a few years ago and still couldn’t win. Abandoned the attempt.

      • geisler says:

        It boggles my mind that so many people find the racing section impossible and never finished the game. This is one of the only open world titles where cars actually handle relatively realistic. You just counter understeer and oversteer as you would in a real car. The AI is a joke, you don’t even have to be fast to win. Just slow down in a straight line for the corners, turn in at moderate speed, and accelerate past the apex of the corner.

        Sound a lot like an actual race game? That’s because it was developed as one.

        • Klydefrog says:

          Hey man, chill out, it’s all good.

        • Smion says:

          I guess that makes a pretty good argument for not expecting your players to be super good at racing games for one single level of your open world-ish shooter.

        • Dorga says:

          Tsk, I played the game with a touchpad

        • DrollRemark says:

          You know that driving that actual car that fast would have been even more difficult than it was in the game, right?

          I don’t think “It’s not difficult, just realistic” quite works as a defence.

    • Carra says:

      I remember that I stopped playing it as I could not pass that race.

      • JackMultiple says:

        I came so close quitting because of that damn race. So I went out and bought an analog “steering wheel” joystick-thingie that plugged into my Soundblaster MIDI/joystick port, and finished the race on the very next try!

        It looked similar to this (that’s the PS version, the PC version was black).

        • JackMultiple says:

          Stupid non-editable web content…

          It was called the Ultra Pro Racer. I think I still have one (I bought an extra!) but have nothing to plug it into anymore. Well, nothing that would make it work like it was intended.

    • v21v21v21 says:

      For those of us who don’t remember it, they actually launched a patch (v1.3 IIRC?) to make the race easier.

      I’ll tell you why I didn’t finish M2. Sure, I’ll tell you; right now, I am: they patched it through steam WITHOUT ASKING and HOSED THE SAVE FILES!!! Yeah. They did. Friggin’ morons. I’m cool about it though. Got over it. I’m cool. FRIGGIN’ MORONS! AAARGHH! AAAAAAAA….

      • welverin says:

        If you have automatic updates turned on, you gave them permission.

  2. Harlander says:

    Music while driving was done in an unusual way in that game. Usually it’s your usual film-score instrumentals, until you drive into a certain bit of town and the Mills Brothers’ Chinatown, my Chinatown cranks up..

    • joa says:

      Yes this game has some of the best selected music, it contributes greatly to the sense of place. Like when you are driving along bopping to the violins and guitar.

    • DrollRemark says:

      I remember it had a lot of Django Reinhart. Which made it a Good Soundtrack.

  3. BobbyDylan says:

    Really? I managed to win it once, and thus complete the game. Tried a replay a few years ago and still couldn’t win. Abandoned the attempt.

  4. Spuzzell says:

    I signed up just to say that Mafia II is excellent, and you should wash your mouth out.

    Bad John. Bad. BAD. Go to your bed.

    I’ve never enjoyed simply driving around a game world more, and the game itself is great. Plus the soundtrack is fabulous.

    • liquidsoap89 says:

      And it has some of the best shootouts of any game out there. Easily matching the greats like Max Payne.

    • Chiron says:

      It was alright, but the shoot out levels seemed to dominate and drag on for to long, we’re talking Valentines Day Massacre levels of violence every time.

      Mafia 1 was about the driving, and it had a lovely Free Ride mode built in to it so you could just tour around

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Someone on here said Mafia 2 didn’t have any character or detail in the world, my eye is twitching immensely right now.

    • silentdan says:

      Mafia II was a goddamn masterpiece. I played it from beginning to end three times at least. The truck loading section should have been a cut scene, but ignoring that, I give it five stars. I especially liked the mission that connected Looper-style with the ending of the previous game.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Agreed. It’s not as good as the first one, but I wasn’t expecting much from John’s original review. The shooting was much improved on the original. The atmosphere wasn’t quite the same, however.

  5. Zarf says:

    Mafia II was fine. I don’t remember too much about the gameplay, but I do remember liking the campaign and loving the graphics.

  6. Jericho says:

    It may sound silly, but I LOVED that you had to follow basic traffic laws in Mafia lest the police would try to pull you over and give you a ticket. And yes, GIVE YOU A TICKET, not try to murder you like they do in the GTA games. There was just something about those little attentions to detail that made the game’s world that much funner to explore. I also loved that they gave you a “Sunday Drive” mode where you could pick your vehicle of choice and just drive about the game’s huge map, enjoying the sights or maybe trying to do a race or get into a spot of trouble with the law.

