Originally released back in 2010 for last-gen (PS3, Xbox 360) consoles, 2K Games has re-released Mafia 2 as part of the Mafia Trilogy, and has called it the “Definitive Edition.” Now, the question is, does this mafia go for the kill, or does it run out of bullets? Read on for our Mafia 2 Definitive Edition review.
Feeling Like a Goodfella
The story of Mafia 2 isn’t particularly an original tale. You play as Vito Scaletta; a soldier returning home from World War 2 who quickly needs to pay the hefty family debt his father got after Vito went to war. Vito eventually finds himself in the crime organization, slowly building his rank to a made man. There’s plenty of action and drama, along with well-liked characters to help the flow of the story. If you’ve seen films like The Godfather or Goodfellas, then you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into as the game is heavily influenced by them, if not a direct rip in some scenes. While that may not excite some, personally I loved watching it unfold as it didn’t feel as if it was a parody of some sort. Characters are developed and are easily likable to be invested in. By the end of the game, I couldn’t help but feel sad knowing the characters fates despite the ambiguous ending. It is at its heart, a gangster story, even if it’s one you’ve most likely seen already.
In terms of pacing, despite being a decently sized open-world game, it’s told in a rather linear format. Missions are handed out one at a time, are grouped into chapters for story progression. As for the side missions, well they’re basically non-existent. Outside of collectibles, you’ll find traversing the world to be rather dull and boring if you aren’t in a mission. Obviously an issue with the original release and not one we would have expected to be fixed with this one, but for new players who never played it before just keep that in mind. Even still, the story is extremely enjoyable and makes it well worth a revisit (at some point), especially when the story DLC is included. There’s never a missed beat of action in Mafia 2 when it comes to the campaign, and the pacing ensures that everything remains flowing. This, unfortunately, is where most of my recommendation ends for the Definite version.
The Not-So-Definitive Experience
By no means was Mafia 2 a technical powerhouse when it released back in 2010. In fact, it was far from it and was plagued with issues then, especially with the PS3 version being significantly downgraded compared to other versions. That being said, the Definite version definitely looks sharper and cleaner, but that’s about the extent of enhancements. Interiors all look super nice and could pass off as something from current-gen (PS4, XB1), but the open-world hasn’t aged well at all. Many of the textures aren’t as sharp as one would hope, and the pop-ins are annoyingly bad. You can take one small step to see it in action and then step back and watch everything fade away. An issue that was persistent in the last-gen version, which sadly didn’t get corrected.
Running this off the PlayStation 4 Pro, the framerate is damn near unbearable at times. While the targeting frame-rate is 30fps, Mafia 2 on the PS4 Pro rarely sees that and is constantly dipping well into the single digits. Looking at the other versions, this seems to be an issue mostly isolated to the PS4 Pro, so hopefully, that means a patch is in the works to make it on par with the other platforms. Other bugs (presented in other versions) such as falling through the map, characters missing animations, crashes, and odd lighting effects are still very much present in this rerelease, a missed opportunity to fine-tune. A rather frustrating chapter 14 bug also returns, prompting us to redo the mission four times in order to not trigger it during our playthrough. It’s a very sad state for a re-release of a title to offer nothing but a mere resolution boost, which hardly makes it a definite experience.
As for the gameplay, it’s the exact same as it was 10 years back. No surprise there seeing that this is a rerelease and shouldn’t impact the title negatively, but again for those who didn’t play it just know that it’s stiff with some pretty basic cover elements. It has some hand-to-hand fighting, but it’s pointless outside of the scripted fight moments that are scattered through the campaign. Very passable, though the era setting does help with the overall clunkiness.
Mafia 2 hasn’t exactly aged that well, with the remastering doing very little to improve that. While the story is as compelling and entertaining the first time we played it back in 2010, everything else the game has to offer makes this one tough sell. Too many bugs, graphical issues, and performance issues all get in the way of what could have been an excellent experience. It comes off as a poor, quick port of the original, which is mostly the case and serves as a gap filler until the full remake of the first game is released. At a $30 price tag I would say hold off until more patches get issued, that is if there are any, or until a decent sale price happens. It’s by no means a terrible game, just not ideal when it comes to remastered work.
- Fun and engaging story
- All DLC packaged
- Horrible frame-rate on the PS4 Pro
- Very buggy, game-breaking progression glitch still present
- Graphical issues
- Freezes and crashes
A review copy of Mafia 2 Definitive Edition was provided by the publisher. Reviewed on PS4. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.