We’re nearing the end of the current generation of videogame consoles. In about a month from now, many of us will be switching to a newer and more powerful console. The new hardware will allow us to experience our games in higher fidelity than ever before. Publishers and developers all over are promising us upgrades and updates to our favorite titles, while others choose to remaster their game. It’s uncommon for titles of old to be completely remade with modern technology. Only a handful of titles got given this treatment: Tomb Raider – Anniversary, Resident Evil 2, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake come to mind. Last month, Mafia: Definitive Edition got added to that list. A complete remake of a game released almost 20 years ago.
Twenty years seems like a lifetime ago. Frankly put, for some of us, it was a lifetime ago. The original Mafia got released in 2002. There’s a whole new generation of gamers out there who might have missed out on one of gaming’s most compelling crime stories to date. For me, the timing of the original couldn’t have been any better. After the release of Max Payne – a game that changed my life forever – I was yearning for another game with a dark and layered narrative. Mafia over-delivered. Sure, the game was incredibly difficult. Were it not with the help of a few cheats and trainers, I might have never experienced the end of it. It was a huge relief when I learned the Definitive Edition release would make the game much more accessible, without losing any of its charm. A classic remade, with improvements all around, how can you say no to that?
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this game. But for those wondering if Mafia: Definitive Edition lives up to its predecessor the answer is a loud ‘yes!’. The game closely follows the narrative of the original. Developer Hanger 13 has been bold enough to deviate from the narrative on some occasions, but clearly with the intent to expand the backstory of certain characters or events. The writing and voice acting have been vastly improved, which overall adds more “weight” to the narrative. Graphically the game is stunning. Incredible reflections, facial expressions, and attention to detail make the game gorgeous to look at. Again, all with a nod to the original. Even the map of Lost Heaven is based on the layout of the original!
It felt wrong not to write anything about this exceptional remake, since the original has been so dear to me. Nostalgia is a great feeling. However, often when going back to the original that feeling is quickly ruined. Some games just don’t age that well. With Mafia: Definitive Edition, Hanger 13 ensured my memories are here to last for another 20 years or so.