Mafia: Trilogy definitely had a rather unorthodox launch back in July. The “Trilogy” only contained 2 of the 3 titles that being Mafia 2: Definitive Edition and Mafia 3: Definitive Edition. Mafia 1 which was advertised as receiving the full makeover treatment was delayed until late September. However, if you were unaware of this delay and just purchased the digital download, you may have been surprised to see no mention of the delayed Mafia 1 other than the fact it was missing.
I find it odd 2K Games would still go forward with the release of a “Trilogy” collection with only 2 of the 3 titles. I also found it odd that at least on the PS4, there was no pre-order icon or any mention that Mafia 1 was in fact purchased and would be available for download at a later date. There is no unified menu for Mafia: Trilogy, so each game must be launched individually. Not having the unified menu made this feel like a bundle deal instead of a true collection package. As I will get into later in the review, every game in this collection includes all the additional DLC so this is absolutely the definitive collection for the franchise. I just wished the presentation reflected this fact.
Fortunately for 2K Games, the Mafia Trilogy does deliver as promised for all 3 titles. Each game received its own distinct set of enhancements. Mafia 3 is for the most part the exact same game released back in 2016, granted this build is completely patched. When this title launched it was plagued with a variety of gameplay issues. Thankfully over time, these issues were ironed out and some pretty cool DLC dropped to keep this game relevant in the minds of gamers.
You play as Lincoln Clay, a special forces Vietnam vet in the city of New Bordeaux in 1968 (fictional depiction of New Orleans). Lincoln meets up with his fellow adopted brother Ellis and the two head off to visit the man who raised them, Sammy Robinson. Sammy is also the leader of the black mob and fills Lincoln in on all the crime drama that has transpired while he was away. Sammy is in serious financial debt to another mob family and an over-the-top heist goes awry which puts Lincoln Clay back in Special Forces mode to inflict Rambo style justice.
Mafia 3 like 1 & 2 is a large open-world game but excludes all the obscure side missions and non-relevant activities one would find in a GTA title. You will spend a large majority of time driving around to various locations gathering Intel, building up your mob family, and quickly raising New Bordeaux’s body count.
In regards to the “Definitive” elements, this title includes all story based DLC which are Faster, Baby! Stones Unturned and Sign of the Times. Mafia 3 was already in 4K and running the latest game engine so it’s no surprise there were no changes in these areas. Solid gunplay mechanics and an immersive storyline make for a fun gaming experience. Also, remember these titles are in no way connected so feel free to play them in any order that you wish.
Mafia 2: Definitive Edition not only includes all story DLC, vehicles, and character outfits but it also received a graphical bump to 4K. The year is 1942 and the location is Empire Bay (a fictional depiction of New York City). You play as Vito Scaletta, a World War 2 soldier who is on temporary leave to resolve some family matters after the passing of his father. A childhood friend now works for one of the local mob families and is able to pull some strings to make Vito’s temporary leave permanent. Vito accepts the offer so he can stick around to help his mother and sister get out of financial debt thanks to Vito’s recently deceased father. Large sums of money don’t come easy or quick so Vito ends up working full-time for the mob and all hell breaks loose which spans 2 decades.
Personally, Mafia 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. The attention to detail in regards to the locations, music, and overall world design is mesmerizing. The game is a period piece and the only way to pull players in is if you truly feel like you are in that period and Mafia 2 delivers. The bump to 4K is the icing on the cake. The game is gorgeous but unfortunately, that’s all that was enhanced. The gunplay mechanics definitely feel dated and some minor annoyances such as the inability to blind fire from cover while enemies perform this action during every engagement are still infuriating. I’m surprised 2K Czech didn’t go the extra mile and implement Mafia 3’s updated gameplay mechanics or at least perform a little tweak here & there. Regardless, Mafia 2: Definitive Edition is great and to this day no game has come close to delivering the emotional stress & anxiety that overwhelms you during the intense prison shower brawl.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is truly the DEFINITIVE EDITION! Every aspect of this game has been reworked or completely overhauled. Let’s take a look at the checklist below:
- Implementation of Mafia 3’s gameplay engine
- All voice acting has been re-performed by new voice actors
- Updated script and cut scenes
- New character / NPC animations
- 4k graphical upgrade
- Implementation of a new driving navigation system in the form of street signs always located on the right side of the street pointing straight, left, right, and U-turn.
- The new environment lighting system
- Inclusion of motorcycles
- Upgrade to all environment sound effects
The above mentioned are just the KEY notable changes to Mafia 1. Honestly, it looks and feels like a completely different game that is wrapped around the original core story. The year is 1930 and you play as Thomas Angelo, a taxi driver in the city of Lost Heaven (a fictional depiction of Chicago). One night while cruising around for a fare, two mobsters jump in his cab to flee a rival mob attack which leads to a wild car chase that ultimately flips Thomas’ world upside down. With the recession and prohibition in full swing, Thomas shows no hesitation in joining the Salieri mob family.
Like Mafia 2 & 3, you will be doing a lot of driving which at times can be a challenge due to the vehicles available during that time period. However, the new street sign navigation system mitigates the need to constantly have an eye on the mini-map which could lead to car accidents or other traffic infractions. I pray this new navigation system becomes the new standard for all open-world games that rely heavily on driving. At times, I did come across some odd issues such as an objective not triggering or while on foot jumping over a ledge only to find myself stuck with no way to jump back into the correct game area. These issues in my play though were few and far between but worth mentioning.
What Mafia: Trilogy lacks in the overall packaging & presentation can be forgiven when seeing the amount of work done to Mafia 1 & 2. This is no quick cash grab of a collection. 2K Czech (now operating under the name Hangar 13) clearly love this franchise and went to great lengths to bring new life to some of the best mobster-themed games on the market.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Mafia: Trilogy for PlayStation 4 provided by Hangar 13 and 2K Games.