Mafia: Definitive Edition Xbox One Review

Game: Mafia: Definitive Edition Publisher: 2K Games  Developer: Hanger 13  Genre: Action  

Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4 

Related Sites: Mafia: Definitive Edition, 2K Games


Mafia was a much-loved game, although even back in 2002 it was known as a rather clunky game to play. With the latter said, as well as the fact that so many years have passed by since the original release of the Mob hit, it was just begging for a remake, and it received one last year with the fittingly titled Mafia: Definitive Edition.

Taking place throughout the 1930’s, it’s the depression and, like many other places in America, times are tough in the city of Lost Heaven. Tommy Angelo is a taxi driver who is forced into helping two criminals escape from an ambush, and he is then plunged into a life of crime. One of the changes from the original game is that Angelo loses his job, although in the remake he simply makes the choice to go into crime. There are other changes as well, which may irk some, but this is generally the same storyline, and a very good one it is too, with Angelo serving Don Sallieri as they go head-to-head with another criminal gang in the Chicago-inspired city. There’s money to be made, respect to be earnt, loyalty to be shown, and more in what remains a generally riveting and mature storyline. Finally, due to the use of motion capture, there’s a brand-new cast as well and they all deliver fantastic performances.

Mafia Definitive Edition

It’s possible to shoot while driving, which is helpful during chase sequences.

One of Mafia’s strongpoints was the impeccable manner in which it gave you a real feeling that you had literally set foot into the 1930’s. The remake definitely achieves this immersion as well, with period fashion, cars, weapons and music giving the game a real sense of time and place. Lost Heaven’s streets (reworked in this remake) are also very old fashioned, making sure that this is one highly atmospheric game that manages to draw you in within the first few minutes.

Mafia: Definitive Edition is also a beautiful game, and one that definitely pushed the previous generation consoles, further adding to the absorbing atmosphere. The city is lovingly detailed, character models look fantastic, while the shiny and characterful cars gleam under the lights. Add in eye-catching weather, lovely lighting and solid 30fps performance, and this is a remake that definitely shows how far things have come in terms of visuals since 2002.

If you’ve never played Mafia before and don’t have prior knowledge of it, then you may be surprised to learn that this is no open-world game. Despite its open city setting, scattered collectibles, and the option to free roam, this is a tight and linear story-based game. This might be disappointing for some, but a large open-world game was never the intention when the original Mafia game was under development.

As you are a member of the Mafia, missions will likely play out in the manner that lots of people would expect them to. The game takes place across a number of chapters, and chapters are basically single missions, with driving, shooting, fighting and a spot of stealth being the driving points of the gameplay. There’s a good selection of missions throughout the game, and everything just feels so much smoother than it did in the 2002 original.

Mafia: Definitive Edition

Memorable scenes such as this one are made all the more so thanks to the extra visual fidelity.

Those who remember the original game will also remember the infamously difficult race mission, well I’m pleased to say that it’s a lot easier here. The game does have two vehicle handling models to choose from, and both are satisfying enough in their own way, lending a certain weight to the characterfully creaky vehicles. Driving is also more realistic than, say, the Grand Theft Auto series, as breaking traffic laws will have the police coming after you. It doesn’t have to be quite as difficult as the original game though, as one setting has the police pursuing you if you are caught speeding, although other offences such as running a red light will be ignored. It’s also possible to have things the same way as the original game though, which means that watching your mini-map for the police is a must, while turning on a speed limiter assures that you can’t go above 40mph.

I remember the shooting feeling really dodgy and clunky in the original game, and it’s pleasing to see that it is so much better here, while not quite being up there with the smoothest shooting games. The game also has a decent cover system, and the AI are believable enough in their actions, also making plentiful use of cover, flushing you out with Molotov cocktails and grenades, while also attempting flanking maneuverers.

Mafia: Definitive Edition is a welcome remake, and it’s a remake that was worth waiting many years for. The 1930’s period setting and well-constructed narrative are some of the game’s major strengths, and its gameplay mechanics have been significantly reworked when compared to the 2002 game, making for a better all-round experience. As long as you don’t go into the game expecting an open-world epic, there’s definitely much to like across the 10–12 hour duration of this memorable and tightly focused crime game.

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