Need a reminder that time flies? It has been ten years since Mafia 2 released on Xbox 360, I don’t know about you but I feel old now. Back in 2010 Mafia 2 was a gorgeous game that rivaled Grand Theft Auto 4 and received mixed but mostly good reviews. Back in the days the game was a fanboy war argument because the PS3-version didn’t feature many graphical details and cloth physics as the Xbox 360 version. (on that note, sadly fanboy wars still happen and continue to ruin gaming conversations) Now in 2020 they release a “Definitive Edition” but luckily the first Mafia will get more love as this Xbox One version simply isn’t up to standards.
What we liked!
- Moving up in the Mafia: The saving grace from Mafia 2 is how excellent the characters are delivered and the surprising story. Not so long before the Mafia remasters got announced I placed Mafia 2 in a shortlist of best voiced characters. Experiencing the well told story from playable character Vito and some remarkable mobsters like Joe or Falcone really feels like watching a Netflix series.
- Lots of content: Back in 2010 Mafia had exclusive PlayStation content (maybe to make up for being the least visually impressive or just because Sony decided to moneyhat them) and now Xbox players can play The betrayal of Jimmy. Two other DLC are included too, Jimmy’s Vendetta and Joe’s Adventures. Making the total package from Mafia 2 Definitive Edition pretty impressive. You can count on having over 35 hours of gameplay with the main game and the 50+ extra missions.
- Soundtrack: A massive 130 songs are in the game and it features some classics that get you into the 50s era. Not all of them can be listened on the radio as some are used in cutscenes but it remains an impressive list with Dean Martin, Danderliers, Duane Eddy and much more artists.
- Mundane errands and occasional great shootout moments: Getting a call to pick someone up and drive him to the scrapyard or driving someone to a restaurant is what it means to be a mafiosi. While Mafia 2 features some really engaging missions (shootout in a butcher for example) most of them are incredibly dull driving missions that require you to go from point A to B. Making things worse is a speed limiter, as driving too fast means police will chase you.
- Linear: There isn’t much to do in the game world, unlike Saints Row or GTA. Mafia 2 is intentionally linear so the developer can handhold the player throughout the story. You can choose to buy outfits or weapons, but missions give you enough firepower so there is actually no need to do that.
What we disliked
- Performance: Really confusing to see a game from 2010 struggling so much on Xbox One X. The frame rate while driving is horrendous, it even manages to freeze regularly for a few seconds or completely booting you to the Xbox menu as the game crashes. This only happens while driving but this is the main thing you do… at first I honestly didn’t believe that this was a thing, I thought my Xbox console was having an issue but nope, this is just a rushed out “definitive edition” with limited to no extra work done on improving performance whatsoever. I am 100% sure that if you could boot the Xbox 360 version of Mafia 2 that it would run much, much better on your Xbox One console.
- Sound issues: Another example for the rushed definitive edition is the complete lack of sound testing. Sounds vanished, game dialogue only comes through one side of your headset, car throttle sounds get stuck and keep playing nonstop forcing you to restart, the list can go on…
Mafia 2 didn’t age well and not much has been done to make it any better in 2020. It seems rushed and the performance is shockingly bad. You would expect that a game from 2010 would play much more smooth on Xbox One X consoles, this isn’t the case and is really frustrating. While I had a lot of fun playing one of my Xbox 360 favorites I was really disappointed by this “Definitive Edition.”