Mafia: Definitive Edition, a remake done just right
Mafia: Definitive Edition, which is a remake of the original Mafia game was announced by 2K Games on May 19, 2020. It was released for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 25, this year. The Mafia series hit its peak with the release of Mafia 2 back in 2010, which is regarded as a holy artifact by many gamers. The primary reason was its well written storyline which featured one of the best duos in video game history, Vito Scaletta, the protagonist of the game, and Joe Barbaro, his best friend and partner in crime.
Many people wanted to play the game that started this amazing franchise, the original Mafia game, which was developed by Illusion Softworks and published by Gathering of Developers. It was originally released for PC back in 2002 and was later ported to PS2 and Xbox in 2004. Now for a game of its time, Mafia was revolutionary and one of the best looking games. The game did not, however, age well and many fans wanted a remake. 2K finally heard the calls of the fans and decided to finally go for a remake. After 12 hours of diving into the story we bring you our thoughts on this much awaited remake, which is titled Mafia: Definitive Edition.
Story and Setting
Hangar 13, the developers of Mafia III developed this remake and it uses the same engine as Mafia III. The story of Mafia: Definitive Edition, the remake, for the most part is unchanged. The only changes I’ve noticed are a few dialogues here and there; and the entire change in the epilogue speech.
In case you missed out the original Mafia game, the story follows the life of Tommy Angelo, a cab driver turned mobster-and-enforcer of the Salieri crime family. Angelo was looking for a way out of crime for himself and his family. The game is set in the fictional American city of Lost Heaven and takes place during the early 1930s, during the Great Depression. American history notes the same era as the time when mobs and mobsters ruled the streets. The city took a lot of inspiration from Chicago and New York including a building that looks like the Empire State building.
The campaign of consists of 20 Chapters narrating Tommy’s rise from an ordinary cab driver to a big mobster and hitman for the Salieri crime family, and how he eventually changes to protect his wife and daughter. Almost each and every part of the world was remade, along with the cutscenes as well. The game begins with Detective Norman meeting Tommy Angelo in a small restaurant, and Tommy telling him the story about how he turned from a poor cab driver to a hitman for Don Ennio Salieri and asking Norman’s help to protect his wife and daughter. The main cast consists of Tommy, Paulie and Sam; two of Tommy’s closest friend and partners in crime, Don Ennio Salieri; a mob boss trying to go big and control the city of Lost Heaven, Sarah; Tommy’s wife and Marcui Morello; one of the major antagonists and a rival of Salieri, and the biggest mob boss in Lost Heaven. Most of the game is just you driving from one point to the other, and then either sneaking around or engaging in open gunfights. The cutscenes in the remake have been completely overhauled from the original Mafia game and built from scratch with new voice actors.
One of the issues I’ve seen is that Tommy always has this grin on his face, and this kind of fails to express what he is feeling at times. Honestly, the voice acting is brilliant, especially when it comes to Paulie, Salieri, and Morello. The voice acting is top notch and shows the brutal ways of the gangsters.
The gameplay, on the other hand, isn’t that great. Yes, the remake is a big improvement on the original Mafia game, especially the driving which now seems more responsive. But my main grudge lies with how the shooting is handled. Cover system is great in my opinion with boxes breaking if shot too many times. The small health bar for the player character genuinely makes the game a challenging experience. The shooting, however, is annoying. Without Aim Assist, it takes forever to move the crosshair to enemies’ bodies and the continuously firing enemies does not make it easy, with Tommy taking significant damage with each shot. I’ve tweaked the game’s sensitivity a lot, but to no avail. I would recommend everyone to use Aim Assist. Another big problem, in my opinion, is a chase sequence that takes place mid game. It’s during a rainy night and it is really hard to shoot off the turret with the bad aim mechanics of the game, added with the rain in a dark night, as well as the fact that you’re in the back of a speeding truck. Also, the turret deals a lot of damage so it’s an annoyance in the first place. The infamous racing mission from the original Mafia game is back too and it is not an easy one, for sure.
Putting aside the negative aspects, the massive improvement on cover mechanics and improved driving makes the game fun. Motorbikes are a new addition to the series which weren’t featured in any previous Mafia titles. For the most part, the handling of bikes is pretty smooth. Also, the map in Mafia: Definitive Edition automatically shows the path which you need to take to get to the objective unlike the original game where you constantly had to open the map to navigate. Animations are smooth and another great feature is if you steal a car, you don’t have to drive it back to Ralphie. The game automatically stores the car in your garage. There is also a new “Skip Drive” feature that teleports you to your objective directly. It’s sort of like Fast Travel, but I recommend not using that as it skips a few dialogues and the thrill of seeing Lost Heaven’s streets and alleys in the new graphics. The game features Collectibles such as Cigarette cards, Hidden cars, and Comics. The game, although open world, doesn’t really have anything to do as you could in Mafia II. There is also the Free Roam mode accessible in main menu that allows you to ride around the city.
Another fun feature is the ability to lead cars that are chasing you (police or mob), through broken roads that disables them. Enemies and Police are marked by Red and Blue icons in the mini map, respectively, and any danger is shown on the screen as an exclamation mark (!) during stealth missions.
Music is really great in this game. The Lost Heaven theme by Vladimir Simunek from the original Mafia game has made its return in the remake. Many parts of the game plays music, this time with many iterations of the theme song. Radio plays Jazz music from the era. The addition of music to certain cutscenes made certain scenes impactful and emotional. Jesse Harlin really nailed the soundtracks for this game!
Performance and Verdict
Mafia: Definitive Edition is pretty neat and has great optimization. It ran smoothly on my rig except sometimes where the game froze but pretty sure it’s my rig’s issue. The campaign took around 12 hours to finish, which is pretty small considering the completion times of games these days. In my opinion, the game isn’t worth buying for the full price. You could always wait for a price drop, but then again, the timing is an uncertainty.
As for Ratings:
Art Style and Graphics: 8/10
Cover Image Credits: Mafia official website