Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven is the first in a series of games that focus on the Mafia while placing players into a third person shooter free roam setting that is similar to that of the GTA series. The game was originally released in 2002 for Windows and eventually made its way to Xbox and PlayStation 2 with console game ports a few years later. Playing as Tommy Angelo who finds himself in the middle of a crime family war and forced to join one side to protect himself you’ll make your own decisions throughout the story plot.
As the name suggests the game puts players inside the Mafia as they attempt to rise through the ranks and become the head boss of the Salieri family. Alongside the Salieri family players will compete directly with the Morello family and other smaller crime gangs for control of the city and the profit to be made from criminal activity. The game is set in a fictional although believable city in the 1920-1930 era (known as Lost Heaven) which offers a New York and Chicago style setting. This era setting explores real world events and in particular the prohibition era which is where the Mafia is currently focused on the lucrative alcohol trade.
With a dual river which divides the city into three distinct districts of the West Side, East Side and Central Island that each have their own distinct communities and mixture of industrial locations or major city landmarks. In total players will explore a map that is pushing 12 square kilometres there is an abundance of places to visit, quests to accept and interesting characters to meet.
Gameplay across this game space in Mafia is a mixture of third person roaming, shooting and driving around the city to complete jobs. While driving is mostly focused on moving from location to location for quest based reasons it also includes car chases and racing to add a little more content to the driving portion that Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven offers.
Players can experience over 50 different cars which slowly evolve from 1920 to 1930 models as players advance through the game which adds a nice touch of realism to the game world and a sense of the world moving forward around the player. Mafia was also one of the first video games to use realistic damage physics for cars so players can expect their cars to visually change based on the abuse they take during car activities.
Driving is just one activity though and as players go about the game world exploring and completing quests they can expect to have regular confrontations with police given their links to the Mafia organisation. These run-ins with police are split between minor and serious offences with 4 minor events leading to a serious one that has different impacts to Tommy. Depending on the severity of their offence players can expect fines and even all out gun battles with the law which can distract your resources from your other game goals.
As it all comes together Mafia offers an impressive mix of story, shooting and driving while still giving the player enough room to go out and explore what the city of Lost Heaven has to offer at their own pace.
- Explore the fictional city of Lost Heaven in the 1930’s which is inspired by the real life cities of New York and Chicago.
- Join the ranks of the mafia and work your way up the Salieri family from a humble taxi driver.
- Offers plenty of story while still having player freedom in how you approach your rise to the top.
- Gameplay centred around third person shooting and driving elements as you explore three distinct game secrets..
- Originally available on Windows with PlayStation 2 and Xbox ports available.
Review Platform: PC