Mafia II: Definitive Edition Review

"Like a Film"


June 21, 2020 at 11:13pm
By Jason Stettner

This is a standalone story that follows two parts of an individual’s gangster life. As Vito Scaletta you work alongside your buddy Joe. It’s a decades spanning narrative that goes from the 1940’s to the 50’s set within Empire Bay, New York. It’s basically a mobster movie in the format of a game. You hit those high class beats, and do so wonderfully. It opens with a military focused tutorial where you get to see just where this combative attitude comes from for Vito.

From there it’s slowly working your way through the local Mafia group and even dealing with some locked away problems during this journey. It’s really interesting as it hits those almost cliché moments, but does so wonderfully. It’s an open world experience, yet at the same time really comes across as a linear game. The open world sandbox is more of a backdrop to create what feels like a lively space, and that works very well for what this is.

That’s not to say there aren’t a couple of stores you can visit, it’s just a sparse in side activities to do sort of open world title. This is a narrative driven single player game, so keep that in mind as well. It features some really interesting moments, some that are calmer than expected which was nice. It’s basically the life of a criminal within a gangster situation of the era, it’s a great time piece actually. This does also come with all of the DLC content that released for the game as well, a nice addition for those that want more.


The game looks really good within this definitive offering. The visuals are gorgeous, as is the HDR implantation. It’s great looking, and very authentic to the era that it’s aiming to capture. There’s also a really beautiful shift in presentation. It starts with a lovely winter atmosphere featuring classic tunes to match, and then becomes a sprawling beautiful spring sort of environment. This happens as time shifts, and it’s really neat to see that change-up. It has really dynamic, and interesting characters as well.

That being said, there are problems present here. It has some audio issues in regards to how they’re synced and some other numerous small bugs that take away from the experience. It’s also very much still a game from its time, and it seems somewhat smaller in scale due to this. I will note that it’s fascinating in how it deals with the open world style of play.

You’ll need to repair vehicles, get gas in them too and even watch your speed limits as not to gather the attention of the cops. That’s really neat, and entirely different from other similar games. The combat does feel fairly basic at this point in time, and strangely this carries a rather difficult edge to it. You drop down fast, and you’re given limited options for how you move along within the environment. This is another factor in that linear style of play that I had mentioned prior for this one.
Mafia II: Definitive Edition Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

Mafia II: Definitive Edition feels like an aged title of an earlier gaming generation, while almost perfectly capturing the feel of a mobster movie. It’s impressive in terms of the narrative it presents, and the cool style that it provides. It has some technical issues that do hold things back, and the audio problems are really disappointing. I thought that it looked visually impressive and I really enjoyed the dynamics of the characters at play.

It was a very different sort of game, and most certainly an enjoyable one. It has some heart to it, while hitting the beats of key gangster films. It’s neat, as those moments feel like they’re from a movie, and translate well into a gaming space. It has some humor, lots of action and many intense segments to it. It does a great job in making something that feels authentic to the period, while also not holding back on the graphic language or content from that point in history.

It has a stellar soundtrack that matches the season you’re dealing with, and this is generally solid. It has an aged world, older mechanics and yet this is still something I’d suggest checking out. It’s interesting, and is packed with all the DLC content that released for it after its initial release so many years prior.

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Mafia II: Definitive Edition Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by 2k Games

Rating Overall: 7.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner