Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven
Tommy is a cab driver in the 1930’s when one night a car chase ends next to his taxi. A couple of gangsters jump into his car and demand he gets rid of the guys chasing them.
After a short car chase where you as Tommy show your driving skills, the gangsters get dropped of at the cafe of a mobster, give you a big tip and the possibility to join the “family”.
A couple of days and an encounter with some the people that were chasing the gangsters and you’re ready to enter the mafia family which you will serve honorably but ultimately bring down.
That’s in short the story of Mafia, a game which plays like a movie and looks like a movie.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a game on pc which really compelled me and which made me eager to find out how the story ends. After Max Payne, Mafia is the first to bring back that feeling.
The story is well-written and the characters are very true to life. Throughout the game you get to know each person and you tend to be able to really feel what your character is thinking. It’s almost like the makers of Mafia have hired an entire platoon of scipt writers to make the story as believable as possible.
Mafia is a 3rd person action game which most of the time would mean that you get loads of guns but this time the atmosphere and surroundings are more important than gunfire.
Throughout the city of Lost Heaven you get a feeling of authenticity which is caused by loads of details like the suits people wear, cars that handle like motorised junk and the way people interact. Everything breaths the time Al Capone was king in Chicago and the prohibition was bringing in tons of money to the different gangster families.
Although there are minor flaws like people walking through cars or walls occasionally (a flaw which you can see in loads of 3D games these days), the graphics are superb. Characters look like real people, cars are not based on models that really existed but they look just like they could have, and the city of Lost Heaven looks like a small version of the Chicago of the 1930’s.
The way the city is set up is magnificent. Rather than really split the game into different levels, the whole town is 1 map where different settings get accessible according the mission you need to do. This way, you feel like you’re in a free environment rather than in a game where limitations like invisible walls block your path.
The gameplay is a combination of a normal 3rd person shooter and a racing game. During your missions you drive through town in cars that you steal and of course you’re a gangster so you don’t always abide by the laws, resulting in car chases with cops who would be more than glad to help you out of your misery. Next to that you have to complete your missions which most of the time end up in killing other people that stand in the way of the “family” (or yours for that matter).
Killing people can be done with a variety of weapons going from an ordinary baseball bat over Magnums and Smith&Wessons to shotguns, machine guns and even a sniper rifle. If you choose, you can of course also just drive them off the road as you’ve got quite a big amount of freedom in what you do or don’t.
Freedom is almost complete in Mafia. Once you’ve finished a mission, you sometimes get different choices of what you want to do, but if you don’t feel like following the set path you can just aswell go driving around, exploring Lost Heaven.
I could go on and on about all the magnificent things that make this game a must have (and to be honest : it’s hard to stop rambling about it) but a conclusion has to be made and it is this : What “The Godfather” was for movies, Mafia is for games.
Go get it.