Mafia Definitive Edition
Mafia Definitive Edition is an updated version of the original Mafia game that started the series way back in 2002. I was a fan of that game and was looking forward to this. Though, the original studio is not making it.
Mafia Definitive Edition is a re-released game. This game is a ground-up remake, taking the elements of the original game. Then representing and retelling them with modern graphics and video games. Despite that, it still feels old.
Good Old Nostalgia
Now before some of you, Mafia fans yell at me or curse me, hear me out. I’m glad it feels old. It feels old in a good way, and I’ll explain more as we go. Mafia Definitive Edition developers kept the original game intact enough to be an enjoyable, refreshing trip down memory lane. They added some exciting new stuff and a good old dash of nostalgia.
It’s worth checking out if you’re a Mafia fan. You know it doesn’t recreate everything as perfectly as you would imagine. Some of the charms are missing here and there. But I still had fun playing through Tommy’s adventure, and that’s the main goal.
Now, Mafia Definitive Edition takes place in the fictional city of Lost Heaven in the 1930s. It’s modeled in a Chicago-inspired setting, like a dash of San Francisco. But it’s very much a Chicago, 1930s prohibition depression era.
You play as Tommy Angelo, a regular generic Chicago, Lost Heaven guy who is a cab driver. One day suddenly gets wrapped up in the dealings of one of the local crime families, and then the rest is history.
Mafia Definitive Edition is a single-player narrative story game. First and foremost, it’s a game with lots of good cutscenes and interesting story beats. Unfortunately, they ditched the original voice actors. I like the original Tommy, and I miss him here, but they’ve all been replaced with actors using their voices. They do a good job with their likeness and motion capture for many scenes.
It takes a tale with many stuff you may have seen in some movies. But the game gives it an all-new layer of subtlety and more realistic character than the original game, like how characters are, look, and act. Also, how they speak down to the harder and more Chicago-style accents might be jarring to some people.
Mafia Definitive Edition features a tale of crime, loyalty, love, and betrayal. The developers have taken the time to flush out certain things in the plot that felt briefer in the old game. The story has more of a well-rounded feel, but with nothing completely left out, save for a few things.
The love interest Sarah, for example, is way more of a person this time and gives an impressive performance. It goes from the people over to the world they built.
Lost Heaven is awesome. It’s a city stretched across three island districts with unique-looking areas. Some interiors also look pretty damn good. There’s also an expanded countryside area, something that was in the old game. It was sectioned off like a big loading screen, and they did a good job of making it feel familiar.
But now, graphically, the game’s regular daytime shadows don’t look so hot. But everything else about the game world is stunning. Rainstorms look the coolest, with street lights, neon signs, and wet roads. Then there are the cars which they paid a lot of attention. You cruise around on roads filled with great details like vintage advertising and old prohibition posters that are kind of cool.
The game also reminds you of the depression you pick up in notes and newspaper clippings. The collectibles return old cheesy advertisement cards scattered worldwide, waiting to be found.
Now in Mafia Definitive Edition, you’re driving, shooting, and punching. That’s what you’re doing. You’re mostly driving, and I might have a bunch of people agree with me here, but I wouldn’t say I like driving here. But the cars are pretty damn fast, probably maybe unrealistically fast. Also, they slide around roads with a good amount of fun factor with a dash of precision.
You can also switch to simulation mode, giving your car trickier handling. If you choose, you’re going to spin out a lot. Now one place where driving improves the experience is that infamous race car mission. They also added motorbikes, and you can handle them well. They’re pretty fun, and there’s like a ram button for when you’re in car chases. But I barely use that. You can also shoot while driving. You know you’re being chased when you’re dealing with chasing someone.
That leads me to one of my issues in the game is the police presence. With the simulation gameplay option, you should limit your speed to the speed limit by using a toggle button. Or else the cops will pull you over. This was a thing in the old Mafia too. This is typical Mafia fashion, and once again, like Mafia 2, it’s toned down the original Mafia. You had to legit drive and obeyed the law here.
