Everyone kisses up to Rockstar especially because of GTA (and probably Red Dead series to some degree) but ill take the Mafia series over the GTA series hands down. they are just all around better single player experiences and what really seals it, they are worth replaying here and there as the years pass unlike GTA where you finish them once but have no desire to go back to them (GTA has has a high budget, but something is missing from those games). I rank those three series like... 1)Mafia series 2)Red Dead series (I have not played the newest one since I don't have a current console) 3)GTA series.
but since a fair amount of people are obsessed with graphics... I suspect they won't fully appreciate the greatness of Mafia today. sure, it's graphically dated, but I feel it's graphics are still decent enough to give a good enough impression for the overall experience. it's more challenging to than your typical shooter as I like how it's weapons are a bit more realistic in the sense of weapon reloading in that say you got a Tommy Gun, which comes with 50 shots in the drum, and fire off 5 shots and reload, you will lose 45 shots in the drum. so it forces you to more strategically reload your weapons (well at least the ones it effects which is pretty much everything besides the pump action shotgun). because I suspect many gamers nowadays are used to firing off some shots and immediately reloading as if they do that in Mafia, they can get into trouble especially in certain areas of the game since your ammo supply will dwindle fast. but Mafia II on the other hand got rid of that more realistic weapons reloads which I wished they would have kept. but I played Mafia II on hardest setting when I replay it here and there. on a side note... years later after I got a hold of a wireless XBox360 controller that comes in handy for driving in the Mafia games as it makes the driving a bit easier than using keyboard like I did in the old days. but short of the driving sections I definitely stick to the mouse+keyboard on the Mafia games.
p.s. for the record... I am not the only person who praises the first Mafia (2002) (on PC) either as it seems to have at least a small following of people a bit more passionate about it, especially those who remembered it back when it was new as at that time it was on the better side of things graphically etc. but the game is about the overall experience in what really makes that game great.