Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. This game looks and feels like "GTA3," only better looking and not as funny and 'open-ended.'
  2. With gorgeous graphics, an enthralling story, nifty sound and music, and fun gameplay, it's a blast from beginning to end.
  3. With better cut-scenes, more realistic driving physics, and a cinematic story, Mafia holds its own. While not as revolutionary as "GTA 3," it’s solid and oozes style.
  4. While I didn't appreciate the sudden difficulty of the racing mission, it doesn't wreck the game as a whole.
  5. Even with its problems, Mafia was a joy to play, and I really hope we see more games that expand on the Grand Theft Auto formula. But if you are going to do a GTA3-alike game, a unique setting as well as a few major gameplay additions are absolute musts. Luckily, Mafia delivers in those areas.
  6. The missions are very well linked between them and in the background you thought of a very interesting but somehow sad story.
  7. The pacing seems a little off in this game, and to compound the issue, there's no in-mission save. [Dec 2002, p.120]
  8. Yet Mafia oozes class, polish, and style like no other game so far this year. To not "experience" Mafia is a far greater crime than any in the Salieri family ever committed.
  9. 80
    A real treat... However, the occasional way-too-difficult mission leads to some frustrating repetition, and behaving while driving around so as not to blow the last leg of a driving mission can become slightly tedious.
  10. From the living city in which you reside, to the incredibly realistic vehicles, this title has the heart and sould of a blockbuster. [Nov 2002, p.147]
  11. The quintessential difference between other gangster games and this one is the fact that the story gives reason for the action to exist. It doesn't work the other way around.
  12. Mafia takes the idea of the bustling city to a new, incredibly ambitious level with an awe-inspiring sense of detail and forethought. Without a doubt, the game is gorgeous.
  13. I really enjoyed the missions, and even though they could be tough, the movie-like atmosphere makes for a truly compelling gaming experience.
  14. Outside of my complaint with the racing level and a few very minor issues, Mafia is a really immersive game. The story is very good, and the cutscenes and voice acting are of the highest caliber.
  15. It's not "GTA 3." It goes way above and beyond the arcadey style of GTA, and is just an overall satisfying game.
  16. Looks and sounds great, it's exciting, it's suitably bug-free, and, at a time when eight hours is becoming the standard length for single-player shooters, it's long. Quite simply, Mafia is one of the best games of the year.
  17. 91
    A game hasn't oozed this much style since the release of "Max Payne." The gameplay, the story, the graphics -- the entire presentation is topnotch.
  18. The question here is: why don't you own this game already? This is an excellent game.
  19. 92
    Mafia is dripping with style and class and has certainly shoved itself into the ranks of the best games of this year.
  20. The excellent storyline, huge environment, fantastic graphics and superb voice acting create an atmosphere which is unmatched in any PC game today.
  21. 82
    An enjoyable romp while it lasts, I just wish driving wasn't such a big part of it all.
  22. As cinematic games go, Mafia is in a league of its own.
  23. It's rare in this day and age to be truly impressed by a game's graphics, but a lot of your early game time will be spent just marveling at the scenery. [Dec 2002, p.90]
  24. The 30s era vehicles and weaponry are unique to the PC shooter market and provide a challenge to even the most seasoned gamers.
  25. The PC version is the best you can get. If you have a PC that meets the requirements below, you’ll have a much better time than you would with either console version. Furthermore, is selling this game for a mere $10, several times less than the console versions.
  26. For a superbly crafted single player experience you probably won’t find many to touch it, everything combines to create such a cinematic experience that you can’t help but find yourself completely encompassed into it.
  27. Happens to have a fantastic storyline backing it up, mixed with what's proving to be some of the most enjoyable gameplay to be seen this year.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 513 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 84
  2. Negative: 13 out of 84
  1. Feb 21, 2011
    You can put 100 on this movie without hesitation. I've played it 4 times. It is the ultimate; it's the supreme game. I'm loving it!
  2. Oct 11, 2012
    Let's be honest, this is a seriously overrated game. Nobody wants to admit it, but it's pretty weak. The only thing it's got going for it is the graphics, which were incredible for the time. But the gameplay just isn't fun, the driving physics are awful, the fact that you have to drive everywhere is boring as hell, it's mercilessly hard and full of bugs. I usually always finish a game, but I had to give up. That racing car mission was a nightmare, and that church level? Despite the hilarious bugs of seeing a fat guy crawling through the air, it was simply terrible. It's not that I don't enjoy a challenge, it's that I can't stand having to do the same thing thirty-odd times because of poor game design.

    And people still jump at the chance to praise the story, and all I can say is... what story? It's just a load of stereotypical, annoying and generic 'gangster'-style missions and scenarios strung together by some pretty poor voice acting.

    This game is nothing short of a total pain that hasn't aged well at all. But thankfully, the sequel fixes many of these problems and is a very enjoyable game. I'd recommend Mafia II, but this one? I'd avoid.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 10, 2010
    A neat premise is ruined by a moronic leveling system, cardbord characters, a cliched story, and bland environments. I had some fun with it, granted, but it was not what it claimed to be, and was simply mediocre. Full Review »