Mafia Definitive Edition is something we all should have saw coming shortly after Mafia III and Mafia II got definitive edition releases. Well, its 2020 and we just got the Mafia Definitive Edition. So a few questions come to mind: Is it just as good as I remember? What did they change? but mainly, Is it worth it? Today lets discuss and review Hanger 13’s Mafia Definitive Edition – The good, the bad and the changes.
Due to migration of host, many images are lost – apologies
In the same vein as all previous reviews the system specs have not changed but once we get to the benchmarks we will have a few updates in regards to the depth of these benchmarks. Until then:
|Intel Core i7-7700K||Nvidia GTX 1080||32GB|
For some strange and wonderful reason, Mafia Definitive Edition runs better than Mafia III Definitive Edition. They are on the same engine, by the same team and they only released 4 months apart. As such I will boil this down to Mafia III being an older game that got a small update whereas Mafia Definitive Edition is essentially a new game.
As stated in the previous section this game ran like a dream. I ran into 1 issue whilst not playing the game. It took me about half an hour to get the game to launch. This was due to a few freezes and black screens. A couple of Alt+F4 hits later and everything was running smooth. In turn, I did run the game at a capped 60FPS just to avoid issues with the stream. I had an issue running the game in 4K but that was my fault. 4K display has to be the main display and not an extension. Noted for the future.
Anyway, for the first hour when I had the game on the high preset I was getting a solid 80+ FPS, however, due to stream issues I did have to drop everything down to the medium preset and lock the framerate, but even on medium the game still looked gorgeous. Let’s now talk about the benchmarks. I have 2 separate benchmarks the same hardware at different resolutions
|1080p||Intel i7 7700K||Nvidia GTX 1080||32GB|
|4K||Intel i7 7700K||Nvidia GTX 1080||32GB|
Lets first look at the difference between the framerates. I ran the benchmark on the games HIGH preset – Same system, different screen.
Lets talk about torture. Running this game on high at 4K was not an enjoyable experience. Granted this was a preset, if you were to run the game at a lower or custom setting then you could get higher numbers but when you want to compare apples to apples. I feel it best we break these numbers down into percentages.
|FRAMERATE||Average||Minimum||Maximum||1% Lows||0.1% Lows|
By the sheer numbers alone, on high, I lost over 60% of my performance. Game looked stunning though. I cannot tell you how much nicer it looked but it was hard. It was technically playable with a few dips here and there when certain things were happening but overall the game looked stunning and was still playable. I would just recommend dropping the graphics settings slightly – that being said though it was no harder on my system than running the game at 1080p. I will let the next image speak for itself. The little tail off at the end there is just when I closed the game. Very aggressive fan curve.
The story in Mafia Definitive Edition is very similar if not exactly the same as the original PS2. The game takes place in 1939, you are Tommy Angelo. The game starts as you sit in a diner looking awry and uncouth. A man takes a seat opposite you and you start spilling your entire life story for the past nine years to a cop. You know you’re in for a ride when the game starts with a member of the Mafia turning rat.
In his younger years Tommy was a cabbie, one night whilst just taking a break, two members of the mafia come running down the street after a chase, hold Tommy hostage and tell him to book it. After being dropped off at their headquarters, one comes out and reaches into his inner pocket. Given all the talk of having his windows tinted red, Tommy panics and try to drive away. Turns out the don wishes to compensate him, generously.
The next day after a very boring day the members of the mob Tommy escaped from, jump him and do their best chef impression by tenderising the taxi with a baseball bat. Atop this, ribs are also on the block, therefore Tommy does his best roadrunner impression and runs to the bar from the previous night. They men he assisted take him to see the Don who gives him the opportunity to open a barbeque serving molotov cocktails and burnt-out cars. In short, revenge.
In terms of roads a taxi driver can take, this is a slippery one. Tommy starts off as a wheelman and helps the guys around. However, he starts doing more and more deplorable activities, from planting car bombs to axing off rival mafia family members, stealing from the FBI in addition to robbing a bank; that being said, most of the time he’s the wheelman more than the gunman.
The story is a slow burner with nice action pieces between the slower parts and it overall helps to make Tommy a more sympathetic protagonist as a whole. The best example is in the mission ‘Bon Appétit!’. In the PS2 version, Tommy and the Don talk about the food and how Tommy should take his wife there; in the remake Tommy turns down the wine and says that his wife threatened to leave him if he didn’t stop drinking, to this the Don tells Tommy that he told Tommy’s wife to get him off the drink so that Tommy didn’t make any mistakes he could not live with. This is one of the many changes made that give us reason to Tommy wanting out of the mob life.
