"We've known each other for many years, but this is first time you've come to me for help," says Vito Corleone to Amerigo Bonasera in the opening scene of The Godfather. Swap out the word 'help' for 'the chance to discuss selling Mafia on our digital storefront', and I imagine that's how GOG secured Illusion Softworks' 2002 open world crime sim last year.
I suspect a similar strategy was behind bringing Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 to the online distributor too, which means the organised crime series is now available to play DRM-free in its entirety. To mark the occasion, each game is subject to a limited-time 50 percent discount—66 percent if pick them up together. Is that an offer you can't refuse? You tell me.
PC Gamer UK's 91-scored review of the first game doesn't exist online, sadly, but let me pull excerpts from Rich McCormick and Andy Kelly's respective Mafia 2 and Mafia 3 analyses.
First, Rich's words on the second's setting:
It was the city that drew me in. An amalgamation of New York's streets and Hollywood's hills, Empire Bay is as interactively sterile as all other 'open-world' game-cities, but it's been coated in a veneer of dreamy credibility. Each street and hallway has a feature—a man shouting at an open window; a woman pressing her ear to a door; the sound of an argument. It's easy to see these details written down in a design document, but it gives Empire Bay a genuine rhythm, a pulse that Liberty City lacks.
Plus, it helps that it is—on hefty machines—stunning. Turn up in the city in winter, and the streets are caked in snow, with layered bands of crystalline white on the untrodden paths contrasting with slush on the roads. And the lights! Even as the game transitions out of the 1940s and into the '50s, Mafia II's waxy lighting remains consistently arresting, casting pools of gold and yellow on windscreens.
Second, Andy's frustration with the design and performance issues of the third:
The repetitive mission structure might not have bothered me as much if the game was more fun to play, or if there were any interesting systems to experiment with. The melee combat has a satisfying crunch to it, but the firefights are about as generic as cover-based shooters get. Vehicle handling, even with the vaguely more responsive ‘simulation’ mode activated, is frustratingly weightless and slippery. And the AI is astonishingly dumb, with enemies behaving more like confused robots than people.
The PC port is pretty bad too. The textures are muddy and the image is curiously blurry, even when set to your monitor’s native resolution. The fact that I couldn't hit 60 frames per second with a GTX 970, even on medium settings, suggests poor optimisation. And the aggressive colour grading—an attempt to create a vintage ‘60s aesthetic—is way too overpowering. The city can look spectacular at night, especially when it rains, but overall the image quality and the fidelity of the world are incredibly disappointing.
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