Back in 2002, we enjoyed one of the best fictional takes surrounding Mafias, Dons and everyone who believes in shoot first, talk later.
For long-standing Mafia series fans, the Definitive Edition is a blessing. Hangar 13 has baked the whole game from the ground up and sprinkled some pixie dust on it, spit-shined the 2002 game into a next-gen force. The Definitive Edition demands a visit even for the players who’ve somehow managed to play the old game in recent years.
The story is probably the most compelling thing about Mafia games. The Definitive Edition and the second part are connected. And the second game picks up right where the first game ends, which compels you to pick up the second Mafia game along with this too. Luckily, Hangar 13 has reworked both titles and even the third one too.
The story takes place during the Great Depression in 1930 and gangs are working their way up the ladder by scraping civilians in protection rackets and pocketing Police and Government officials to wash their wrongdoings. You play as Tommy Angelo, a boring cab driver who bumps into two criminals on the run from other criminals, all the while blabbering about family. Typical Mafia story.
But the way the missions and the character relationship weave and mature, the story blooms to fruition. From 2020 standards, the Mafia 1’s pacing and storyline might feel like a ‘been there, done that’ method but it doesn’t impose its characters strongly. Rather it takes it time, full 10hours or so, to tell the tale of a cab driver who rose to the ranks of the Salieri crime family and became a sharp tool in executing... Mafia things. And driving. Lots and lots of driving.
One of the biggest critiques of Mafia Definitive Edition is how much time you spend behind the wheel. Almost 70% of the game involves ramming, following, chasing, getting chased or stealing on wheels. Sometimes even racing. Actually, that’s just once but it was a lot of fun. If you pay attention to the story, which I am sure you will have to because characters have a lot of interesting dialogues and story plots in-between simple driving pleasures, the missions don’t feel as redundant. Mafia Definitive Edition paces its story perfectly too. At no point did I feel like the missions were repetitive even when I sure they were, now when I flashback to those moments for this very review.
Shooting feels tight and micromanaged. An obvious weapon wheel gives you a choice between different weapons. There’s not a lot of variety in guns. I can count a total of four or five weapons I came across throughout the game. The car’s also felt the same too. Many of the vehicles were recreated to feel authentic and drove as they would’ve in the 30s era but my search for different cars led me to believe that the warring period was met with short demands for consumer vehicles and thereby a short supply of variety too. It's how much I was invested in the story. Albeit, if you’re playing a video game, some might not take this well for a fictional setting.
Cover mechanics are a little haphazard, often feeling too stiff or ambiguous and the shooting bit is fairly straight forward. Cover - shoot - cover. This method too gets tedious and repetitive, albeit, Hangar 13 has done a remarkable job of pacing the game and its many cut scenes that bring life to the Mafia madness. The voice acting and character script is done so well that I was reminded of better movies like Goodfellas and Godfather. If you’re a fan of Mafia movies like I am, by all means, indulge yourself in Mafia’s Definitive Edition and make sure to take the second one too.
The graphics are really the glue that piece this time capsule of a game together. You’re treated with ambitious cut scenes and fantastic city geography. For the time it puts you behind the wheel, Mafia Definitive Edition feels authentic, almost like a natural petri dish for the gangs to flourish. It’s almost sad that it doesn’t use Nvidia’s Ray Tracing tech, I would love to visit this game again.
We ran it on our PC on 4K and 2K graphics settings. The game is stable on 4K 60Hz and doesn’t sweat the RTX 2080Ti. Dropping the setting down to 2K for some extra frames on our reference BenQ EX2780Q gaming monitor, the game pushes up to 90+ frames on the highest settings with HDR. We recommend playing this one with HDR on. Although the game caps at 60Hz in the setting, you’ll have to let go of Vsync to get the extra smoothness. Make sure your Freesync or Gsync monitor is enabled to avoid screen tearing.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
The remake that sits well with the other remakes of 2020. Resident Evil 3 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake might still be the prized possession for gamers looking for a nostalgic trip with a graphic and gameplay boost but Mafia Definitive Edition is a healthy reminder for cinephiles that mindless or fictional shooting is not what videogames want to be remembered for, especially Mafia. Even with its not-so-latest gameplay, the Definitive Edition is a must-play for gamers who like to be invested in story-driven games that don’t demand weeks and months of commitment to finish.