2020 has seen its fair share of remakes and remasters, some good and others not so good. Some companies have simply ported over their games and up-scaled the graphics. While others have done complete overhauls. Enter Mafia Definitive Edition! It’s a complete remake of the 2002 original that does almost everything you would hope for in a remaster.
Mafia Definitive Edition Details
A cinematic mob story in an authentic vision of 1930s America
In Mafia Definitive Edition, you play as taxi cab driver Thomas Angelo, whose day job involves shuttling folks around Lost Heaven. Wrecked by the Great Depression, and the beginning of prohibition in America, strong crime families rise up to vie for power in the quaint town. The two largest of these families, the Salieri’s and Morello’s, buy off police, terrorize citizens, and ultimately try to take control of the town.
During the game’s first scenes, Thomas’ fairly mundane life gets a twist. He becomes intertwined with these crime families. As a result, he ends up performing jobs for the Salieri family. While gaining respect for those most entrenched in the criminal underground, Thomas’ consciousness makes him the ideal protagonist to play through this adventure. Through Thomas, Mafia Definitive Edition delivers on almost every front, allowing his character to wrestle with the decisions he is forced to make.
There is no doubt in my mind that Mafia has the best story in the entire series. Unfortunately, with Mafia 2 and Mafia 3, the developers made so many changes that left the original title lagging behind. Now we get the best game with the best story, and it feels brand new with mechanics and quality of life improvements.
A faithful remake with enhancements over the 2002 classic
Travelling around Lost Heaven is something you’ll do a lot. When moving around town, it’s clear that Hangar 13 wanted to be sure this aspect of the game ran well. And, I believe they have done this on multiple levels.
While the original game had some clunky driving controls, Mafia Definitive Edition has fixed almost all of those issues. Once you realize the driving mechanics are authentic to the time period, which means no 0-100 in five seconds, you quickly appreciate how much work Hangar 13 has done to get it right.
When you aren’t driving around in your car, doing missions and chauffeuring high ranking mob members, you will be hunting down items, assassinating targets, and much more. It’s here, where some of the gameplay feels a bit dated. For example, walking and running animations look a bit stiff and fight sequences are fairly dated.
Without a doubt, Hanger 13 put a lot of work into this game. However, it is a bit disappointing that more time wasn’t spent further refining gameplay mechanics. For instance, shooting while in cover leaves much to be desired. It comes across as more clunky and rigid, as opposed to silky smooth.
All things considered, Hangar 13 has done a great job to make this game play and feel modern. Mafia Definitive Edition is a solid remake for a game that was originally released almost 20 years ago. It is also nice to see additional mission content that was added sparsely throughout.
A masterpiece remade with stunning 4K HDR visuals
Where Mafia Definitive Edition has received its biggest update is in its presentation. If you had no knowledge of the Mafia series, you would think this is a brand new game. From the fantastic lighting mechanics, to the beautifully detailed cars, the visuals bring the 1930s to life. Created with Chicago as the inspiration, more skyscrapers have been added to accurately represent a 1930s city in the American Midwest.
The updates do not stop with visual upgrades either. To go along with upgraded facial animations and character designs, voice acting has been entirely overhauled. Additional lines of dialogue have been added to make the story flow more freely. As a result, it makes the game feel much less rigid.
Mafia Definitive Edition is one of this years best remakes
Whether you have played the 2002 original or not, Mafia Definitive Edition is easily the best game in the entire series. Some of this year’s remakes and remasters have been less than stellar. And, Mafia Definitive Edition feels like a brand new game, built specifically for 2020.
Though, not everything is picture perfect. With Mafia Definitive Edition looking as good as it does, I would have liked to see new additional missions added that encouraged exploration. As a result, this game feels like a linear experience. And, much of the city is left for you to explore on your own.
In the end, Mafia Definitive Edition is easily one of the most impressive games launching on PS4 and Xbox One this year.
+ Updated visuals make Lost Heaven feel brand new
+ Overhauled audio, including brand new voice actors
+ Driving controls feel more authentic
– Lack of additional missions or side quests means lots of Lost Heaven goes unexplored
– Shooting mechanics leave a bit to be desired
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MAFIA DEFINITIVE EDITION
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5