Nutshell Review: Mafia: Definitive Edition
PG Score: 7.5/10
Mafia: Definitive Edition is available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
This review is based on PS4 gameplay.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a praiseworthy remake of the 2002 original. Developer Hanger 13 has injected plenty of fresh elements to make this more than just a revamped makeover, though.
The plot takes place during the 1930s and centers on Thomas Angelo, a taxi driver in the fictional city of Lost Heaven who becomes embroiled with the Salieri crime family. Fans of the franchise and newcomers alike will be entranced by the game’s marvelous storytelling. It feels like an interactive infusion of classic mobster flicks and the cinematics are first-class.
I played it on the brand-new classic difficulty mode and spent around 20 hours completing the campaign. Choosing this grueling setting made the relatively challenging gameplay that much harder. Whether it's dropping off your buddy Paulie at his apartment or tearing through a racetrack, most of your time in Mafia: Definitive Edition will be spent driving. The old-fashioned cars handle well and many of the chase sequences are made much more exciting because of the precise responsiveness.
The combat is somewhat of a mixed bag. The shooting is intense, and it is thrilling to watch the environments get riddled with bullets during the gun battles. The blindfire mechanic works well and is especially useful on the game’s harder difficulty settings. The handling for the gunplay is a bit shaky at times, and the cover system is not as intuitive as it could be. As for the enemy AI, it is hit or miss (no pun intended). Sometimes, your foes will get clever and try to flank you. In other spots, they will remain in the same position and merely poke out from cover sporadically. The melee combat is the weak point as it is painfully rudimentary, relying on a basic combination of spamming one attack button and the occasional counter prompt.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a gorgeous game but the graphical enhancements are not without flaws. The technical hiccups include texture pop-ins, unbalanced audio, and frame rate issues. Thankfully, these problems are relatively infrequent, so they do not detract too heavily from an otherwise enjoyable experience.
The new gameplay sequences, cutscenes, and dialogue all play a large part in the success of this revival. The added elements breathe even more life into a metropolitan area that is already teeming with Prohibition-era nostalgia. Mafia: Definitive Edition is a triumphant retelling of the classic crime epic and well worth another trip to Lost Heaven.