    The Race mission was infuriating until they patched it, but I actually managed to struggle through it pre-patch and came out the other side as a much better driver. The shooting gameplay was also quite nice, but I never got a good grasp on the fisticuffs and melee combat. It felt that if you couldn’t sneak up on someone and take them out with a surprise blow then there was no point in using a knife, bat, or brass knuckles.

    Finally, I also LOVED the vehicle damage model and how you could take a bat or crowbar to a car and slowly dismantle the damned thing. It made driving and combat so much nicer when you knew that cars weren’t just a single stray bullet or a love tap from a light post away from exploding into a fireball. For all the effort to make cars in the GTA games, they always felt more like death traps to me. Being in a big car in Mafia actually felt like a safe place, even if collisions at high speed were deadly due to impact force. At least you could use the hunks of iron as good cover!

    Also, surprisingly tasteful nudity.

    • Wetcoaster says:

      For the instant-kill baseball bat attack, you have to charge it up (hold down the attack button), sneak behind the victim, and then release. An absolutely brutal attack. Like the Arkham games, I’m not sure half of the recipients of these ‘non-lethal’ attacks ever walked (or in some cases, breathed) again

    • geisler says:

      Share your opinion about everything you said. Can’t believe that no other open world games “simulated” as much about the driving as this game did. Things like the traffic and the handling of the cars, the little details as being able to turn the engine and blinkers on and off and so on. Classic stuff.

      • Jericho says:

        Well, the “simulator” type games certainly do allow for all the details of operating vehicles, but I was just surprised to see it in what is otherwise a third-person action game. MAFIA is essentially GTA but in the 1920’s through the 1950’s and with measured doses of realism in key areas.

        In many ways the game seems obsessed with its cars, too. Since it starts off at a time when personal automobiles were just becoming a thing (Ford Model T and such) and moves through a few decades of progress, the player gets to see the progress of cars through that time period. We move from 2-cylinder hand-crank-starter Model Ts to gas guzzling V8s. The introduction of the race car, coupes, sedans, limos, and so many different types of cars. The game devs put a lot of detail into their cars and even have a showroom feature in the menu where you can inspect each vehicle as you come across it in the game. There’s no feature to do that with the character models or the weapons, so clearly their focus was on the vehicles. The player not only has to worry about the basics of driving (gas, brake, turning) but also starting and stopping the engine, turning on and off the lights, using the turn signals, and also manually shifting gears (no automatic transmissions yet!).

        Even if you could care less about the mafiosos, there is just so damn much to the cars that you could enjoy the game just from being able to drive around the city and its surprisingly large surrounding countryside. The fact that the story and combat are also entertaining is just icing on the cake at that point!

        • WJonathan says:

          The manual-shift option was truly one of the small masterstrokes that made driving so special in Mafia. Winding out old jalopies or V-8 sportsters around the city corners really added a great deal of fun, for me at least. You rarely get to hear engines strain at high RPM in typical sandbox games, and the authentic sounds of old low-tech poorly-muffled engines were very accurately recorded. If you appreciate old cars, Mafia is a treat just from that perspective.

  7. Spuzzell says:

    I wrote this 4 years ago on another anti-Mafia II review, and I stand by every word!

    “No-one could possibly be interested anymore, but I just finished Mafia II on PC, and I thought it was excellent.

    I thought the cover and shooting system was fantastic, I enjoyed the brutality of the fistfights (even if they are simple to control they’re still fun) and I thought the story was twisty and good.

    I also actually ENJOYED playing an amoral character for once. Vito wants money and respect, end of. There’s no bullshit about morals or good/evil choices.. you’re a mobster. You shoot people and commit crimes for money. And its FUN.

    I also thought that Empire City was a fabulous setting to play in. I actually loved just driving around the city obeying traffic laws, its genuinely beautiful. Sunsets and snow in particular.

    I’m no fanboy, I’ve got no axe to grind, but I remember this review seeming VERY harsh at the time. It put me off buying the game until recently when I saw it going cheap.. and I’m sorry but it’s just wrong.

    This is a seriously good game. Its not GTA, it doesn’t want to be GTA. It’s a 3rd person action game about being a mobster. It’s taut and exciting, it looks and sounds sensational and I HIGHLY recommend it.”

    • Beefenstein says:

      I got it from some bundle or something, it’s one of the 300 unplayed and uninstalled games in my library. If I play it will I get some kind of prize?

