Mafia’s not exactly a new game or franchise by any stretch of the imagination. The series has existed for almost two decades at this point, and the first entry in the franchise garnered critical and commercial acclaim for its fantastic approach to open world gameplay during a time when just about everyone was trying to make the next Grand Theft Auto 3. Here we are, 18 years later, and Hangar 13 decided to reimagine and remake the classic crime drama for the current generation of gamers and systems. Does it still hold up? How well did it make the jump almost two decades into the future? And most importantly, how much has changed?
This ain’t The Soprano
The most important thing to remember when getting into Mafia: Definitive Edition, especially if you’ve played the original before, is that it has more in common with Mafia 3 than it does the original in terms of gameplay. Gone are the idiosyncrasies that made the original such a memorable experience; the realism of how guns handle and recoil has been turned down quite a bit, and cars handle decently enough unlike the soapbox-on-wheels approach the original tried to simulate from the real cars of the era.
On the other hand, the story’s as good as ever, and it’s downright impossible to not notice just how gorgeous Mafia: Definitive Edition truly is. The city of Lost Heaven has been beautifully realised, and it’s quite impressive that the current-gen consoles can still pull this off, considering the new consoles are right around the corner. And like I said, that story’s still really good.
Grand Theft Mafia
In terms of gameplay, Mafia: Definitive Edition’s open world doesn’t really have much of a point. Protagonist Tommy Angelo is a bit fragile, so GTA-styled rampages aren’t exactly encouraged throughout your adventures in Lost Haven. The city tends to act as more of a vessel for the linear storyline to play out. This doesn’t mean that it’s a corridor shooter, however. There’s still a fair bit of exploring to do, especially if you want to find some of the more unique cars in the game. There are also plenty of collectibles in the form of cigarette stickers and pulpy comics to hunt down in just about every mission.
The missions themselves, like I said earlier, are pretty linear. You’re not playing Mafia: Definitive Edition to play through your own story; you’re definitely here for a ride through Thomas Angelo’s trip through the hierarchy of the up-and-coming Salieri family. Thankfully, missions aren’t just drive-here-and-kill-a-guy affairs. There’s a fair amount of variety in the missions. For example, one mission has you take the place of a race car driver and win a race, while another has you sneak on board a ship to kill a guy in the vein of Hitman.