Posted August 27, 2020 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

Mafia: Definitive Edition Hands-On Preview

It was only a few months ago now that 2K was announcing Mafia: Trilogy, a new collection of updated versions of all the games released in the series so far. The amount of work done to each game was different, with Mafia III being updated to include the DLC for free, Mafia II receiving the remaster treatment in Mafia II: Definitive Edition, while the original Mafia is receiving a full remake in Mafia: Definitive Edition. Having never played the original Mafia, I jumped at the opportunity to get my hands on a preview build its latest incarnation.

Having grown used to smaller slices of games as preview builds, I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but what I got a sizeable chunk of the game that I could play at my leisure. Given it was still a pre-release build there were some kinks here and there, but even then the game ran well on my 1600X and 5700XT at 1440p and close to 60fps on the highest settings. This might’ve been an early build, but it definitely wasn’t a bad build, that’s for sure.

Overall, I played through roughly the first couple of hours of Mafia: Definitive Edition as part of the preview build, taking control of Tommy as he recounted how he first became involved with the Mafia. My time with the game was heavily steeped in story, as Tommy met various members of the Salieri Family. What immediately struck me was just how good those members look, especially when compared to the original game. Characters are incredibly detailed and have been faithfully recreated to still be reminiscent of their flat faced original selves. The facial animations are great, with faces portraying plenty of emotion, lending the writing and story a level of engagement and realism I didn’t get from the original.

Similarly, the game has seen a massive visual upgrade outside of its characters. The City of Lost Heaven has been faithfully recreated using modern rendering techniques, with the city, its occupants and its cars all looking like they belonged in today’s gaming landscape. Obviously, I didn’t get to see the entire game, but through my time with the preview build it’s apparent that Mafia: Definitive Edition is a much more comprehensive facelift than Mafia II: Definitive Edition received. While I didn’t have access to the Free Ride (free roam) mode as part of this preview, I’m looking forward to being able to simply drive around and explore the city to discover its sights.

With the preview build overing the first five or so missions of the game, I was able to engage with just a good number of the controls that you can expect from the full game. Driving didn’t necessarily feel amazing, with the physics of the cars in the game feeling overly twitchy to slight movements left and right, but it wasn’t terrible either. Combat felt a bit better, with the more responsive gunplay specifically feeling like an improvement when compared to Mafia II: Definitive Edition. General movement felt great as well, with it feeling responsive and completely lacking in an sluggishness.

In the grand scheme of things, a few hours can only tell you so much about a game, but the first few hours of Mafia: Definitive Edition I got to play as part of this preview definitely have me interested in playing more of the game. It’s clear that there’s a sizeable upgrade on the original experience here and I can’t wait to see how that shakes out across the rest of the game. If you’re a fan of open worlds or crime games, I’d suggest keeping an eye on this as we move closer to release.

Mafia: Definitive Edition releases on September 25th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. For more information, check out the official website.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.