When Mafia was originally released in 2002 I was a young 15 year old who was playing Tekken, SSX and Timesploitters obsessively unaware of this excellent series about to kick off. So like many, my first experience with the series was Mafia II on PS3. Now that it has been rebuilt young farts and old farts can experience this game in 2020.
The game takes place in 1930s Lost Heaven where a young taxi driver Tommy is forced to help a couple of members of the Salieri family get away from an ambush from their enemies the Morello family. The Morello family then takes revenge on poor Tommy who was only trying to get by, and suddenly Tommy finds himself thrust into the world of the Salieri family.
I don’t want to touch more on the story because to be honest, it is one aspect of this game that holds up well. I enjoyed making my way through it, and if the story is going to make or break the game for you, think of a generic mob movie, yea that’s the story, and it’s great.
One thing that shows its age is the open world. For the most part the game is an open world but doesn’t have the features of an open world. There aren’t heaps of side quests and activities going on which feels weird in 2020 and yet for some reason I am not complaining. It is a lot more satisfying driving to your objective than driving to your objective past all the side missions you can’t be arsed playing.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good side quest heavy game but only every so often. I liked a change of pace, and Mafia being a linear open world game was actually a nice change. One thing that was missing in the game was a bit more life in the city.
The game has been rebuilt to look good, and I mean good. Cut scenes and the world in general are fantastic, but unpopulated. I don’t need 500 people giving me side quests but not seeing them walking around was eerie and made the game feel old.
The gameplay is overhauled as well which is great if you have gone back and played any PS2 open world game. Shooting and driving feel good enough, though you will notice the driving is slowed down to feel more like cars of the era. There is even a simulation mode which makes everything slower and cops more annoying which is tortuous and painful. I turned it off minutes after turning it on.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a cracking example of how to remake a game. It has aspects that seem like their original counterpart, but is much more playable than an 18 year old open world game would. An overhaul of the graphics and sound makes the game one hell of a linear open world story to enjoy.