All the time, we see ports from both the PS2 to the PC and vice versa. Some turned out great, and others, well let’s just say one system got the better end of the bargain. In Mafia’s case you take a game that was brilliant on the PC and put it onto the PS2 where it’s far from being brilliant but more an average action title that could use some serious help to get this game back on the right track.
Mafia is one of those titles that is quite similar to SCEA’s The Getaway, in which the game focused more on telling the story via cutscenes rather than let the gamer play it themselves. The same happens here, where the gameplay takes a backseat to the story. The game takes place back in the 30’s when of course crime was at an all time high and you had your typical Godfather type characters running around the streets. Well you play as Tommy Angelo, a taxi driver who gets into the middle of a big mess. You were forced to help two gang men out of a bad situation that ends up landing you a position with Don Stella’s group. So from a lowly taxi driver to a full-fledge member of a crime gang, you are given the task of working for this gang and doing exactly as you’re told.
Mafia draws comparisons with the extremely popular Grand Theft Auto series, as well as The Getaway and even has shades of Activision’s True Crime: Streets of LA. Mainly this is because the missions you set out on are about the same. Collect money, escorting people around town, and doing all the other sort of jobs that you would expect this type of character to do, the dirty work. What is so compelling about Mafia is that it’s not a new age title and therefore you get to play in an atmosphere that is very much like the 1930’s. You drive in vehicles that top speeds aren’t 200mph or even 100mph but more towards 50-60 mph! This helps you really take in the 1930’s feel and allows you to see what it looked like back in those days.
The gameplay in Mafia is a mixed bag in many ways, because there are a lot of good elements and yet there is a lot of bad that could have been done much better like on the PC. For those of you who have yet to play the PC version and are wondering what this game is all about, here you go. It is very similar to GTA, where you will be spending a pretty equal amount of time driving around in cars and then the other half of the time doing missions on foot. You are given a few more modes then just the initial Story mode but they don’t go much farther then that. You have the free ride mode and a race mode but those really aren’t much of anything. For the most part you will be spending 99% of your time in the story mode, which is where the heart of the game lies.
Like I mentioned earlier this is one of those games that was great on the PC but all that didn’t translate too much on the PS2. Unfortunately the game doesn’t do what others have on the consoles. Mafia has the open-ended feeling like games such as Grand Theft Auto but they don’t do anything to make it worthwhile to want to roam around. Unlike in Vice City where when you drove around you could find plenty of side missions, Mafia doesn’t have this, in Mafia you can just drive around and get run of innocent civilians. As fun as that may sound to some, this gets old really fast, and doesn’t help the game much in the depth category.
The driving and on-foot missions are both average, and don’t feel as smooth or as accurate as they did on the PC, but instead just feel as though they still needed a lot of work before perfection. The camera while on-foot could use some work and gets caught up along the way, which is one of the downsides to the PS2 version.
Overall the gameplay just doesn’t come anywhere near where the PC version had taken this title. There is nothing massively wrong with the gameplay other then we have seen it done much better on the PC and it’s unfortunate they couldn’t match that to the PS2.
Talk about a huge difference between the PC version and the PS2 version of Mafia is found in the graphics department of Mafia. Where in the PC version you saw a pretty stunning looking game that really did a lot of things right and was really a great looking game for when it was released. Now take Mafia on the PS2 and you see a game that did way to many things wrong in the graphics department.
As you look at Mafia there are a few major problems that really make the game just look a lot worse then it should. When I see Mafia I think of a game that could use some serious help in the animation department as well as the detail department as well. Animation on the game is far from being smooth and the characters just look as though they have been worked on for five minutes. You compare this to the PC version and you will be just as disappointed as I am with the graphics.
It’s a shame how you can take such a gorgeous looking title like Mafia from the PC and then take it to the PS2 where you can easily point out way too many problems with the graphics. Overall the graphics are disappointing and flawed, and hopefully other developers planning to port from the PC to any console will try not to make the same mistake.
Mafia is one of those titles that can be rewarding but at the same time can be extremely frustrating at times as well. I found as though the game had a lot of times where things ran pretty smooth and then you would hit a mission that was either really boring or really frustrating, and unfortunately this happens more then once! I think that if you have patience then you can have some fun with Mafia.
Mafia is a title that was great on the PC and is just around average on the PS2. If it didn’t have so many graphical problems and if the PS2’s gameplay was tweaked a bit to work better with the controller then I could have been saying what a great game we have here. But unfortunately this is a game that I can only recommend to those who have yet to play the PC version and are dying for a game similar to Vice City.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.