      • liquidsoap89 says:

        There is no prize greater than the satisfaction of knowing that your unfinished library is one game smaller!

  8. bilstar says:

    Nobody told John about the space-dinosaur bit in Goodfellas?

  9. 321 says:

    Yeah man, you’re spot on about the dreadful Mafia 2. It actually pains me when i read all the younglings or console gamers who don’t know anything about this gamechanger and confuse Mafia 2 with a good game or something. And seeing people that are hyped about a potential Mafia 3 only because they played 2.

    I remember almost everything from Mafia 1, all the tension, all the missions, the hardcoreness of it all, how the church fight was so hard, how the hotel rooftop was so hard, how the liquor mission was so hard and how i spent an entire day repeating the race over and over and over again. Almost tear inducing, the prospect of being stuck forever at the race and not see the game develop further. On version 1.00.

    My buddies Paulie and Sam and all the betrayals. All the recent gamers talk about is Mafia 2 and some guy Vito. Who the fuck is Vito? I’m Tommy Angelo

    • Relnor says:

      Is Mafia 2 a bad game compared to it’s predecessor, or a bad game in of itself ? I think it would be unfair to say it was a bad game per say, even though the 1st one was certainly more compelling.

      • PoulWrist says:

        Mafia 2 was just bad in and of itself. A typical bad sequel where they thought they knew what was good about the first game and just made it all about that an in the process it became tedious.

    • TheRealHankHill says:

      Because I enjoyed a good game I’m a console gamer or a youngling or MUST not have played the original? Oh stfu. This is why people hate this site. Mafia 2 was a great game, and I played/enjoyed Mafia when it first came out on PC.

      • 321 says:

        I’m pretty sure you’re lying.

        • silentdan says:

          Wow, now that’s some hardcore arrogance, there. Anyone who claims to have lived on this planet for roughly the same amount of time as you, and doesn’t share your taste, is lying. That’s just absolutely amazing. Thanks for revealing how utterly broken you are as a person; it’ll save me from mistakenly taking you seriously about anything.

          • 321 says:

            That’s some insightful shit right there. You read me like an open book from five words on the interwebz. Scary

          • silentdan says:

            Yes, I did, but it’s not scary. It’s just sad.

        • Shakes999 says:

          *Shrug* I thought it was funny. And who the hell hates this site? Its heads and tails the best gaming community on the internet. Prob some commie pinko’s over at Neogaf.

    • dbreed says:

      I think I see some kids on your lawn. You might want to go shake your first at them.

    • Shakes999 says:

      Mafia 2 was highly detailed. And not fun in the least. I don’t think I even bothered to take it back to Gamestop, I just threw it in the garbage.

  10. badmothergamer says:

    Like most others, I enjoyed Mafia up until “that race”. I did finally win it, not due to any skill, but simply because I got lucky and the lead car that was impossible to beat glitched and got stuck on a wall or something. I was able to easily cruise around the track to victory, which was nice because if I recall my last thoughts before the start were “If I lose this again I’m punching my monitor and never playing another game for the rest of my life”. I guess the gaming gods answered my prayers.

    I can’t recall much else about the game other than that race being one of the most frustrating moments in my 25+ years of gaming. I don’t even think I finished the game I was still so frustrated, even after getting lucky and winning.

  11. Pazguato says:

    Great and hard game.

  12. evilsooty999 says:

    I hate you.

    • 12inchPlasticToy says:

      It was meant to be a prank, not my fault if you moved. Jeez…

  13. montorsi says:

    Horrible? Really? It wasn’t Mafia 1 but it wasn’t a bad game. It just wasn’t fantastic and didn’t stand out much from the crowd.

  14. seamoss says:

    I logged in to RPS for the first time in months to show my support for Mafia II. I loved the first Mafia, and it’s definitely the better game of the two, but Mafia II is *not* horrible: it’s a good game with a good story, great music, and looks pretty. I hope no one brings up “open world” and such – linearity in games generally gets a bad rap, but if combined with a good story well told then it makes for a great experience.

  15. GavinUK86 says:

    I actually prefer Mafia 2 to 1.

  16. evilsooty999 says:

    Haven’t played the first one, but I thought Mafia 2 was decent albeit nowhere near as good as the likes of GTA. The Physx effects in some of the shoot outs were great (particularly the museum near the end) with rubble flying everywhere. The only thing that let it down was that it had the worst DLC I have ever encountered; such a drop in quality from the main game that looks like it was thrown together in a few days.

