It’s a beautiful day to join the mafia. We got our hands on a preview build of Mafia: Definitive Edition, out September 25th, and have some thoughts about it.
Now, the preview build covers several of the chapters of the game. It touches on the first 5 chapters of the game’s story, before giving you a jump to the tenth chapter. It’s also entirely story-based, so there’s no experimenting with how much fun it is to terrorize the general populace, capisce?
The events of Mafia start when Tommy Angelo gets his cab wrecked by a local gang. In the name of payback, he asks for a favor from the Salieri crime family. What starts as a simple job wrecking some mobsters cars leads to Tommy being pulled into the crime family, and seeing the criminal underworld for himself.
More Than A Fresh Coat Of Paint
The first thing you notice is that the game looks good. Considering the original Mafia came out in 2002, Definitive has gone above and beyond just giving the game’s characters a fresh coat of paint. The characters emote really well, like they’re real people. It’s not just better graphics- character performance is also improved, along with a better script.
Naturally, the world is greatly improved as well. The streets feel infinitely more populated, with more people walking around as well as cars. This feels like a solid visualisation of prohibition-era USA, especially with the increase in billboards talking about prohibition. It sets a good mood for the game, and really immerses you in the era.
One problem with Mafia: Definitive Edition fans should prepare for is the driving. Suffice to say, it’s a little too faithful to its era. Cars typically don’t go over 40km/h, so don’t expect any high-speed chases here. On the other hand though, the slower cars are great for those of us who drive like a wet turkey.
Navigation in the game has been greatly improved compared to the original Mafia. Like modern games of its genre, Mafia: Definitive Edition gives you a map in the bottom-left corner of the screen with directions to your next objective. The game also gives you in-game arrows that look like road signs to point you where you need to go next.
Just Mobster Things
The demo also shows us the stealth sequences in the game, which any GTA-like fan should be familiar with. New in this remake is the ability to sneak up on unaware characters, before choking them out. You can also move the bodies now, to get them out of sight. This is a welcome addition compared to the original Mafia, where you didn’t have access to these features.
Shooting in the game is fun, though some precision is required to start scoring headshots. Unlike modern titles like GTA 5, the reticle doesn’t snap towards targets when you aim down sights. This means you need to be bringing your A-game any time your gun is out.
Opening your radial menu has a nice touch too, as it makes a nice six shooter sound as the menu opens. The preview build had machine guns, shotguns and pistols, and it’s unknown if all the weapons from the original will make it over.
You’ll have to use these guns wisely though, as the game features drastically improved enemy AI. Enemies will now try to surround Tommy, which can be quite dangerous for him.
If you get hit, you’re going to need to find health. Unlike many contemporary shooters, Mafia does away with regenerating health. Keeping Tommy’s health topped up is important, so you’ll have to go rummaging through first-aid cabinets.
An Authentic Experience
While the game goes to lengths to recreate a coherent feeling of the 1930s, I appreciate that it remembers to still be a video game. You’re still doing video game things like shooting down an unholy number of goons, and you’re not penalized for driving dirty in a race.
The build also lacks a free roam, but 2K assures us that we’ll get a chance to explore 1930s Lost Heaven once the game launches in full. Meanwhile, you can still cause plenty of havoc on your way to missions, if you don’t mind the game constantly nagging you to get to the next checkpoint.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is looking really good. It’s an engaging drama about Salieri family, that isn’t afraid to immerse itself in the era. It’s got appealing characters like Paulie who aren’t always quipping or trying to break the fourth wall. Fans of the original Mafia should be excited to see the classic brought to 2020 standards.
Mafia: Definitive Edition launches September 25th.