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Mafia 2 review (The Mafia Trilogy Definitive editions)

The Mafia franchise is one that has polarised gamers right from the very beginning, to say “things never change” here’s our Mafia 2 review.

You either liked it or you hated it but I have fond memories of playing the first Mafia on a PC. When Windows 98 was still a thing and the recommended hardware was a 700Mhz Pentium 3 CPU, 128Mb of memory and a graphics card with at least 32Mb of memory. Things have obviously moved on since then and in the intervening years since the original Mafia. 2K released two other games, unoriginally titled Mafia 2 (2010) and Mafia 3 (2016).

Fast forward to mid-2020, and 2K has just released the Mafia Trilogy. The three games “remastered” for current platforms and labelled the Definitive Editions. Although I’m really not sure what could have been remastered in Mafia 3 as it was only released in 2016. That said, this package won’t be truly complete until August, when the original Mafia is released.

Mafia 2 Chilling

Let me tell you a story

The second album in a three record deal Mafia 2’s trump card is its narrative, telling the tale of  Vito Scalleta. A small time hoodlum who returns from World War 2 a changed man. Tired of his life, and yearning for something more. Reunited with his friend Joe. The game follows Vito’s rise through the ranks of the mafioso from small timer to made man.

Set in Empire bay (a fictional recreation of  New York City) during the 1940s. The city is run by three families: The Vinci, the Falcones and the Clementes and I guess you could say it’s kind of like GTA meets Good Fellas meets The Godfather. With speed limiters on the cars and cops that will pull you over and write you a ticket!

Ten years on, I found the narrative just as interesting as it was 10 years ago. The soundtrack is still toe-tappingly delightful, with classics from the era. Like Bing Crosby’s Let It Snow and Dean Martin’s Ain’t That A Kick In The Head. It really does set the mood and atmosphere nicely. Sadly, though, back then the game was saddled with a repetitive mission structure. Which, of course, returns here as this is a remaster and not a remake.

Is Mafia 2 Definitive a visual step up?

Graphically, Mafia 2 Definitive Edition looks slightly better than the original. Generally during in-game cinematics, but it’s not “Oh, my, Gawd” levels of noticeable.

Some of the character models are more detailed (while others seems worse, funnily enough). Textures and shadows are sharper, especially in fabrics and hard materials like brick and stone, and the lighting looks better in places. Frankly, it’s very, very subtle and much of the time, I really had trouble seeing what had actually changed visually in comparison to the original.

I played the remastered trilogy on PC (Intel i5 8400, 16Gb RAM and an AMD RX580 GPU) and it seems that it is the most optimal platform. If comments on the World Wide Web are anything to go by. With console gamers having all sort of issues. I managed to get close to mid-5o FPS much of the time (console versions are locked at 30FPS). Most of the c0mplaints I have with this remaster are technical. Noticeable frame rate hitches (both in driving and in the on-foot sequences), frequent object pop-in (especially plants and buildings when driving). Plus the odd character model that just looks scary.

Mafia 2 Hubcaps

Mafia 2, Remastered glitches?

The original game was glitchy and those glitches often appear in this remaster. Now, I didn’t have cars suddenly falling from the sky as some other people have. Early on in the game I encountered a glitch were a pedestrian was walking waist deep through a footpath. Until he suddenly sank below the concrete before disappearing completely. One major annoyance is the constant pop-up from 2K asking me to log into a 2K account or create a 2K account. Every time I finished playing the pop-up would appear and I’d just click cancel. It’s unnecessary, 2K.

One thing I did notice is that I also now have Mafia 2 Classic edition installed as part of this package. It has all the released DLC (The Betrayal of Jimmy, Jimmy’s Vendetta and Joe’s Adventure) included. Which the Mafia 2 Definitive Edition doesn’t have. If I am right in that assessment, it seems a strange decision to make given the game is described as the Definitive edition.

Concrete boots or silk pillows?

Ultimately, with Mafia 2 Definitive Edition, 2K have done the bare minimum required and released it, which is disappointing. All eyes will be on the original Mafia at the end of August to see how that game fares with a new lick of paint.  Our fingers are collectively crossed and we’re all holding our breath. As the state of that Mafia will seal the fate of this so-called Definitive collection.

As things stand at the moment. If you’re a fan of the original, hoping for monumental changes in this remaster, expect to be sorely disappointed. I can’t recommend this package right now, especially given it’s incomplete until Mafia is released in August.