Mafia: Definitive Edition Review: Half-Baked in Every Sense

Spoilers forward for Mafia: Definitive Version

On the very finish of Mafia: Definitive Version — 2K-owned developer Hangar 13’s remake of the 2002 critically-acclaimed authentic — the cabbie-turned-mobster protagonist Thomas “Tommy” Angelo (Andrew Bongiorno) notes that household is every little thing. On his deathbed, Tommy is at peace, for his household’s security and monetary future are safe, whilst he might need spent most of his married life chasing fellow mobsters or in jail to make sure that consequence. However the ending’s familial focus feels misplaced as a result of Tommy’s household have primarily been ignored till that time. His spouse Sarah (Bella Popa) is an afterthought and the daughter does not also have a title. These are obvious omissions, and emblematic of its fumbles throughout the board.

It is a disgrace too, for the story is (nonetheless) by far the very best a part of Mafia: Definitive Version, because it was practically 20 years in the past. And it has been improved upon on practically each entrance. Despite the fact that he is working with a plot that is impressed by dozens of mafia motion pictures — Goodfellas and The Godfather amongst them — and missing in originality or humour, writer-director Haden Blackman (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) lifts it on a scene-by-scene stage, with richer dialogue and performances. And a brand new forged — effectively chosen for his or her appearing talents and vocal authenticity — infuse life into the characters that inhabit Mafia: Definitive Version, whereas massively benefiting from the technological progress made within the video gaming enviornment with reference to facial seize since 2002.

Mafia: Definitive Version additionally provides to that with probably the most simply missed of issues: radio. Set in the course of the Nice Melancholy of the 1930s, the sport takes place throughout an period when financial collapse has forged a protracted shadow on American life. US Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt try to supply phrases of encouragement, there are proclamations from the mayor, councillor, and police chief about rising crime within the waning days of the Prohibition, whereas the information brings phrase of Hitler and the Nazis’ rise throughout the pond in Europe.

Culturally, the ‘30s have been a time of nice experimentation within the US as effectively. Swing jazz (Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Django Reinhardt are on the brand new licensed soundtrack) stitches collectively these bulletins. The radio is crucial to fleshing out the world of Mafia: Definitive Version, a lot in order that the sport had a devoted “radio author” in Matthew Aitken. And it is additional fleshed out by a beautiful new soundtrack from composer Jesse Harlin (who deploys the total orchestra and sneaks in mandolin and the cimbalom), which infuses gravitas into the story.

And all of it appears to be like nice too, because it ought to. The fictional metropolis of Misplaced Heaven borrows from Chicago, New York, and San Francisco of the 1930s, which implies a motley of bridges, trams, muscle automobiles, zeppelins within the air, and neighbourhoods divided by rivers. It’s kind of flat throughout daytime save for the pop of vibrant automobiles, however it’s lit up (actually) at night time because of neon indicators and billboards. And it is now accessible in 4K HDR (on PC, PS4 Professional, and Xbox One X) although the textures and character fashions really feel like upscaled 1080p exterior of cutscenes. They do not have sufficient element, endure from aliasing relating to superior water results, and have artefact troubles. Nonetheless, Mafia: Definitive Version delivers a visible improve over Mafia that’s like night time and day, and it is begging for a photograph mode, which is sadly one place the sport falls quick.

However there are larger issues than the dearth of a photograph mode. For all the wonder and nostalgia of ‘30s America provided by Misplaced Heaven, it is only a fairly entrance. In contrast to open world video games of immediately, Mafia: Definitive Version is a linear recreation that pushes you from one story mission to the subsequent. Positive, you’ve got a variety of collectibles to select up in your means in pulp magazines, comedian books, and cigarette playing cards, however there aren’t any facet missions, frivolous actions, or non-story characters to satisfy. Misplaced Heaven may appear to be a dwelling, respiration metropolis at first, particularly because the opening sequence sweeps you thru the streets and introduces you to its many neighbourhoods, however it all seems like one big movie set when you truly begin to discover.

Like the unique recreation, Mafia: Definitive Version spins off free roam into its personal mode: “Free Journey” — there aren’t two variations of Free Journey in contrast to within the authentic. If you would like to homicide harmless residents and rack up loopy police chases, it’s a must to give up the story mode and return to the principle menu first. Holding that awkward switch system is quite consistent with the sensibilities of the narrative, as Tommy is not in a line of labor that deliberately invitations consideration. It made me consider Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, who as soon as famous how “random” open world video games might be. On Mafia: Definitive Version, it has the additional advantage of excellent pacing. By specializing in the principle story by and thru, it does not sluggish issues down and retains you engaged.

