Welcome to the Mafia: Definitive Edition review, here is your Don speaking. In 2002 the gaming family got introduced to this storytelling franchise and now several years later we get the definitive edition. Rebuilt from the ground-up and with additional features. Honestly, Marlon Brando would say it so nicely but it is an offer you can’t refuse. Grand Theft Auto, fuggedaboutit as this Mafia game is one of my favorites of all time when it comes to immersive story-telling and character building.
What we liked!
- What The Godfather is for movies is Mafia for video games: Tommy Angelo is our playable character and we get to know him as a taxi driver. With pure luck, he finds the opportunity to join the Salieri crime family and slow but surely climb the ranks. I am not spoiling anything else from the story as you should experience it for yourself but believe me when I say that the story is on par with Goodfellas or The Godfather. Even more so now as the visuals for the characters help so much with making the story immersive and exactly what you would expect from a top tier mafia movie. Suttle facial expressions or even body language tell a lot more than a voice ever can. For this definitive edition they reworked some of the dialogue too, I must be honest and say that I didn’t do my research and play the original Mafia again but the conversations really shine brighter than the sun on an HDR-screen.
- Gunplay: When it comes to third-person cover shooting Mafia isn’t the best you can buy but where the shooting takes place, that’s a different story. The somewhat illogical cover system means you can’t do much about not getting hit. You have to snap out of cover first before you can aim, this leads to some frustration on the highest difficulty and even for less skilled gamers on easier difficulties. What makes everything more than okay though is the level design, shootouts in a church or at a farm with a thunderstorm are only a few of the memorable moments.
- Detailed visuals with impressive lighting: Without a doubt the comare of Mafia: Definitive Edition, it looks fantastic. It is one of the best looking games on Xbox One with some stunning reflections and advanced lighting effects. Puddles that appear when it rains have believable reflections, every object in the environment is highly detailed but the crème de la crème is the lighting engine. Around halfway in the game you will investigate a farm in the dark when you have some extreme weather. Thunder lights up the world beautifully while the rain pours in, it is quite a sight to behold. Xbox One X delivers this in a dynamic 4K with pretty much a perfect and stable performance.
- Sound lifts Mafia up to higher ground: Strong voice-acting and believable sound is Mafia’s most impressive accomplishment. The highlight in this comes from the radio, which isn’t just playing music alone. The broadcasters for example often reference things that happened in Lost Heaven and you can guess twice who caused the explosions or shootings. this frequently happens in other open world games too but Mafia really perfected it.
- Free ride mode: In this mode, you can change the appearance of Tommy and explore the beautiful Lost Heaven to find hidden cars and additional collectibles. Every car in the Carcyclopedia can be selected to beat race challenges. This is an excellent mode to give some extra replay value but the eye candy from the impressive open world isn’t enough to keep you playing for long.
- Car handling: If you have ever played the original Mafia before you will remember the part when you have to win a race in the mission fair play. This mission is somewhere at the beginning of the game and also the most annoying and difficult, especially on classic difficulty. Even in this new version of Mafia the race car, or in general every car doesn’t really handle that well. Clunky is the correct term, as maneuvering in corners doesn’t feel right. Even for cars from 1930! You have two modes for driving handling regular and simulation, this last one is mandatory in classic mode and is a nightmare for the race mission. It will lock your wheels while braking and removes any help from driving straight, regular is more light handling. Too floaty for my taste but a lot easier compared to simulation. A weird solution for taking corners at speed is the ‘ram-mechanic’ this unrealistic feature gives you a slight speed-boost and is normally meant for ramming police cars. Additionally, in this short second your car becomes extremely responsive too. I didn’t really like it but I used it in the car race mission as that seems to be the only way to win that race from nightmares.
What we disliked
- Nothing to mention here.
The original Mafia was a memorable game and this Mafia: Definitive Edition makes it even more memorable. Excellent visuals, a strong narrative and fun gameplay make this an offer you can’t refuse.