Does The Original Mafia Still Hold Up?

On the 28th of Aug 2002, developer Illusion Softworks and publisher 2K Czech released the first Mafia installment for Windows XP later also being ported to PS2 and Xbox in 2004. Upon release in 2002 it came to pleased reviews stating it was a more serious and realistic GTA style game. When development started it was nearing the end of 1998 with the game codenamed Gangster, and was intended to be similar to the first Driver whilst being finished by 2000. When in development, Illusion Softworks wanted to use the engine utilized in a previous game called Hidden and Dangerous, but found it lacked the necessary requirements so moved over to LS3D. Because of the change over from game engines development went two years past expectation.

On the 25th of Sept 2020, almost 20 years after the original installment came out, a different developer that goes by Hangar 13 and the same publisher 2K Czech remade the original City of Lost Heaven with an expanded storyline and more, but this time for PS4, Xbox One and Windows 10. Some new changes that came with the remake were motorcycles being a first in the whole series. Another thing is that there is another difficulty called ‘Classic Difficulty’ being the hardest difficulty in the game and acting as a nod to the original difficulty from 2002. Also ‘Free Ride’ and ‘Free Ride Extreme’ are now just one game mode.

Source: IGDB

Now being honest compared with the remake, the original Mafia isn’t great by today’s standards. The graphics leave a lot to be desired. Gameplay-wise, the mechanics of the guns are, well … let’s just say that for the Tommy Gun, the recoil is nuts. While the driving in the original game was alright, there was virtually no way to drift in the original game without crashing into a pole or car or something.

To be fair the storyline is alright. The idea that the main character (Tommy Angelo)  is sort of forced into working for Don Salieri even though he didn’t really want to be, then getting at the end of the game is rather harsh.

From a visual standpoint, the original release was rather incredible for 2002, but in the last 22 years the gaming industry has thrived and major advancements have been made. The remake on the other hand has updated visuals significantly, and with a strong enough computer, PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, you can run the 2020 release in HDR and 4K resolution.

Overall I think it’s an alright game that still holds up after over 20 years, and that it wouldn’t be a bad purchase. With it’s small size and okay graphics I think it would be a great game to buy, especially if you’re interested in games set in the Depression Era.

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