‘Mafia: Definitive Edition’ brings a classic gangster game into the modern era, and it’s a blast.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a complete remake of the original 2002 mobster gameâa game, I should add, that I never got around to playing.
When Mafia III came out a few years ago I jumped into that without going back to play the first two games. I added them to my backlog and then . . . well, you know how it is.
Then I heard that the second and third games were being remastered and that the original was getting a âDefinitive Editionâ remake. I decided Iâd start at the beginning and play the new and improved versions.
I got my wish a little earlier than expected, when 2K offered me a preview code for the game. It wasnât a finished build and it was comprised of just the prologue, first five chapters and then the tenth chapter (to get a feel for the later part of the game) but it was still enough to make me excited to play the full game when it releases on September 25th.
Let me be blunt: Itâs absolutely terrific. The game is gorgeous. Maybe not as gorgeous as some of the biggest-budget games out there like Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Last Of Us Part II, but itâs still beautiful. Compared to the 2002 original, well, thereâs really no comparison.
Lost Heavenâa fictional version of Chicago, basicallyâis fully realized. Huge churches with towering steeples; pointy skyscrapers; men in trench-coats and stylish hats; city blocks lined with brick buildings and some of the coolest old cars Iâve ever seen in a video game. Old-timey jazz on the radio.
You play as Tommy Angelo, a cab driver who finds himself caught up with the mob, first as a driver and then, gradually, as a major player in the gang.
The really interesting thing about Mafia is that it looks and feels, at least at first, like any other big open-world game youâre used to playing. But itâs not. Itâs nothing like modern games, and I love it because of that. The biggest difference is that this is a story-driven game that doesnât waste your time with stupid side activities.
While Lost Heaven is a big city, itâs not dotted with a million little things to do. There arenât tons of tedious side-missions. You donât have to collect stuff or hunt animals or craft better weapons or do any of that type of filler content that pretty much defines most open-world games today, whether weâre talking about Assassinâs Creed or Grand Theft Auto.
Instead, you follow Tommy and his mobster pals, Paulie and Sam, and you take on various missions that always push the story forward. Ironically, since itâs a remake of a nearly two-decades old game, this straightforwardness is a breath of fresh air.
This doesnât mean thereâs a lack of variety or things to do, either. You can still collect a garage full of amazing cars. The missions (that I played at least) were each different, ranging from driving or racing to full-throated shootouts to a racetrack level that I loved and hated in equal measure.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is nothing like what weâve come to expect from this kind of game, largely because studios like Rockstar and Ubisoft have set the standard for what open-world games ought to be like, for better or worse. This is a remake of a game that came out years before Assassinâs Creed and just months after GTA III. It does its own thing, and I love it for that. (I think Mafia III would have been a lot better if it stuck to the same formula and really doubled down on story rather than busy work. It was still good, but too tedious too much of the time).
Combat is pretty much what youâd expect from this kind of game. Itâs a basic third-person cover shooter. I was able to use a pistol, a shotgun, a Tommy gun and Molotov cocktails but I know there are a few other weapons in the full build. There are several difficulty levels and you can tinker with things like aim-assist to fine-tune the challenge to your personal taste and skill-level. I played on Normal with aim assist on for the purposes of this preview, but Iâll probably turn up the difficulty a notch when I play the full game.
I only played six missions of Mafia: Definitive Edition but now Iâm itching to play the full game when it comes out next month. I love old mobster movies and shows like The Sopranos. One of my favorite movies as a kid was The Untouchables, about Elliot Ness taking down Al Capone. This very much captures that feel of being in prohibition-era Chicago, back when even the gangsters dressed nicer than most folk do today.
Itâs a great-looking, story-driven period piece that puts you right into the action and I canât wait to play more.
If you have any questions or want to share your experiences with the original game, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook. Iâll add some video footage to this post when itâs done uploading to my YouTube Channel.
World news – GB – âMafia: Definitive Editionâ Preview: Straight Gangster