MAFIA: DEFINITIVE EDITION BRINGS THE HEAT  
Ahhhhhh seeeeeeee.         


REVIEW

By JAY TEE
08/10/20
Reviewed on Xbox One X.

Blam blam, seeeee! I’ll open up a can of whoop ass, ahhhhhh!

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Mafia: Definitive Edition has no business being this thorough; a lovingly re constructed remake that, from a purely visual standpoint, blows typical HD upscaled remasters out of the water. There isn’t a precisely rendered fedora or cigar chomping animation that hasn’t been given a fresh coat of love, and when compared side by side with the original release, it’s a night and day proposition.

Developer Hangar 13, coming off the critically divisive but (for our money) highly engaging Mafia 3, has looked to the past for its next steps that will inevitably see a number “four” get tacked on to their currently unannounced opus. From extremely impressive lighting detail to facial animation, this is a bold step up for a team now clearly able to match visual output with the scale of their own ambition.

Where the original Mafia falters somewhat is the pacing of those opening few hours. Missions seem unnecessarily drawn out, with an over reliance on driving to a sequence of markers to trigger some exposition. Vehicle handling veers too heavily towards authenticity and forgets the fun, with sluggish performance that creates pacing issues in moments that shouldn’t feel slow.

The only other major drawback is the character movement, which feels particularly stilted when navigating cover or vaulting objects. It does feel like a bit of a step back, which is odd considering the abundance of attention paid to the graphics and cast performances. Speaking of which, this troupe of actors have all inhabited their roles spectacularly, with nuance and total believability.

There’s also something undeniably satisfying about simply being present in this sandbox; there’s so many bespoke animations and little touches that elevate the experience, and once you’ve progressed beyond what is essentially an extended tutorial, things really open up. Without spoiling anything, the story and writing really pops in the back half, making this totally worth seeing through.

Despite some technical bumps in the road, Mafia: Definitive Edition is exactly that: a premium take on a genre classic.




WORTH IT?

BUT

YEAH!
Mafia: Definitive Edition is the real deal. Don’t leave this one to swim with the fishes.       

Despite superb motion capture performances and stellar lighting design, character animation lacks polish.   

TARPS?

BETTER THAN*:

WORSE THAN*:

At the bottom of some of our articles, you’ll see a series of absurd looking images (with equally stupid, in joke laden names). These are the TARP badges, which represent our ‘Totally Accurate Rating Platform’. They allow us to identify specific things, recognise positive or negative aspects of a games design, and generally indulge our consistent silliness with some visual tomfoolery.  

The MAYORAL ELECTION badge is for a game filled with high pressure moments that put your skills to the test.

The TUVOK’S EARS badge is for a game with gameplay mechanics that are clearly communicated to the player.


The HAVOK PHYSICS badge is for a game where enemies visibly react to weapon hits. 


The GRUMPY SPONGES badge is for a game where certain characters aren’t pleased to see you.

The DIGITAL FOUNDRAJON badge is for a game that pushes technical boundaries with cutting edge presentation.



The HMM… FIREWORKS badge is earned when a game features excellent particle, lighting, or atmospheric effects.


The BATTLESTAR GALACTICA badge is for a game with a visually realistic and / or grounded setting.



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* This is not a serious comparison.