Mafia: Definitive Edition Review

"The Original Gangster"


September 29, 2020 at 8:43pm
By Jason Stettner

This is a complete remake of the original classic Mafia experience. It brings back the missions, design and scope of the title that started this franchise that has now had a definitive collection released. This completes the trilogy package, and does so in a largely spectacular way.

It looks gorgeous, plays well and brings in a compelling narrative about gangsters of an earlier time. This takes place throughout the 1930’s with time jumps. It’s told from the perspective of an interview, fabling the events that reach the particular point that things kick off at.

You’ll play as a regular cab driver named Tommy Angelo that ends up being thrust into the criminal underworld of Lost Heaven. It’s an interesting introduction as you get to progress within this family just as the character does. You get to see that perspective, and understand a bit about the good life that money can provide. It also doesn’t shy away from the darker moments, and just how bad things can get in this type of lifestyle.

With that, I felt they could have taken this opportunity to expand some aspects. Such as the clear romance that’s well done yet hiding in the background, or even expanding some minor narrative segments for a deeper impact.

Still, they brought back the original experience that some will remember while truly overhauling it. I will also note that this is a single player game, with each of the missions being enhanced for this package. You get everything from epic hits, to adrenaline filled racing moments or even a pile of getaways.

You begin to care for the cast, and that leads to a deeper meaning as tension starts to elevate overtime. It’s definitely an enticing time, and good fun along the way. There’s quite a balance of action, and sorrow too since you understand just what can happen within this type of life.

Aside from the campaign there’s also a sort of free ride mode that allows some travel with minor goals to work towards if you’d like. There are many collectibles to gather within the game as well, for those that like that aspect of a game.


It’s got a slower pacing to general movement, but speed when it’s needed during combat. There have been various improvements such as the refined cover system and it feels completely on brand with its successors. That being said, technically it’s far more impressive. It features a 4k resolution with HDR support being Xbox One X enhanced. It looks gorgeous, and performs fairly well. There are some minor bits of pop-in present, but for the most part you won’t notice it as you zip around in the open world.

An area that feels vast, while acting as more of a backdrop. It’s a very linear sort of setup despite having a free open world to explore. I think that’s really neat, that the city feels large yet is just part of your story and not a place that forces you to go on mindless extra exploration. There’s even the option to skip unnecessary driving sequences, which was awesome to have present.

It’s about offering streamlined ways to progress, and tweaking how you interact with this narrative which is great. Each area of the city looks gorgeous, from the open countryside to the ad filled downtown sections. It’s scenic, has day and night cycles along with weather too. It feels lively, and is filled with NPCs doing their own thing too. You can drive as a simulation, or just an arcade style. It’s things like that which help make this feel personalized and realistic if desired.

While most of the experience was very well done, I did face a couple little things that could have been polished more when it came to one or two moments where an important AI would freeze. I would hit the next checkpoint and it would run fine from there. I thought this was worth mentioning, as it was present yet not at all detrimental to the experience I had. Just little bits of clean-up could have brought near perfection to the release. Still, it was very well done overall and I’m thoroughly impressed by this upgrade to the title.
Mafia: Definitive Edition Review Xbox Wallpaper Screenshot

The Conclusion

Mafia: Definitive Edition is a great remake of the original game, bringing back that classic gameplay while greatly enhancing it for the modern era. I was really impressed by what this provided, from the story to the gorgeous environments you visit. It felt epic, had great pacing and so many intense moments.

It hits the beats of an old era gangster story, and translates it into a game format very well. It has some surprises, good twists and a number of wild action set pieces. It uses the open world landscape to its advantage, but keeps everything flowing well. It’s an epic sort of time, and definitely worth the play. It truly captures that era so well, and authentically.

It even has a free ride mode for extra content, and I think it just comes together well. This whole trilogy has been a blast of an experience to work through and I think this one ties this series together quite well. They all look proficiently similar from a technical stand point, with this one being a shining point of that.

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

Rating Overall: 9.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner