Somewhere deep down inside this horrendous remaster is a game I once loved. Unfortunately, most of the time, it is hard to imagine the nostalgia of replaying one of 2010’s greatest games. Let’s be honest here, Mafia 3 was pretty mediocre from a gameplay point of view. When they announced the Mafia II: Definitive Edition I was looking forward to replaying one of the “better” games in the series. However, it has just been a trainwreck and Mafia II deserves more than this nonsense.
Mafia II: Definitive Edition fails on multiple levels right from the start. The game is a direct remaster of the original so expect the great characters and story to help boost you through this experience. However, while it tries hard to keep you engaged, its the shoddy performance issues and the sheer amount of bugs that make this game a chore. Vito Scaletta returns from World War II and finds himself in the middle of a criminal organization. To protect his family he promises to clear the streets and make a name for himself. Mafia II: Definitive Edition is a chunky game. It includes the original release and the three DLC packs along with it. However, you will probably last about half-way through the main game before giving up on it.
It is hard to think of Mafia II: Definitive Edition as a “Definitive Edition”. Unfortunately, it runs like a PS3 Emulator on a notebook. The remaster targets 30 frame-per-second at 4K but seldomly achieves this. The game constantly stutters and frame drops make it hard to see what you are doing. This is present in story sequence, combat and mostly while exploring the open world. During some moments, the frame dropped to below 10 practically freezing the game. It is just an unplayable mess most of the time. Not to mention the game feels dated. Combat is stiff, parkour is clunky and the overall experience feels like a game from 2010.
If these issues were present in rare cases, it would be okay. However, missions all take place in dense areas where the frames are unbearable. it affects combat, driving, parkour and even cinematics where you should be sitting back and taking in the great story. If you had to freeze the game and take a screenshot, it looks great. Assets hold up well and the overall environment looks decent. However, underneath that, is a game that should have never launched in its current state. 2K Games at their finest.
The entire experience is flawed and hard to digest. Getting through a mission was tedious as the cover system is clunky, the camera never works with you and shooting, beyond the stuttering, causes major eye strain. It is even more of a challenge when the scenes get busier. More enemies firing at you, care driving past and explosion cause even more havoc on the engine. Simply put, the game is hard to play.
Beyond the technical aspects, you really need to love the original game to find content in Mafia II: Definitive Edition. The story, while it holds up well still today, is drowned by an empty open world and very little action. This is no GTA V where you can fly a jet through the air and skydive into the ocean. Its a story set in a world and if you follow that story, you’ll love it. However, looking for something else to do and you may get bored very quickly. Unfortunately, Mafia III attempted to fix this by adding boring rinse-and-repeat gameplay objectives into the game and it was to its detriment.
Mafia II: Definitive Edition looked like a promising release when it was announced. To be able to go and replay the classic release on current hardware sounded great on paper. The tedious “teaser trailers” 2K Games released weeks before the announcement built up the hype. However, the final product is not worth your time and money at its current state. There’s a lot to fix here in terms of performance. Even after, the game’s dated world and gameplay may be an even harder pill to swallow.
This Mafia II: Definitive Edition Review was based on a code sent to us by 2K Games.
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 19 May 2020 | Price: R549