Review by CloudStrife5671

"Amazingly, this game is so much more than a GTA3 clone"

This may be dubbed by some people as just another GTA III clone (it was just in a similar poll on the GameFAQs Homepage) but, if you haven't guessed it, it is so much more. This game could almost be considered an interactive movie, because it is so story-driven and there are many cut scenese throughout.

First off, for the review part, let's start with graphics, shall we? The graphics here, on the LS3D Engine are very very nice indeed, especially the faces. The cars themselves are nice and shiny and curvy and stuff ;) Oh yea, they also look very much like actual 1930's era cars. With graphics up on full, the cars let smoke out of their tailpipes, shell casings are thrown around your tommy gun as you empty off a drum, and you can see individual stores. The city itself is massive, and with no between-area loding (everything is loaded at the beginning of each mission) you can drive seamlessly from one end of this beautiful city to the other. It even has draw bridges (massive fun with a nice car) and the lighting is superb, it really adds to the games mood.

The next thing many people look for in a good game is the game's story...which this game definitely shines in. The story in Mafia is nothing short of movie quality. It has a nice cast of 2 rival mobs. Even later in the game, new characters are added, and there are certain *twists* that I, myself, never saw coming. If you appreciate a story heavy game, this game will be in your top 3 for years to come, however if thats not your bag of chips, you might still like some of the other aspects of this luvverly game.

A third, and very important aspect of a game is, of course, Gameplay. This game functions as a third person game with cars in it and guns. That is where all the GTA3 comparisons come from. They also stop there. The driving in this game is more of an intermission as you progress from story part to story part. Its also the first game I've played where you need to obey traffic laws, such as speeding, and stop lights. The city also features a public transport system, which adds a whole lot of fun....theres nothin like having a mafia chase in a streetcar filled with screaming civillians, or ditching your guns from an elevated railway crossing the river. The shooting is very smooth, and theres no noticeable camera clipping. The hitboxes (i think thats what theyre called) are accurate, i didnt notice any aiming at a tree and hitting the guy next to it. Only complaint here is the horrid civilian AI which is walk around aimlessly, until they hear gunfire, then hit the deck or run away.

The sound in this game is also very high quality. The sounds are what you'd expect, 1930's horns, accents, dialects. The gun sounds fit each gun very well, and the voice acting is superb. Then....then we have the music. This music is the greatest of all time, in my opinion. Jazz and old 1930's era music holds a special place in my heart, and they have very VERY good selections for the different points in the game, and even the different areas of town. This song has classics ranging from Chinatown, to some of Duke Ellington's works.

After you have beaten the main storyline part of the game, there IS still reason to keep playing. Throughout the game, from the beginning on, there is a Free Ride mode. You guessed it, its like a free reign through the city. Gangsters walk the streets, you can buy guns, get in chases, whatever floats your boat. There are more options that become unlocked as you complete parts of the game, such as new cars to start with, new times to play it in, and even which area to play in (the countryside, the large version of the city, small part at night). Also, once you have beaten the game, a new feature becomes unlocked....Free Ride Extreme. FRE has a series of bizzare (and incredibly hard) missions to complete which in turn, unlocks new Hot Rods for your Free Ride ventures.

All in all, if you're looking for a very good game, that will keep you entertained for a good bit of time, while satisfying whatever violent urges you have towards gangsters, this game is for you. However, if you're more of the shoot-em-all-up and kill an entire city, while selling might want to try something a little more GTA. This game is a defining game I think, and really should be tried by everyone at least once.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 07/08/04

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