Mafia: Definitive Edition Review. Cult game again?
In 2002, a small Czech studio Illusion Softworks released an action-adventure game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven . The game became a hit and spawned a whole series, as well as indirectly led to the creation of the cultKingdom Come: Deliverance . Eighteen years later, the publisher 2K Games decided to remind where the “Mafia” began by releasing a remake.
Return to Little Italy
Reviews usually start with a story or a short story about the game world, but in the case of Mafia: Definitive Edition we decided to go through the visual first. Improved graphics – this is the main innovation of the re-release, and it is in it that the developers have invested the most. And not in vain, because among all the games of the updated trilogy, it is the first part that looks the most advantageous. And if you compare with the original, then it’s just heaven and earth.
At first glance, it is clear that the leap in graphics came out more than in the case of the second “Mafia” remaster. The developers from the Hangar 13 studio have reworked absolutely everything – textures, models, animations, effects. They also redesigned the interface to make it work well on modern monitors. It is possible that the entire updated trilogy was started by the publisher precisely because of Mafia: Definitive Edition.
But manufacturability is not the most important thing. The reissue captivates with its meticulous approach to recreating the authentic image of America in the 30s of the last century. Lost Haven and its environs abound in detail, each area of the city has its own style, and vintage cars scurrying through the streets evoke nostalgia for the Godfather. If you screw the VR mode to the game, you get an almost perfect museum of the Great Depression.
There is only one controversial change in the visual part: the new look of the main characters. Most of the faces are well-chosen, but some are changed beyond recognition. For example, the new version of Paulie Lombardo is a completely different person. Don Salieri, on the other hand, looks much more impressive in the reissue, thanks to the excellent facial animation.
The technical performance also did not disappoint. Along with the new graphics came new system requirements. The remaster is very demanding on the processor. But no serious problems with optimization and bugs were noticed. It is a pity that reissuesMafia 2 andMafia 3 was less fortunate.
Mafia is forever
At one time, the original game also boasted good graphics, but it owes high marks to critics and users primarily to the plot. Back in 2002, the script written by the notorious Daniel Vavra turned out to be head and shoulders above most other story-driven games.
The City of Lost Heaven is not just a gangster shooter set in the 1930s US setting. On the contrary, this is a multifaceted story about the life of an ordinary hard worker taxi driver named Thomas Angelo. By coincidence, he is drawn into the war of the Lost Haven mafia clans, which has been unfolding for eight years.
The game reveals surprisingly realistically the image of the average American who, under the pressure of problems, is ready to defy moral norms, and then the law. Tommy quickly “gets involved” and, inspired by mafia romance, becomes a criminal, albeit with his own notions of honor.
And only after a while it becomes clear that the “family” is just fairy tales, but it’s too late to leave: not just money is at stake, but your own life. It’s amazing how eighteen years ago a low-budget game from an unknown studio could work out the story so thoroughly.
The presentation of the plot in the reprint has become much more impressive thanks to a complete rework of all the intros using improved graphics. In most scenes, the characters act in the same way as in the original, but some aspects have been changed . For example, if in the original Don Morello smashes a boxer’s head on the car, in Mafia: Definitive Edition he beats him with a wrench. That is, the essence remains the same, but some scenes look more impressive.
One day in the life of a mafia
The reissue completely repeats the entire plot of the original, even the division into chapters is the same. The structure of the missions is also similar, the developers have very meticulously recreated all the tasks, making only minor gameplay changes. For example, in some combat missions the number of opponents has been slightly increased, and the architecture of locations has been changed.
After the announcement, there was a fear that the developers would turn the game into an action game like Mafia 3. But everything was limited to the minor changes mentioned above. Among the most notable are the reworking of shooting and car driving to the modern standard. Also, the main character can now ride a motorcycle, but in the story this opportunity is almost never used.
In City of Lost Heaven, machine physics has generated a lot of controversy. Someone liked her for her realism and complexity, and someone, because of her, threw the passage halfway. In the re-release, the control of the car most of all resembles Mafia 3, that is, it seems to be not quite arcade, but it is far from the hardcore of the original.
The action has become a little more, but mainly because the creators have simplified some of the “peaceful” sections. For example, delivering customers by taxi at the beginning of the game is much faster than before. But for some reason they did not change close combat. And in vain: against the background of the updated shooting mechanics, it looks very scanty. Waiting for an attack, blocking, then hitting several times is the description of almost any hand-to-hand combat in the game.
Another great feature is Classic Mode. With him, the game becomes closer to the original, complicating the player’s life with the need to comply with traffic rules and more realistic car control. Health is also less, so the passage of some tasks will become much more difficult. This mode is perfect for orthodox fans who want to fully experience the original atmosphere.
Open world – is there or not?
If you were afraid that the game would be remade for an open world, then you can breathe out: nothing like that happened. The game is still played linearly from mission to mission, and the open world is available only in a special “Walk” mode.
In it, the player can travel the world without any restrictions , completing minor side quests and collecting collectibles. The game in no way forces you to complete the “Walking” tasks, this is an optional mode for those who like to complete the game 100%.
And that’s great, because the open world itself in Mafia: Definitive Edition isn’t that far removed from the original. Yes, visually it has changed noticeably, but from a gameplay point of view, it is as empty as eighteen years ago – except that there were more passers-by and cars. On the streets of Lost Haven, literally nothing happens, even in GTA 3 there were more random events.
The artificial intelligence of the characters, which moved from Mafia 3 without noticeable changes, is also depressing. If the enemy does not have a plot script for some action, then he will simply sit in cover, periodically shooting towards the main character. In the open world, the situation is even worse: passers-by often do not react, even when you drive a centimeter from them on the sidewalk.
Mafia in Russian
The original came with Russian localization, and the remaster went the same way. This is great, in recent years, not all games have received full translation. And if you want to play in English, you can change the language in the menu, since the language of subtitles and voice acting can be configured separately.
Nevertheless, despite these advantages, the localization of Mafia: Definitive Edition is hardly ideal for several reasons. First, the selection of actors for some roles is clearly unsuccessful. In addition, actors often overact and make inappropriate pauses between words. For example, Paulie speaks in the voice of an imbecile “gopnik”. He, of course, does not shine with intelligence in the plot, but in Russian localization it is simply difficult to listen to him without laughing.
Secondly, sometimes the actors do not fit into the time allotted for the phrase. As a result, two remarks merge into one, and in rare cases the characters “swallow” individual words.
Thirdly, there are blatant blunders in translation. For example, at the beginning of the game, Don Salieri says that his family, unlike the Morello bandits, does not swear. However, very soon the localizers forget about it, and the main character’s comrades now and then use foul language. Such mistakes most often occur when texts are voiced without understanding the context, that is, they are simply read from a piece of paper without reference to the game itself and its characters.
Yes, the new Mafia: Definitive Edition is back for many years. The developers have done a titanic job of reworking the graphics and adapting the gameplay to the needs of the modern player.
At the same time, they were able to preserve the magnificent plot of the original, and in some places even raised it to a new level. As before, this is a very atmospheric game that fully captures the spirit of the era. If you are a fan of the first part, then you will be satisfied, if not all, then very much.
Of course, it was not without flaws: the open world does not live up to modern standards of development, and localization leaves much to be desired. But the first “Mafia” is primarily a plot, and the Russian translation can be replaced with English voice acting in one click.
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