This sympathetic and almost tragic side to Tommy can also be seen in the mission ‘You Lucky Bastard’. In both instances, you are tasked with planting a car bomb in the personal car of the rival Dons right hand man. Both times Tommy hangs around to witness the incident – this is where the parallels begin. The original had you waiting by the side and when you see the mans wife enter the car you shout no and make little effort to stop her getting in; contrast this with the definitive edition, Tommy is on the phone to his wife and drops the phone when he sees the girl getting into the car – he makes it half way across the road and the bomb goes off and runs away laboured in breath saying ‘no-no no’ the entire time.
Before I spoil the game for you though, lets go to the gameplay shall we?
The gameplay in Mafia back in 2002 was clunky and awkward. For example, taking cover was crouching behind a wall and peaking out to take a few potshots with your tommy gun or pistol. Essentially, you’re made of glass in the original game, sustained firefights were best avoided. This in conjunction with the sporadic checkpoint system could set you back to the beginning of levels after half an hours gameplay.
In contrast, Mafia Definitive Edition this has been completely overhauled: There is now a cover system like in Mafia II and Mafia III. Checkpoints are also more frequent. This has made the game much less frustrating overall. In efforts to ease your frustrations even more, you can set every little point of the difficulty, from how the cars handle (similar to previous games) to how aggressive the cops are; not to say that taking both barrels from a 12 gauge wont hang you out to dry, realism -to an extent- is still taken into consideration.
That being said, weapons have seen some tweaks, let’s rhyme them off. Firstly, Tommy guns are more inaccurate. This in turn leads to burst firing being the most effective way of using this weapon. Revolvers have a higher kick and faster reload meaning well-placed headshots are the best way to deal with a crowd and Shotguns have excellent potential to do damage at a range of sub-two meters, anything more and you might as well be shouting mean words. The standard pistol is your best choice – great at range, great close up, resets easily and is the most common weapon around.
Initially, the game will be set to simulation driving, cars will all handle differently from every other car and in turn, you can really get a feel for specific cars when it comes to doing missions. If you decide to change to the normal mode then all cars will handle roughly the same with some deviation and interesting quirks. Cars have seen a huge overhaul though. Acceleration and top speed have been adjusted to help make the rectangles with wheels feel faster and handle better than the original.
Car combat has also seen an improvement, though you can hang out the window and pop shots off, you now get an indication your shots are landing on a target and you also know when the target has died. Through tweaks to the difficulty and newer elements the game has been made more accessible to a new audience interested in the Mafia trilogy.
The differences in this game are vast and overall make it a new experience as a whole. Some scenes have been extended and some outright removed, the most notable is a sex scene that was just awkward; replaced with a more caring scene that tells us Tommy isn’t looking for another notch on the bedpost. That being said it cuts off at just the right pace that it can be interpreted that it happened.
A great contrast in how far we have come in terms of story driven games comes from some of the changes I mentioned earlier. With additional scenes and dialogue at the end, Tommy has been made more sympathetic. He is shown to go through the motions of being in jail rather than just writing his memoirs. This helps to show us the regret he feels for his actions that led to this point.
One of the best scenes does come at the end of the game, Vito Mafia II & Mafia III – voiced and all. Alterations made to this scene give the idea of a happy life after everything that happened. Though the ending is sad, few additions have made the ending more optimistic as a whole, in contrast the original ending was bleak, having Tommy bleed out on his lawn, alone.
Having discussed this game and some of its amazing changes, I feel we should wrap this up now. Firstly, do I recommend this game? Yes – to both old fans and new fans of the series. This remake has made an old game easily accessible to all. It’s easier and the addition of the new scenes and dialogue breathe new life into old bones.
Secondly, though it’s ties to its successors are slim, the story is compelling. I have played many games in the past two years and I can say right now I can count on 1 hand the games where the story went above and beyond. That includes Mafia III which I am currently playing through on Twitch.tv right now. A good story will always beat out great gameplay in my opinion.
Finally and most importantly – It just works. Yes I admitted to having issues in the beginning but after that, none. Granted getting the game to work in 4K was awkward, but I got there. Anyway, scores.
The game took me about 10 hours to finish. Though the game ran better than its predecessor that should be a given at this point. If it ran significantly better it would rate higher. Frankly I ran into issues streaming the game whilst playing over 60FPS and only Mafia III and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare have had that issue.
Though stripped back to allow for the games narrower scope, the gameplay was still solid. My biggest gripe comes from the grind – you do spend more time playing taxi to the family, than doing mafia related stuff. For all the things they added, they coulda removed some of the driving. I also neglected to bring up the racing mission – even on Medium difficulty, it’s too easy. To be fair it was soul crushingly difficult back in the day but unless you play on classic difficulty, no competition.
When they altered parts of the story cutscenes, Hanger 13 must have had a goal in mind: Make Tommy more likeable. Success. The new voice acting and animations as well as all the added extras make Tommy a great lead. You do leave the game feeling sorry for him, but also happy. Every character has had this treatment but none more so than Tommy. This is, by far, The Definitive Edition.