Mafia: Definitive Edition DEALS
Playing Mafia: Definitive Edition is like rereading an old classic of literature, due to the simple way in which you slip into the shoes of Tommy Angelo to experience one of the events that, even almost twenty years later, remains one of the most fascinating in the history of video games.
The Lost Heaven of Hangar 13 is a magnificent reinterpretation of the American city of the ’30s conceived by Illusion Softworks in 2002. It transforms a very valuable soundstage into a dense and full-bodied diorama of an era sordid and magnetic.
The work carried out in the city is powerful. Together with many small precautions, it performs exactly the function that is expected from a philologically very faithful remake: to align the memory of the original work with its own a concrete and current version, succeeding in the magic of evoking the same sensations in those who relive the experience, and to tell, instead, to those who have never lived it before, the past in its best possible version.
For those unfamiliar with Mafia: City of the Lost Heaven is a third-person adventure that tells the rise and fall in the Salieri clan of Tommy Angelo. A young Italian-American taxi driver who first becomes the gallop of one of Little Italy’s most influential bosses, then one of the most important picciotti in Don’s service.
Life as a criminal, despite the covert, a corrupt, and promiscuous climate of Prohibition America, is not easy, and Tommy’s life soon becomes closely tied to that of the Salieri clan. It is engulfed in a whirlwind of blood and terror that is completely upsetting the young boy’s existence.
Among the Mafia’s peculiar characteristics, there is certainly its narrative structure: the story unfolds for eight years, but it is told ex-post by Tommy, in a confession to detective Norman, representing the last chance save his family. The protagonist’s euphoric and chronological story was a superfine solution to preserve a linear and cinematic game structure within an open world that could not be complex and full of interaction possibilities like those of today.
Eighteen years later, and thanks to the extremely faithful work of Hangar 13, that structure that at the time seemed revolutionary and, in hindsight, we archived as intelligent, today is paradoxically fresh, especially in light of the Lost Heaven renovation. The city fills the screen, acts as a silent witness, and completes the gaps of an environmental narrative that is not at the level of some modern open worlds but still vividly conveys a credible context. However, the story’s linearity cuts the open world with such elegance and power that one never feels the lack of exploration and free-roaming (yet available in a separate mode).
Mafia’s beauty is to indulge in the story, chapter after chapter, follow Tommy’s confession, and perceive the entire narrative’s change in tone. The city in which we run, drive, and in a sense, live, become more and more familiar, but never discovers its matrix. It remains a fascinating entity, a sober house that remains in the background and, therefore, jealously guards its charm.
Mafia: Definitive Edition reminds us how it is possible to combine open world and cinematic storytelling in an essential way of preserving a delicate and effective balance. After 18 years, the lesson of Illusion Softworks is still potent and very current, and the 15 hours of Mafia campaign, restored by Hangar 13, always maintain a substantially perfect pace of play.
Although Mafia: Definitive Edition is a reliable and obsequious operation of the original in all respects. Hangar 13 has not only restored the city theater of the confrontation between the Salieri clan and the Morello clan and redone the makeup of the entire technical sector of the game but worked on multiple levels to modernize the experience.
From the narrative point of view, for example, the story has become less didactic. In some cases, the rhythm has been deliberately lightened from the gameplay’s point of view, reducing the number of moments in which you ended up shuttling from the point. A to point B in a somewhat mechanical way. Similarly, the action sequences in some cases have been rethought to take advantage of certainly more complex level design and, in general, the relationship between the driving sessions and those of exploration and action on foot is more balanced.
Even the story has undergone slight changes in the characters’ intentions and characterization, emphasizing a little more the dramatic and human side of the story, underlining the contrasted and contradictory soul of criminal life rather than the purely organizational and factual life the picciotti. These are not radical changes, but rather a recalibration of narrative tones, accompanied by a brand new dubbing and much more expressive dialogues. Among other things, the Italian adaptation is truly splendid, both by intention and by choice of voices. It is one of those cases in which our language, also given the context, provides a much more colorful and exciting representation to each other.
From this point of view, the only slightly out of tune element is that the work done on the characters’ expressiveness works very well in the interlude scenes. The faces support the acting, but much less well in the sequences within the game. Instead, the naturalness of speech collides with a cumbersome and general inexpressiveness of polygonal models.
The theme of the contrast between the most cinematic moments and the most played sequences is recurring throughout the remake and is its only real flaw. If exploring Lost Heaven and following Tommy Angelo in his stories, it is easy to be captivated by the buildings’ beauty. The care of the furnishings, the clothes, and the quality of the atmospheric effects and volumetric lights, there are many elements that, from time to time, they inevitably remind us that we are playing a structurally old title.
This, despite Hangar 13, has substantially grafted the gameplay and gunplay of Mafia 3 within the remake. An intelligent and successful solution in the clashes’ dynamics is always scenographically impeccable and fun enough to play. But which has not managed to solve all the criticalities.
The artificial intelligence of the enemies is widely revisable, even at more incredible difficulty. Simultaneously, the stealth and hand-to-hand combat system are faithful to the original to be trivially old and not very physical. Finally, just as with the dialogues, the animations are not always refined even during the action sequences. There is a slight feeling of intricacy that is typical of the “good old days.”
This heaviness disappears during the chases, which instead convince a lot, thanks to a driving model (clearly simplistic) that tastes for the heaviness of the ’30s vehicles all in all pleasant. Sure, some cars look more like boats than vehicles on wheels, but for example, the car race’s whole mission is a blast from start to finish.
The small uncertainties that dot the entire game, on the whole, do not in the least affect the charm of the original work or the validity of the restoration operation. Still, we must not face Mafia: Definitive Edition with the idea of playing an entirely new title that incorporates the original. Instead, we must imagine it as the best possible version of a title conceived and created in 2002.
Fidelity to the original work is undoubtedly the most incredible value and, at the same time, the greatest limitation of the work of Hangar 13.
Mafia: Definitive Edition gives us back a classic in its best version, which does not forget its origins and brings us back to live fantastic atmospheres, underlined by a direction that at the time was a school and which still today when it is blatantly mentioned by Hangar 13, reminds us why the original has become a cult title. If the meaning of a remake is to enhance the founding values of work to allow everyone to appreciate them even today, the Californian studio has succeeded in its intent, despite some naivety.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is a faithful, intelligent, and aesthetically pleasing remake of a cult game, which, 18 years after the original release, is still brilliant from the storytelling, the design of an open world, and the atmosphere. Paradoxically, despite being the aspect on which Hangar 13 worked the most and the graphics, grafting part of the Mafia 3 gameplay into the remake was not wholly successful. From the purely playful experience, the weight of an outdated structure feels a bit too much. Despite this, it is an excellent opportunity to live (or relive) one of the most intense and satisfying adventures in video games’ history in its best possible version.
Mafia: Definitive Edition
Hangar 13, with a faithful remake, reminds us why Mafia has become a cult game.
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