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‘Mafia: Definitive Edition’ review: A gangster’s gaming paradise

A screenshot from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE), by 2k Games   | Photo Credit: 2k Games

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While most open-world video games, which came out of the woodwork in the early 2000s, faded into obscurity, Mafia was one of those titles that reached the popularity of Rockstar’s bestseller. It was an ambitious game by a Czech company called Illusion Softworks — now 2K Czech — that combined the open world of GTA and the intricacy of an American crime saga.

Mafia: Definitive Edition
  • Developer: Hangar 13
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Price: ₹2,999 on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC

Though the original has not aged well, the folks at California-based studio Hangar 13 (owned by 2K Games) have gone the extra mile by redoing the entire game from the ground up. Mafia: Definitive Edition released on September 25 with a fresh voice.

Tommy’s tale

Welcome to 1930s Lost Haven, a city modelled on Chicago during the final years of the Prohibition and the Great Depression. The alcohol ban gave rise to a lot of famous American crime bosses such as Al Capone. Mafia: Definitive Edition is set in a time which has been great for our protagonist Tommy Angelo, so far. Except, when we meet him, he is suffering from lead poisoning, and in a clandestine meeting with a police detective, he recounts his story. We get to play this story through a complex web of deception, and revenge between the crime families Salieri and Morello, as Tommy grows from a lowly grunt to a Made man.

A screenshot from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)

A screenshot from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)   | Photo Credit: 2k Games

Impressive immersion

Those who have played the classic Mafia will recount the game’s cinematography, swooping and diving over Lost Haven. For the Definitive Edition, this is more impressive, with the intro completely redone, bringing the city to life ultimately setting the stage for the video game equivalent of The Godfather. The story is largely the same with a lot more added to most missions to further immerse players into the 1930s gangster era. Look forward to missions that propel you across the map as the story takes you through almost a decade of Tommy’s life with the Salieri family. Those familiar with the original game’s story will be retracing most steps here — except it has got an all new voice-cast for a script rewritten for the overhaul.

A screenshot of Pepe’s Restaurant from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)

A screenshot of Pepe’s Restaurant from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)   | Photo Credit: 2k Games

The open-world structure merely serves as a sandbox for its linear story missions. You can drop off the main story into Free Ride Mode and explore the city, to earn more cash doing side missions. The linear structure is still the same as the original, and it would have been great if Hangar 13 reworked things a bit more, similar to how today’s open-world games handle missions, complete with side quests built in with opportunities to write in new content to bring you further into the world. Nonetheless, those 20-plus missions will keep you on the edge of the seat as they pull you in towards a satisfying conclusion. Though, expect quite a few bugs along the way.

A screenshot of the De Salieri Family from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)

A screenshot of the De Salieri Family from Mafia Definitive Edition (DE)   | Photo Credit: 2k Games

While Tommy is the leading man of Mafia, Lost Haven is an unrivalled central character. The city is foreboding and exciting to explore, as the Definitive Edition brings it deeper into the period while keeping all the familiar locales for your visits. At night, Lost Haven is moody with some incredible lighting effects. The cars, too, are memorable, letting you drive about 50 models, which look like they are straight from classic car journals. Comprising some of the best renderings of metal and glass, these cars are loud and proud and handle beautifully. If you have not experienced the first Mafia, this is your chance. The following Mafia games sadly never came close to capturing the magic of the original and the Definitive Edition is the love this game needed. While it does come with its share of problems, they are nothing that will get in the way of your experience.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 12:52:06 PM |

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