  17. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    >>I will continue to disgust you

    For a non-native speaker that might at first sound like “i despise/hate you” and not the other way around. I know, that’s mostly their problem, but still wanted to mention the 3rd party perspective (‘cuz I love RPS veery much)

    Anyway I remember was jaw-dropped by the realistically good looking faces. But back then i was too stupid to not fail the first ingame driving lession. Then my time ran out, and the neighbor, whose computer I was using, kicked me out.
    Will try to get back to it (the game, that is, and not unauthorised access to people’s belongings)

  18. Premium User Badge

    Graham Smith says:

    I love Mafia but I spent 60% of my time playing it cursing at the screen. Sure, the race was hard – even after the patch – but much of the rest of the game was almost as difficult. Lots of missions that involved fighting wave after wave of enemy, or navigating cluttered environments quickly, or where the tedium of combat simply overwhelmed the interesting story.

    Like I say, I love it, but these things have made it hard for me to return to re-play it.

    One thing I did like, and which gets forgotten, is that lots of the missions had little bits where they forked. Pursuing a car full of gangsters into the countryside could either end with you ramming them off a bridge or, if I remember right, you pursuing them into an airport and shooting down their fleeing plane.

    • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

      >>Pursuing a car full of gangsters into the countryside could either end with you ramming them off a bridge or, if I remember right, you pursuing them into an airport and shooting down their fleeing plane.

      The single-target missions should have multiple thresholds of failure, each of which must lead you to a certain work-around to more or less successfully finish the task. I’d happily play half as short sandbox game, but with missions that offer you opportunities instead of a timer)

      I’ve heard Hitman does something like that, but I’m yet to play my first Hitman game.

      • Premium User Badge

        Graham Smith says:

        Play Blood Money! It’s a great game precisely because of that ability to find solutions to problems of your own creation. A sandbox with, say, six possible methods of assassination in each mission but enough simulation and AI in between that the actual possibility space feels far larger than that.

        • Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

          Will do, sir! (right at the next vacation)
          Thank you for suggestion, Graham.

    • Ross Angus says:

      In John’s retrospective in Eurogamer for the original, he describes his method of firing the Tommy gun in Mafia 1 (basically using it like a sniper rifle). After learning of this, the shoot outs become significantly easier.

  19. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    John, you should watch The Sopranos. Tony Soprano actually loves dinosaurs. There’s a great scene where his wife brings him a dinosaur book.

  20. Eight Rooks says:

    Mafia II was certainly dreadful – to anyone who thinks it had a good story; you do not know what a good story is (among many other things, it certainly doesn’t stop in a way that makes Half-Life Episode 2 look like a graceful conclusion). But Mafia the first wasn’t amazing either. It was a lot more fun, and the writing was much better, but like the second game the vast majority of the map did absolutely nothing, the game world didn’t have that much detail and I never felt any real compulsion to replay it. GTA IV I’d go on taxi rides to stare at things and play virtual tourist. Neither Mafia game offers any real reason to do so. Great soundtracks on both, though, I’ll admit that much.

    Oh, and one thing about Mafia no-one else ever seems to mention, that weakened the illusion considerably for me – the first bullet from the tommy gun would always hit dead centre of the crosshairs every single time, and it had ridiculous range. You could snipe enemies with one hundred percent accuracy from hundreds of metres away with that thing and give them no chance to fight back. Still, if somebody hasn’t played either one, I wouldn’t exactly recommend the first game, but at least I wouldn’t actively warn them off it.

    • Ross Angus says:

      Perhaps this is a stable of the genre, but Mafia 1 doesn’t have any developed female characters. At one point Tommy gets a wife mostly for plot reasons. After the midpoint of the game, I don’t think she’s mentioned again.

  21. Chaz says:

    And what’s wrong with Mafia 2?

    I put off playing the 2nd one for ages because of all the negativity around it and then when I finally got around to giving it a go after picking it up cheap in a sale, I really enjoyed it. A good game I thought.

    Conversely I don’t remember the first one being that particularly amazing either. Especially as it was hot on the heels of GTA 3. A good game for sure but it wasn’t that brilliant. What it had going for it was the period setting, which was very well realised and an excellent physics system. As with Mafia 2, the city was really just a back drop for the missions, there was more or less non of the GTA style side quests and activities. Not whilst you were playing through the main story line anyway.

