Well, here is another review I didn't write recently. Actually I finished this game right after Mafia II. On 2010/08/20. I can't believe you made me write a trigger warning before my post, just how far have we fallen?
Originally I wanted to finish the game before Mafia II came out, but I spent my free time on other things, so I couldn't. But due to the shortness and lackluster nature that I had to fill the void it left in me. And what better way to do that than with the original game?
Despite not playing the game for years I still remembered all the missions frame by frame almost. Unfortunately this did take much away from my enjoyment of the game. But this also shows how big an effect the game had that I still remember 5-6 years later everything about it. Most other games I finished that long ago I can't remember a damn thing about. Of course the fact that I finished the game at least 4-5 times in the 2 years after it came out must have contributed to that.
Everyone knows the game, and if you don't probably my measly review here won't convince you to play a 15 year old game, so I won't detail the usual stuff that much. The graphics is terrible by today's standards, honestly the polygon count and texture sizes were considered low even in 2002. But I must give it to the game that it runs without a hitch on a 64-bit Windows 7, and can use any widescreen resolution including 16:9 and 16:10. Most other games from the era had serious issues when you wanted to run them in widescreen resolutions.
The game has a very well told story, it doesn't feel rushed or without context as some missions in 2. Sometimes the driving can be a bit repetitive, when you have to go the other end of the city and back during a mission. But the game is better at driving physics than most simulations of the time. It's actually a simulation, that fully supports wheels, and it's even recommended to have a wheel for it, or other type of analog controls for driving. Heck, the game even supports using a clutch pedal. Which is not a standard thing even today even in dedicated racing games. I'm looking at you gran turismo. (I know it can use the third pedal in various systems but it only acts as a digital switch in the game, and can't really be used as an actual clutch, it's detrimental to the game)
The action part of the game due to a lack of cover system (which was normal for 2002) is very hard. You can take cover behind objects manually but you can't shoot enemies from behind them because you'll always hit the cover. So you have to get out in the open to take them out. Which is hard, to do: Get out, aim, shoot, get back before getting hit.
If I'm ever going to make a top 10 games of all times list this would be on a very high spot on it.
- Overall impression
- Driving physics
- Wheel support
- freeride extreme
- mod support
- NPC Police AI
- The story could be a tad longer, but it's still twice as long as Mafia II without the ripoff DLCs.
- I wish there were more story missions that take you to the countryside
- It felt easier than I remembered from way back when, my gaming skills must've improved since.
I don't like giving 10/10 score for anything, because that would mean there is no room for improvement, and I haven't seen any game that had none. But this is as close to a 10/10 as you can get by 2002 standards, and certainly a strong 9/10.