Review: Mafia Definitive Edition
We return almost 20 years later to the fictional city known as Lost Heaven. As an innocent taxi driver, fate meets us to dive into organized crime. And that's just the beginning.
It's 1930 in Mafia Definitive Edition and Tommy Angelo is an honest taxi driver who neatly perfects his hours for a competitive wage of a few dollars a week. A piece of cake, but soon two very interesting customers who are happy to use Tommy's service, after being on the run during a run-in with the Morello mafia. Paulie and Sam are members of the Salieri mafia. With not too much choice, your crushing taxi skills will help you get Paulie and Sam safely back to Don Salieri after performing cutscene maneuvers.
You are compensated doubly for your heroic exhibition and are made aware that you have never seen the best people. Your boring taxi job continues, but not for long. The next day you are recognized in the street, in your taxi, by members of the Morello mafia. They'll beat you up and wreck your car. Running and climbing you make your way through narrow alleys before you finally arrive at the cafe of Salieri. Paulie and Sam scare off the Morello members. Maybe now is the right time to meet the big boss, Don Salieri. And this is where it really starts.
Mafia Definitive Edition is a remake of the first Mafia game from 2002. Back then it was a revolutionary title with an open world, unprecedented story and an overall very good execution. Nearly 20 years later, we're all experiencing it again, though it's not as revolutionary as it once was. I do not mean to say that the remake is not impressive, because Mafia Definitive Edition knows how to strike the right strings in many ways and moments.
Immersed in action
It's almost like playing a movie. Mafia Definitive Edition knows very well when to interrupt the gameplay with a narrative cutscene. These are therefore of very high quality, especially in the acting. Every film knows how to perfectly deliver the setting, the story and the feeling and that in itself is quite an achievement. The result is that as a player you are constantly in the flow of the story. You are immersed in the whole story every moment and it remains memorable, even years after playing the game. Mafia games are very strong in this and especially in this remake all wheels turn a few notches faster in this area.
Timeless in 1930
The strength of Mafia is that the game still fits well into the current video game landscape some 20 years after release. It is admittedly a remake, but one that remains very faithful to its source material. It's a full remake, so not a mediocre remaster like we saw with Mafia 2 . So you're going to see big differences between the original game and the Definitive Edition, but in its essence it's the same game, thankfully.
What this means is that the open world again doesn't add much to the game except for the freedom you get as a player in tackling certain missions and routes. There is plenty of activity in the world around you and the city also feels very lively. This only reinforces the point that Mafia really focuses on and that is telling a great story and making it look good too.
It not only looks and feels authentic, but that's how it plays. Unlike Mafia 2, you are not a war hero, not that Vito was, but let's put that aside. In any case, you also notice from the play style that you are not a congenital serial killer. Aiming with firearms isn't Tommy's forte and you notice that right away. Even with an accurate shot, there is a significant chance that you will miss at a reasonable distance. Using the environment as cover is therefore very important in this game. In short, Tommy's playing style feels very believable.
Everything used to be better
1930s life so far sounds perfect for the taxi driver looking for a job in the underground world, but not everything is perfect in Mafia Definitive Edition. Although the game does what it's supposed to do in the largest area, and also does it very well, the well-known glitches creep in again. It's not as disastrous as in the Mafia 2 remaster, definitely not, but known issues still occur to some degree.
There is again a texture pop-in that is mainly visible while driving. Grass plains are only loaded in front of you and this takes you a bit out of the atmosphere because you simply can't take your eyes off it. The exact same problem as we saw in the Mafia 2 remaster. The animation quality could also be a bit better and smoother.
Mafia Definitive Edition is a wonderful game. In its essence still the game that everyone fell in love with at the time, but then completely rebuilt. It looks great, plays well and feels realistic. The biggest plus in the game is the way the story is told and how you as a player are the link in this story to literally play it as a movie for you while you are more or less in control yourself.
In addition, the game stays true to what it imagines making you feel at home in the environment without feeling game-y. Unfortunately, the latter is a bit interrupted by known issues, but overall this was one of the least annoyances of the Salieri mafia.
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