    • wraithgr says:

      Yes, think about what you are saying: it came out soon after gta3. Gta3 barely had any story worth talking about, and then here’s mafia with actual characters, compelling writing, actual *soul*….
      Gta3 impressed me because wow, you could get into any car and drive around, neat. Mafia was much more real, at least to my memory…

      • Chaz says:

        A game, first and foremost needs good gameplay. A good story always goes down well too, but I don’t think it’s that important to make a great game. In the case of Mafia though, it had to be good, as without it, there was very little else. Which was kind of my point. As a game it was just OK. The story was good, but if I just wanted a good story then I’d read a book.

  22. Paul says:

    Mafia 1 is a masterpiece in every way, and game way way ahead of its time.

    Mafia 2 is…great. Really great. But it was butchered, part of its Dan Vavra’s authored script rewritten, missions cut out, melee combat cut out…it could have been a masterpiece, instead it was just great.
    It was definitely modeled more after Goodfellas, then the almost “romantic” Godfather, which is why I suspect Walker disliked it so much.

  23. wodin says:

    Enjoyed both of them..and are two of the games I’ve actually finished.

  24. ghossttman says:

    I enjoyed both games in their own way, but the first game feels more special to me as, knowing nothing about it, I picked it up for pennies down the market one day. Not only did it have the aforementioned speeding tickets, the opening section where you just drove a taxi, and the race – by the time I got it the patch was available – but what for me was the game’s real unique selling point: Freeride Extreme.

    In FRE you had the whole city at your disposal and a dozen or more hidden missions to complete, each of which rewarded you with a unique (and often outrageous) car. In keeping with the rest of the game, the missions were often pitched at hardcore difficulty while, notoriously, one was actually impossible to complete if your framerate was too high. While the execution of FRE left something to be desired, it is something I wish more games would do.

  25. Dale Winton says:

    Bugger off mafia 2 is/was a great game. I played it again recently and loved driving those old gangster cars about. No game yet does that better. The first one was pish I thought

  26. Isometric says:

    I love both games, though probably the first a tad more. I must have replayed the first at least 10 times over my younger years. So many fantastic locations and what a story. Young me was completely taken in. Looking forward to seeing Mafia 3 one day.

  27. transmogrifi3d says:

    Interestingly enough, I just finished the game yesterday. I played through it on the PS2, taking turns with a friend, and it’s very obvious that the PC version was far superior. Even so, I was deeply impressed by the story and the systems in play, and we had a lot of fun going through it. There were plenty of memorable moments. We actually beat the infamous race section because the AI car in the lead glitched out and ran directly into a wall and went flying. We certainly didn’t complain.

  28. piedpiper says:

    I think Mafia II is better than first one. I was more invested in story and characters and interesting gunfights. Yep, the city in Mafia II still feels so alive because of tons of details and music and pedestrians and cars. First game was ambitious but it was dragged down by old technology and unpolished gameplay. I tried to walk instead of running and acting like a normal person in Mafia II just because it felt natural. Never felt the same in any open-world game.

  29. snugglez says:

    The shooting was interesting and fun in Mafia because the situations and locations they put you in were tactically complex. The mechanics of the shootouts were a little clunky, though. I think both came as a direct result of their experience creating Hidden and Dangerous 1 & 2, which were squad-based tactical shooting games. Man were those awesome games, but man were the mechanics difficult to master.

    Where is H&D 3?!

  30. snugglez says:

    Awww, I went ahead and googled Hidden and Dangerous 3, and I think there is basically zero chance of seeing that, given Illusion Softworks (now 2k Czeck) is making: nothing? At least there has been nothing I can find since 2011.

    Kind of begs the question: why keep the studio open if you aren’t making anything. Hey, maybe they are secretly working on Hidden and Dangerous 3! Yaaaaaay!

  31. Jimbo says:

    Mafia 2 is a fine game. I wish more games were brave enough to use an open world setting without feeling obliged to vandalise it with hundreds of hours of trash level content (all Ubisoft games I’m looking at you). It’s worth the price of admission for the meat cleaver scene alone.

    Mafia 1 is one of the greatest games of all time of course. It also has one of the 3 good game endings ever made, which is no mean feat.

  32. jonahcutter says:

    Loved em both. Both are great games. Excellent, tragic story arcs in both.

    The seemingly inevitable but perfectly toned ending of the first.

    And the surprise tragedy of quiet betrayal of the second. Watching your best friend led away to be wacked summed up the mob experience perfectly. After all his maneuvering Vito managed to save himself, but only in the last moment is the true cost revealed. And he has to just sit there silently and take it. Perfect.

