FBT gets made. And made. And made again in the remastered mafia trilogy
As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. Yet somehow I missed the Mafia Trilogy. Now it’s been remastered, time to see if I’m funny how? How am I funny?
Taxi-driving Tommy Angelo is forced to drive mobsters Paulie and Sam to safety after a botched hit. Enticed by their money and lifestyle in the midst of the Depression, Tommy joins the Salieri family as they battle the Morello Mob for control of the city.
Rebuilt pixel by pixel, this is both a remake and an extension of the original. I’ve not played the original, so I can judge this purely on its own merits, and what really strikes me about Mafia is we’re really just a bunch of thugs. We don’t get ‘Made’, don’t make our way up the ranks, don’t enjoy the spoils of war and there’s no glamour, it’s just a constant tit-for-tat battle to keep our corner of the city from Morello. When Tommy boasts to a cop he’s ratting to, you know he’s just trying to convince himself it was all worth it; all the talk about honour, loyalty and family is just crap they tell themselves. There’s little romanticism of life in the Mafia, and it’s more satisfying and realistic than some gangster wish-fulfilment.
What makes this so intense is it’s essentially linear. There’s Freeroam, but we’re focused on Tommy’s mobster life. If this had been made now, we’d have local gangs to take out, strongholds to raid, mini-bosses and side-mission filler, but this has made me miss linear gaming, where we get lost in the story not the city. And what a beautiful city it is. I can’t compare it to the original, but compared to recent games, this goes to the mattresses.
And you’ll end up on a mattress often. In the original the cops were unforgiving, and while that’s been softened here (‘Classic’ is the nightmare setting), both the gangsters and cops are incredible shots, perfect drivers, and bullet-proof. But it’s not a balancing issue, they react to what you’re doing and what’s going on, making the shoot-outs desperate and realistic. It’s brutally good, one of those games where you go ‘fair play’ after getting put down. Get into cover and spray everywhere with a Tommy Gun, that’s the Chicago way.
You can lose hours just marvelling at what they’ve achieved here – this is a living, breathing city from the 1930s. The NPCs are a masterclass in realism – they react believably to gunfire (and to if they get hit, one gave me the finger), to the environment, to each other (some have their own narratives) – meanwhile Tommy has tons of subtle animations and his cohorts react to your behaviour making the whole city feel real rather than scripted.
The cars (and now bikes), while a little loose in the back end (who knew drifting was a thing in the 30s), feel like they’re from the period without being impossible to control, making car chases just the right side of exciting. There’s an obvious mission-incoming moment when you help a Salieri-sponsored race car driver prepare; of course, he gets injured, so taxi-Tommy is in the driving seat. I expected that to be an unnecessary annoyance, but it’s one of the best races I’ve ever played. Scrappy and hectic with brilliant race commentary, I was actually gutted when I won, I would have done that again. Not sure how I won though.
Although it’s supposed to be