Tommy Angelo and the consigliere Frank Colletti (Steven Oliver) in Mafia: Definitive Version
Photograph Credit score: 2K/Hangar 13

Mafia: Definitive Version is actually one big flashback as Tommy recounts his rise within the mafia to Detective Norman (Dameon J. Clarke), as a result of he wants safety for his household. It is an underdog story in components, as Tommy’s boss Don Salieri (Glenn Taranto) does not wield the extent of affect carried by his rival Don Morello (Saul Stein). And naturally, it is also about what the mafia life does to you, as you mislead your family members, always stay in worry, and query the loyalty of everybody round you. However there’s loads concerning the mafioso life that the sport does not give us. It does not present the extravagances like Goodfellas. Extra importantly, it by no means unpacks the layers that make up Tommy, and resorts to throwaway references that do not stick. Regardless of being the lead, he seems like a cardboard character.

Just like the narrative, the missions in Mafia: Definitive Version lack the variability provided by open world video games immediately, although it is partly made up for by the visible selection it provides. Hangar 13 has tried to enhance upon the fight mechanics too, with the introduction of a canopy system and melee fight, however it’s once more neither right here nor there. Melee fight is a joke, because it’s primarily a recreation of dodging or countering a blow after which repeatedly hitting the assault button till you activate a mini-cutscene the place Tommy finishes the opponent off.

Gunplay is comparatively higher. Enemies will attempt to flank you or transfer nearer for a killing blow and can fling a Molotov cocktail or grenade that can drive you to maneuver. However not at all times. Their numbers are additionally plausible. Motion is not very pure although and it may be irritating to be caught within the line of fireplace or found throughout a stealth mission, when Mafia: Definitive Version does not reply as you count on it to. And on sure events, bullets appeared to undergo partitions and enemies. It isn’t a case of bullet sponges although, relaxation assured.

Hangar 13 has additionally launched new components to driving on Mafia: Definitive Version as effectively. There are bikes you may experience now, as an illustration. After which there is a “ram” button that offers you a tiny acceleration increase and higher automobile dealing with, that can assist you knock chasing automobiles into oncoming automobiles, lampposts, and buildings. And while you’ve guided navigation turned on, Mafia: Definitive Version will quickly show signal posts on avenue corners to inform you what route you’ll want to take, serving to you retain your eye on the street, quite than glancing on the mini-map.

mafia definitive edition driving night mafia definitive edition review

The town of Misplaced Heaven at night time in Mafia: Definitive Version
Photograph Credit score: 2K/Hangar 13

There may be selective injury, as with the unique Mafia recreation. After banging the entrance of our automobile one too many instances, we misplaced all acceleration. After all, driving is a problem in itself anyway, because you’re working with previous, over-heavy automobiles that are inclined to behave erratically and do not go round corners very simply. Weirdly, there isn’t any handbrake button that can assist you slide by them. You may additional amp up driving issue by switching to simulation dealing with, after which compound that by shifting to guide transmission.

Mafia: Definitive Version has 4 preset issue choices: “Simple”, “Medium”, “Exhausting” and “Basic”. The final of them is new and primarily cranks every little thing to the utmost. Your well being depletes a lot faster as you’re taking injury, as does your car, and also you regain much less of it while you use first support kits. Your opponents are stronger, smarter and are not seen on the mini-map. The police responds not solely to bodily hurt, however even common infractions equivalent to rushing, car collisions, and leaping pink lights. And in the event you reload a weapon with bullets nonetheless left within the clip, you lose all of them.

Finally, this can be a recreation designed across the marketing campaign that lasts round a dozen hours, and also you’re unlikely to spend far more time in Mafia: Definitive Version, as there’s little to do of significance or something interesting that can make you need to dive again in. However far more annoyingly, it is half-baked in each respect. The up to date story is dealt with higher however nonetheless suffers from some obvious gaps. The improved visuals aren’t as much as 2020 requirements — and oh, they’re only a façade. There are new fight mechanics however they do not do sufficient to raise the taking pictures bits. Mafia: Definitive Version is crying out for a stronger hand on the wheel and a deeper rethink, for in its present state, it is oblivious of the truth that it has been 18 years because the authentic.

That is a very long time for any piece of leisure, extra so in video gaming, and Mafia: Definitive Version is a good distance from what it wanted to be.


  • Effectively-handled story, with wealthy dialogues
  • Good appearing, plausible accents
  • Radio a fantastic world-building instrument
  • Seems to be nice at night time
  • Enemies are sensible, at instances
  • Lifelike issue choices


  • Protagonist, story’s household focus wanted extra
  • Melee fight is a joke
  • Character motion not clean
  • 4K textures want extra element, refinement
  • Nothing to do exterior foremost story

Ranking (out of 10): 7

Devices 360 performed Mafia: Definitive Version on the Xbox One X. The sport is on the market at Rs. 2,199 on Steam for PC, and Rs. 2,499 on PS4 and Xbox One. You will get it as a part of Mafia Trilogy too, which additionally contains Mafia II: Definitive Version and Mafia III: Definitive Version. The bundle prices Rs. 3,299 on Steam for PC, and Rs. 3,999 on PS4 and Xbox One.

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