  33. Warlokk says:

    I never got far into Mafia 1 last time I tried it, although I really enjoyed 2. Tried to give it another go, but the Steam version crashes immediately on launch on my new Win10 build, and I can’t seem to figure out how to run in Compatibility Mode via Steam. Apparently the game was pulled from Steam some time ago for music license reasons, so there isn’t much support available either. Bummer, really wanted to give it another try.

  34. fish99 says:

    I’m not interested in organized crime films either, but I watched Godfather just because I’d grown sick of modern Hollywood films and wanted to see if they’d ever been any good, so I bought a load of best-picture winning films from the 60s and 70s, including Godfather, and …. it’s effing brilliant and deserving of it’s reputation as one of the best films. You should watch it John just to appreciate the acting. The book is excellent too.

  35. Menthalion says:

    Mafia 1 was a masterpiece, Mafia 2 was just OK. Hearing about how the original story was mangled makes me a bit sad, because you just felt it could have been so much better.

    Oh, and best (but most underappreciated) mafia film certainly must be the Coen brothers’ Millers Crossing. In my opinion it equals Fargo in being their best work.

    • joa says:

      My memory of this film is not too good – I thought the film was too studied, like they are just trying to imitate the stylistic elements of the mafia film. I feel Coen Brothers are always better in their funny films than in the serious films. But maybe it due time I watched this again, it has been a while indeed.

  36. heretic says:

    Mafia 2 had a disappointing story, much prefered the original in that respect. However the gun fights felt a lot better in Mafia 2, I don’t know what it was – but guns really had a weight to them and were lethal!

  37. zat0ichi says:

    Yeah Mafia 1 was awesome and played it through a few times. I used to incite graphics envy with the beginning scene where the pre rendered video turned into game play. That cigarette smoke! The sounds track. The horrific (plausably realistic) car handling.

    For some reason I never played GTA3 for any length of time so mafia was my go to game for digitised crime

    Mafia 2. Eye bleedingly lovely + physx. I thought the the city worked a scenery for the game and was not really bothered that I couldn’t follow any random stranger home and watch them have dinner/rob someone/masturbate

    Once you get over that it was a quality piece of entertainment.

  38. Blaaaaaaag says:

    John, I hope you’ve at least seen L.A. Confidential.

  39. buzzmong says:

    Mafia 1 is one of my all time favourites; it’s got some large flaws and some of the shootouts are bloody hard (I never found the driving hard even on 1.0, just treat it like a driving game and slow down for corners, pick the lines and hit the apex correctly), but it is a brilliant experience and a good story all around.

    To me, it borders on Deux Ex 1 territory in that that it’s not just a computer game, it’s a paragon of what the medium can be as entertainment and an experience. Doesn’t quite reach the same heights, but it’s still bloody good.

    Mafia II was disappointing, it might have been considered ok if taken on it’s own, but as a sequel it was expected to be bigger and better but I found some of the mechanics and just general feel of the game to not even be on par.

  40. Immobile Piper says:

    One of the better videogame stories I’ve played. And the gameplay’s alright too!

  41. dethtoll says:

    I hated this game so much. So very much.

    It was a giant mess of cliches with a plot that barely made sense, awful voice acting, a city that didn’t feel half as lively as the uglier, boxier-looking GTA3 which came out a full year previous, frustrating trial-and-error gameplay with clunky shooting mechanics, truly terrible optimization, and an absolutely schizophrenic difficulty curve. I legit do not understand the praise it gets, except for the fact that people tend to mistake gravitas for depth.

    Mafia 2 fixed all that and still wasn’t any fun to play.

  42. cylentstorm says:

    *sigh* Yes, I’ve played both, actually. The original is fugly (by modern standards) and clunky, though it does seem to be a bit more fully realized than the sequel. Both had charm and quirks, and who doesn’t love to play as a wiseguy? A bit more meat to go with the garnish on Mafia II would have silenced all of the ranting and cane-shaking from the nostalgia crowd. Yeesh–give it a rest, already. Go take your Geritol. I remember playing Pac-Man and Centipede on a 2600, but I have absolutely NO desire to go back to that crap.

  43. KFee says:

    Best single player experience I ever had in a game.

  44. smisk says:

    Really enjoyed Mafia 2 and would definitely like to play this. Sadly it’s not available anywhere now… Time to rev up those torrents!