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The Problem With Mafia’s Racing Mission

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  • Posted on 24th Sep, 2022 20:10 PM
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For players looking for an immersive crime game, Mafia is the best pick, but it features a difficult racing mission that feels out of place.

p>One of the most iconic games of the early 2000s is Mafia. The game had a monumental impact on gaming due to the way it immerses players in a 1930s version of Illinois, complete with the alcohol prohibition and crime syndicates. Mafia is painstakingly detailed, and even as players roam the streets, they must be careful to follow the laws, or they may find the police pursuing them. Complementing the game’s crime noir world is a complex narrative about a taxi driver named Tommy Angelo who stumbles into the world of mafia crime bosses.

Mafia is so good that it received an impressive remake titled Mafia: Definitive Edition in 2020. The game was praised for improving visuals and audio while remaining faithful to the original game. Unfortunately, the remake does retain an annoying mission from the original game that has been a thorn for many gamers. In a game about alcohol bootleggers and mafiosos in fedoras, the mission “Fair Play” is well-known for all the wrong reasons.

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Tommy and the Big Race

In Mafia, Tommy lives a regular life as a taxi driver until he unwittingly helps the Salieri crime family escape an ambush from the Morello family. After getting a taste of the crime life, Tommy finds himself returning, and it does not take long before he is a made man and is regularly working for the Salieri family. When the mission “Fair Play” comes around, Tommy has been a member of the crime family for a while.

The Salieri family are involved with gambling on racing, and they put their money on Mikey Dunne. To ensure they win, Tommy is tasked with messing up a race by stealing the car of one of Mikey’s competitors and delivering it to Lucas the mechanic, who will sabotage it. Things go wrong when Mikey is unable to make the race, forcing Tommy to take his place. The race is a nail-bitingly difficult one, but Tommy’s been a taxi driver for many years of his life, so he is no stranger to dangerous driving.

What is the Problem With Fair Play?

Although Mafia is widely regarded as a classic game, Fair Play is a notoriously bad mission that many gamers have complained about. The central problem of the mission is that it seems to not fit in with the rest of the game’s missions. Typically, in a video game, missions are structured such that they gradually introduced skills to the player, and these skills are eventually tested. For example, a game may feature three levels that test a player's use of a certain weapon, then these skills will be tested with a boss fight.

For much of Mafia, players are ducking behind tables and shooting at enemies while dodging bullets. Sure, there are a few car chases, but none of them are too intense. Fair Play comes out of nowhere and suddenly requires the player to have precise driving skills, know when to shift gears at the right places, and how to tackle seemingly impossible hairpin turns. The race becomes easier if players are willing to turn down the difficulty, but for players who care about trophies and achievements, that is simply not an option. After all that hard work, players win the race, and it feels like it was all for nothing because the skills learned never come in handy for the rest of the game.

Decades later, Mafia is remembered for its mature tone, immersive world, and the way it made players feel like they were playing a jazzy crime noir movie. Despite all it got right, Fair Play remains an example of bad game design and why missions in games need to complement each other.

Mafia: Definitive Edition is available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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