MAFIA: Definitive Edition Review – We Got the Booze

by Chris Camilleri
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Organised crime mobs are one of the most common guilty pleasures of cinematography and gaming. Fans of The Godfather, Goodfellas and other notorious mafia movies have a certain love towards the niche genre, so much so that any one of the fanbase will have probably watched tons of movies from the subgenre. In gaming, these titles may be more widespread given the accessibility and the positive reviews they get – and one franchise in particular surely lives up to the hype created by its big-screen brethren.

MAFIA: Definitive Edition, incidentally heavily inspired by the aforementioned Goodfellas is a remake of the 2002 classic title of the same name, originally for Windows PC and then ported on PlayStation 2 and Xbox. The game stars Tommy Angelo, a normal cab driver living in Lost Heaven, who ends up working for the Salieri family due to fate bringing them in contact.

Definitive Edition is a reimagining of the original, with some additional cutscenes, expanded backstories and a newly recorded orchestra soundtrack sure to deliver an incredible experience upon playing it for the first time or revisiting the world after having played the 2002 version. The brand new remake also features a Noir mode, permitting players to live the events of the game in a monochromatic scheme, sure to bring that old movie feeling to life.

As mentioned before, Mafia follows the adventure of Tommy Angelo, a cab driver become gangster working for the Salieri family. The game shows itself as an open-world title much like the GTA franchise, but unfortunately roaming around is the only thing one can do. Sure, the scenery is gorgeous, but apart from staring at it, you cannot do much.

The game even lacks a photo mode, a sin in a time where game worlds not even half as beautiful as 2020’s recreation of Lost Heaven benefit from one. There is nothing hindering from using the screenshot feature, however, so be sure to stop from time to time and snap away at the beautiful environments in Mafia. You won’t find much better easily that’s for sure.

Fortunately, the game has an awful lot going in its favour. First of all, the story is one which will have players churning mission after mission to know how it will all go down. The narrative focus of the title is one which has not been seen much in an age where multiplayer dominates the landscape, so it is very refreshing to observe such attention for detail given to this aspect. I for one look for this kind of experience, and much prefer a good, well thought out story and interpretation to a competitive multiplayer title, so Hangar 13′s efforts are definitely on point.

Coupled with dialogue which never feels bland or forced and amazing voice acting from all of the cast, Mafia will deliver an experience which even the uninterested will fall in love with. All the main characters appearing in the story, from protagonist Tommy Angelo to his sidekicks Paulie and Sam, passing through Salieri and his arch-rival Morello, experience substantial character development as the game progresses, showing more and more the motives and the consequences of all their actions as the main scenario unfolds.

Mafia is a third person shooter, with a strong emphasis on cover. You will not endure a lot of bullets walking with guns blazing at your enemies, and with a health system reminiscing of old school shooter, you will definitely not have the HP for it. Mafia goes back to its roots and embraces the old way of shooters, with healing only available through First Aid Kits, placed abundantly throughout the levels. On hard mode, you will still benefit from a number of these first aid kits, which are surely enough to make it through the level without being made into a human pasta strainer.

I like how when you’re at 1HP, the health will regen back to a tenth of the HP and stop there, as to like give you a second chance at life by sparing you death if hit by a pistol bullet. This health replenishment will not be enough to tank a shotgun bullet however, so the game is fair in its mechanics while not being kind enough to let you cheat death whenever and wherever.

Gunplay mechanics are incredibly fun, while a little bit hard to get used to at first. Shooting while moving is very much not recommended unless you’re using a shotgun, as the pistol reticle will be all over the place, making it a success to actually land one bullet out of a clip of seven.

Cover mechanics are also very efficient, with the ability to swap sides or orbit cover for safe, undetected or undamaged traversal while fending off goons or police. The game also incorporates shooting from cover, which will rarely damage enemies but will help discourage them from shooting enough for you to get a position of advantage. Coupled with molotovs and grenades, the game gives players ample margin to turn the tides of battles, even when largely outnumbered.

Apart from top notch narrative and very fun cover shooting mechanics, Mafia also throws the player into an incredible variety of missions. From chasing on foot, to shootouts to chasing a plane in the sky, the game surely is not lacking for variety. Coupled with Paulie and Sam to throw in some smart crack every once in a while, there will never be a dull moment in the game.

There are also plenty of collectibles to search for in the game, such as Foxes and different Comic series. There are also postcard side missions obtainable from Lucas Bertone, available when visiting him in Bertone’s Auto Service near Downtown. These missions will enable players to unlock hidden vehicles in the game, and you will see these vehicles roaming around the streets of Lost Heaven after completion.

The game also features Free Ride mode, which lets players roam about the streets of Lost Heaven as long as they want without any missions waiting for them on the side, with the ability to change outfit and get any car unlocked from Ralphie’s garage. There are also missions available to do in Free Ride mode, with the rewards of these being some exotic new car or weapon or even outfit. It’s not a lot of gameplay but if you fall in love with the universe, it serves as a nice touch to extend your stay in the world of Mafia.

As someone who never experienced the original on PlayStation 2, I was mesmerised by the world that Hangar 13 have recreated and given so much life to. Its wonderful landscapes and sceneries coupled with the immersive story and amazing soundtrack caught me off guard so much I was very sad when I beat the game. As a fan of narrative games, I cannot recommend this game enough; it’s an offer you cannot refuse!

You can find more information about the franchise by visiting the official game website.

For more game reviews, be sure to check out the section HERE.

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