But this game is pretty loose, and it doesn’t matter, as many cops are never around. So you don’t have to think about it much, like driving properly. And when they do pull you over, it doesn’t matter anyway because money isn’t a thing.
Free Ride Mode
Now playing on the free ride mode, I ramped up the difficulty and put all simulation modes on to see if I could get some difference. It was still barely a thing. Maybe I’m missing something, or maybe it’s nostalgia from the old game. I’m not sure, but I wanted to point this out for the hardcore OG Mafia crowd. I know some of you guys like the realistic traffic law simulation stuff. Still, I generally like the driving and the chase sequences.
Shooting in Mafia Definitive Edition
The shooting controls are a bit murkier, in my opinion. I don’t quite like the way the shooting controls feel. Yes, it does feel a little bit like Mafia 3. I didn’t mind the shooting in three. I saw the shortcomings, but it all feels looser and more awkward here.
You know, navigating my character around chest-high walls and having a missing cover sometimes awkwardly. It all kind of dampers the fun a little bit. The aiming feels okay. There are options to have more of a snap assist or not. I played with both ways back and forth and never really felt satisfied. It just generally seems not to be one for precision.
Combat in Mafia Definitive Edition
The hand-to-hand combat, I think, is much worse. I don’t enjoy it at all. Weird button timings and awkward glitchy finishing move kind of kill the vibe. But some of the animations are cool. It doesn’t feel as engaging as before. However, I’m not happy with how the controls feel. The surrounding, the on-foot shooting, and the combat is pretty good.
First of all, the Tommy gun feels good to use. They nailed it. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s satisfying. There’s a nice amount of destructibility too. Some covers can get shot up, and some debris can fly. There are explosive barrels, and some of them lead to awesome moments.
Death animations are bloody and convincing. Enemies slump over, and they crawl for help. It makes up for the fact that sometimes the AI looks irrational, like running around looking for cover. I’ve caught enemies popping up from the cover, looking around and confused. Then running to another spot only to instantly turn back around and run back like a confused idiot. Some of the behavior is weird.
Not a proper Open-World Game
We’ve got great graphics compared with other games in 2020, but the AI is not good. The other big thing I want to point out is that this isn’t an open-world game. This game is almost entirely linear. You play a mission, and that mission ends. Then on to the next one. It’s not up to you to wander around and find the mission out in the world, or get distracted out in the open world.
There’s not much out there you can tell, too. Because the city looks great, but when you walk down the street, you can see less detail and less reason to be there. As the focus is on the story, there are no optional mini-games or weird side quests that distract from the plot. Just a short play with a well-paced plot.
Mafia Definitive Edition is a game with no open-world padding whatsoever. No endless checklists, no extra tasks. In certain games, they make sense. It feels like every game has them crammed nowadays. So Mafia being a simple story-focused action affair, made it feel refreshing, fun, and interesting. Since it has that dash of nostalgia, they hammer home with the beautiful original theme re-recorded.
Although linear, you have the optional free explore mode from the main menu. That lets you run around and do whatever you want. Since the game isn’t designed around the open world doing stuff, there’s not much to it. But you can pick whatever outfit you want, any time of day or weather, and any car in the garage.
Personal Opinion on Mafia Definitive Edition
You do your thing, get lost in the world, and listen to the old 1930s music. Also, there’s a little something extra thrown in there for you to discover that I won’t mention here. I like Mafia quite a bit. I kind of miss some things cut from the original games. And I think the shooting feels a bit mediocre. But I enjoyed playing this adventure and the new stronger presentation of the story. It’s also nice that it’s not a full-priced game.
Some new fans might be surprised going in, seeing there’s no open world. Maybe even disappointed, but I love that about the game. Now it’s time to answer the question. Should you buy Mafia Definitive Edition in 2023? Yes, you should.
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