Developer: Hangar 13
Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Gene(s): Action, Adventure
Mafia: Definitive Edition is the updated version of the 2002 original Mafia game. There is a mix of story updates, free-roaming mode, and 4k visuals. This update of Mafia has been built from scratch as opposed to just being a 4K update which Mafia II and Mafia III have been given in their latest incarnation. The updates for Mafia include plots and aspects of gameplay. Mafia is a heavily narrative-driven crime mob story.
Lost Haven, the world you navigate is set in America during the 1930s. Prohibition is in full swing and the mobsters rule their city with an iron fist. The world is detailed and meticulously created, the guns, the cars, the people, the clothes and the language is all of that 1930s era. It looks stunning in 4K, detailed environment, textures, and the lighting is stunning. The game designers have excelled at making the game look fantastic. This is a massive upgrade from the initial Mafia game. The world is huge and immersive. The character textures and detailed facial composition is impressive.
You will play as Tommy Angelo who is a cab driver who ends up being caught up in the mob world. It follows his life in the world of the mob, it is a narrative-driven cinematic story, the gameplay centres around predefined missions where you uncover more about the mob and Tommy’s life. This part of Mafia is linear despite being in a massive open world, the mission led stories are intertwined in the overall story. The game emphasizes storytelling and gameplay together. The player becomes invested in the characters as you progress through each mission. I was drawn in by the story, there are twists and turns with lots of intrigues too.
It’s easy to think of Mafia as a mob film mixed with GTA style gameplay. There is an emphasis on driving as you are a cab driver but this mixed in with a third-person shooter/adventurer. If you played any GTA game, the mechanics are akin to it, drive a car around, get out, and complete missions. The interesting aspect of the driving aspects is that cars handle like cars without power steering. This mimics the cars of that era. Ancient cars are what you will experience and it’s a throwback to 1930s America, this is captured and plays well. The third-person gameplay incorporates a cover system that underpins the gameplay style. Similarly, the guns are of the 1930s with handguns, shotguns, and Tommy guns. The gameplay mechanics are smooth, responsive, and easy to pick up. There isn’t much of a learning curve which means you will be thrown into missions instantly.
While, the graphics, textures and the draw distance is on point. I found the load times to be frustrating, I’m not sure if this is due to the level detail of maps and how the game loads them. It is quite noticeable from early on and is the only real gripe I had. I found the load times stifling and breaks your rhythm too. Reloading the last checkpoint, new missions, and the open mode ( “Free ride” mode) of the game are impacted. The story mode of the game may be a little short too, it took me about 4 days of extended play to get through it however there is an open mode available once you complete the first mission which allows you to navigate the world.
In totality, I found myself quickly hooked to the story mode, and the up to date graphics made everything seem more lifelike. The world is immersive and the gameplay is so easy to pick and play. I mean you will be completing your first mission within minutes. Simply game mechanics and less fuss is a huge bonus. The storytelling, cinematics, soundtracks, and voiceovers give this an authentic film feel. You feel a part of the mob world and invested in your character. While the open world allows you to wander and find missions and tasks to do, I loved the story-based missions the most. The addition of the “Free Ride” open mode gives some extra longevity to the game.
The Mafia trilogy which includes Mafia: Definitive Edition, Mafia II: Definitive Edition (4K update) and Mafia III: Definitive Edition (4K update) is €59.99 but the Mafia: Definitive Edition standalone edition is €39.99.