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Mafia (Xbox) Impressions..


Romier S
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Let me sum this up quickly for you: The Xbox port is terrible. As someone that played and loved the PC original the Xbox game is an absolute travesty. The city of Lost Heaven which was teeming with life on the PC game has been reduced to a bland textured, three to four cars on the road wasteland. There is no feeling of a living breathing 1930's city here.

 

All of the textures have been gutted here and lack any kind of fine detail found in the PC game. The shine and reflections that were readily apparent on the car models in the PC game have been removed and replaced with flat single colored textures. The framerate varies from acceptable to absolutely atrocious (during the opening car chase sequence you'll see the framerate drop down to slide show). The power lines that run across the city are just terrible looking and give the game an overly "jaggy" appearance.

 

The gorgeous cut-scenes from the PC version have made the translation without problem but where the PC game was able to display these sequences in real-time the Xbox version of the game displays the story via FMV's, not using the in-game engine. Normally that would be a minor gripe but all of the detailed textures, the reflections, the hustle and bustle of the city you remember from the PC version are there in all of thier glory and it makes the game look that much worse.

 

If there is one good thing to say about Mafia, it is that the gameplay has translated quite decently to the Xbox. The speed limit has been upped for the Xbox version (much like the PS2 game) and it makes driving sequences less painless. The controls work well considering the types of cars you are using (these aren't GTA style autmobiles and for the most part they all handle and move much like you'd expect a car from the 30's to move). They brake very slowly and its easy to lose control of the car if you are making to tight a turn.

 

The on-foot portions of the game have also translated well. There is a good auto-aim function which easily allows you to switch targets and the camera works better than most third person action games. However the blurry and abhorrent graphics make it difficult to distinguish what you are shooting at times.

 

To put it as simple as possible they took the "work" that was done on the Playstation 2 port and put that on an Xbox disc. Little to no effort was made to take advantage of the Xbox hardware (which should be able to easily handle a good translation of Mafia) and the result is a strikingly mediocre port of a damn fine game. Certainly the gameplay portion has been done well but the fact of the matter is Mafia is a game that relies almost exclusively on its atmosphere and its ability to make you feel as though you are a gangster living in the 1930's. The Xbox version (as well as the PS2 game) fails miserably in that department. Graphically it ranks as one of the shoddiest PC ports I've played in the last few years.

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I was going to buy this yesterday, until I looked at the back of the case. There was only one features box checked, and that was the number of players. No HDTV 480p, no Dolby Digital sound, nothing to indicate there had been any improvement made to the PS2 version. Too bad, this might have been a big seller.

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This saddens me, I was hoping for a decent Mafia port so that the game would get more attention. I did not however have much confidence that the game would make a good transition. The games that get little positive pre-release coverage and then turn out good are few and far between. I'm surprised the game made release, I kept waiting for it to fall from the release lists.

 

All that said, I still highly recommend the PC version, I had a lot of fun with this game. :tu:

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I wish that I had seen this thread. Unfortunately I picked up the Xbox version of Mafia and honestly I can't see what the hype was about over the PC game even if the game is a bad port.

I'm not very far along in the game but I see some intitial annoyances.

Very long, unskippable cut scenes, and an auto save system that doesn't really reassure you that the game has in fact saved. The graphics are really ugly, along the lines of the Counter-strike Xbox port. Alos, this game wants to play like a first person shooter but with your character visible like Hitman & Max Payne but it is really, really lousy. I know the game is like a year old but if feels much older.

 

The game seems to be just plain boring to me. Initially you start off as a taxi driver and take a few people to their destintions. Yawn. Then you take the boys and pick up some collection money. Yawn again. A lot of driving back and forth, and you have to be really careful not to do anything wrong or the police will chase you and I could not find a way to lose them. Finally the game picks up when there is a shoot-out but the action feels so disjointed.

 

The story seems interesting and probably the only reason I would continue playing if I wasn't really stuck at this part that is insanely hard. Either that or I am just doing something wrong. You have this race car and a very limited amout of time to get it to an auto shop. I am so far away after many tries I can't imagine ever getting past this part.

 

There are so many good games out there that I have played. What a mistake to follow up with this. I was hoping for a good immersive story to play along with after just having finished 'The Suffering' and Deus Ex and also EON. I would say for anyone looking to try Mafia to be sure and rent it first.

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Ok, I see where I went wrong. The mission prior to the one I was on was time sensitive to the current mission. Replayed it and passed it. I was really anxious to see how the gameplay was after the big race since I was told it picks up after that.

 

I dunno, it all still seems so mundane. Drive here, pick up that. Yawn.

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I got past the big race and the game play is still rather dull. The shooting and interaction with other characters is just NOT intuitive enough. There are so many other good games that deserve more like POP and BG&E that is one QUARTER of the price of Mafia. Why Mafia is full price when it is just a crappy port I don't understand.

Maybe I will wrap it with some dead fish and send it to the publisher.

:D

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Dean,

 

The PC game is so much better than the Xbox/PS2 version that I find it sad the only exposure folks will get is that of the console ports. Some of the things you mentioned such as the driving back and forth etc. are not better in the PC game in terms of gameplay but the wonderful graphics and the feeling of actually driving in a 1930's environment really propelled the game to a level where you could look past of the gameplay deficiencies. The controls are also far better in the PC game, which handles the third person perspective more efficiently AND the Xbox version reduces the difiicutly dramatically. (I imagine you've gotten to the church shootout level which was one of the hardest portions of the PC game, the Xbox version can be trounced on the first try).

 

I would highly recommend ANYONE that has a mid-level PC to try and find Mafia in the bargain bin and give it a try. You will find a dramatically different, more polished and just a far far better game.

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