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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Gathering

 

Developer

Digital Illusions

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q1 2004

 

 

- Good voice acting

- Compelling plot

- Realistic driving engine

 

 

- Long load times

- Sub-par graphics

- Sloppy controls

 

 

Review: Mafia (PC)

Review: GTA III (PS2)

Review: GTA - Vice City (PS2)

 

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Mafia

Score: 6.9 / 10

 

When Mafia was released for the PC way back in August of 2002, there were many things to praise it for.  The game featured a compelling story, wonderful graphics, and missions that really captured the feel of old school gangster films.  Now, nearly two years later, the release of Mafia on the PS2 should be a cause for celebration.  However, although the core game play remains intact, the PS2 version of Mafia is so vastly inferior to the PC original that it is hard to recommend to any but those PS2 owners who only own Sony's system.  Even those players will probably be disappointed with the overall quality of Mafia.

 

mafia ps2 review          mafia ps2 review

 

In Mafia, players take control of a low-level gangster during the Depression.  The PC original did a great job of capturing the feel of those 30's era films starring people like Edward G. Robinson.  The combination of great graphics, well designed cut scenes and solid voice acting made the PC Mafia one of the most compelling games in the genre.

 

Much of what made Mafia for the PC great transfers to the PS2 intact.  The voice acting remains superb as do the interesting cut scenes that pull the player through the main elements of the plot.  It's too bad that the port over to the PS2 resulted in such a hit to the in-game graphics.  Mafia for the PS2 somehow manages to look worse than Mafia for the PC did on the most basic graphics setting.  It is not close to being in the same league with Mafia on a mid-range graphics card.  Aliasing is a real problem, but it is the exponential drop in texture quality that really hammers the look of the game.  Mafia for the PS2 looks a lot like those early releases that came out before the developers began to get a handle on how to use Sony's system (I'm thinking Oni, texture wise).  At this point in the game, there is really no excuse for this kind of quality.  Blame it on a bad case of port-itis, I suppose.

 

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The mission design of Mafia will remind players of both the Driver games and the Grand Theft auto series.  The missions are a split of driving and on-foot missions and a couple that are a mixture of the two.  For the most part, the missions are interesting.  For the PC version I commented that Mafia had one of the best collections of missions I had played in a while, and that is still true for the PS2 version.  The problem is that two factors completely drain any joy the missions might contain:  shoddy 

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controls and long load times.  The driving missions become completely joyless because every minute or so the game has to pause to load another part of the level, and those load times are of the long, go-make-yourself-a- sandwich variety.  Combine the long load times with the fact that the driving controls are sluggish and the driving-based missions are like long, drawn out teeth pullings.

 

mafia ps2 review          mafia ps2 review

 

The on-foot missions fair slightly better.  The controls remain sluggish, and the load times long, but since players aren't covering as much territory, the load times are fewer and come less often.  Still, much of the fun in the PC version is gone.

 

This late in the PS2 life cycle, there really isn't any excuse for a port that is so shoddy, especially when it is coming a year and a half later than the original release.  The games that Mafia is going to get compared to GTA and GTA: Vice City simply look tons better than Mafia, and they feature seamless game play with no real load times.  Mafia comes too late to the game and offers too little to recommend itself.

 

- Tolen Dante

(April 29, 2004)

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