The Mafia Trilogy compilation opens with Mafia 2: Ultimate Edition, a remastering of the classic from the now-defunct 2K Czech of 2010. In it, we live the story of Vito Scaletta, a young Sicilian who has lived most of his life in Empire Bay, a free recreation of New York, believing that he was going to live the dream American … but ended up immersed in a gangster nightmare.
Mafia 2, like the original, did not take long to become a cult classic. In a genre like the open world, he knew how to approach his game proposal differently, for better or for worse, and not be a clone of Grand Theft Auto. A very cinematic thriller, in which the large stage is a narrative vehicle more than the playground of other sandboxes. It is the story that generally guides what they want you to see, where they want you to go, and how much you are going to explore from each block.
In this sense, the setting of the original is intact. It is the period from the end of the Second World War to the 1950s, the golden age of the Sicilian mafia. Vito Scaletta is an immigrant, offering another face of the one who, despite his roots, lived longer in his life in the USA than in Italy. During a military leave, in a non-voluntary service, but actually got out of jail with these “community services”, he discovers that the family owes a lot of money to the wrong person. And it will be there when getting that “easy money” costs more than previously thought and ends up being a spiral of crimes and threats.
The development of Mafia 2, for a story that can reach 18-20 hours, is quite well structured from a narrative point of view. Joe Barbaro, Vito’s best friend, will already be a mafia initiate when Scaletta returns home. It is he who frees his friend from returning to the front, but there begins one of the First lessons of the game: favors are paid. With the best of intentions, the duo will begin to take care of small criminal tasks (theft of vehicles, threats, the disappearance of bodies, etc.), which will gradually gain in intensity, giving way to sections of shootouts where, despite being pretty scripted, the game shows its best cards.
As we said before, Mafia 2, and it is also applicable to this Definitive Edition, presents an incredible representation of the Big Apple (with certain touches of San Francisco or Chicago, let it be said) that we can certainly feel somewhat wasted. We can visit the interiors of many commercial premises or take a walk through its streets, but there is certainly not much more to do in them than go from point A to point B. It is worth remembering in case you are going to be brand new in one of The best representations of gangsters in video games, but you expect something else.
Likewise, not only is observing the scenarios a joy, but there is a great psychological portrait of the pros and cons of this rapid escalation within the criminal hierarchy. Vito’s family character and concern for his mother and sister (what really pushes this criminal life), in a very patriarchal attitude as the new head of the family, is contrasted with the contempt for human life that he transfers to the hands of the player as if it really was going to be a moral dilemma to end other suits wearing a Tommy Gun. It will not cause remorse, but certainly both Vito and Joe are very well written characters with hardly any connection, even if their criminal lives are light years away from us.
In fact, the game has many references that end up being tributes of this genre that attracts so much. It won’t be hard to see Similarities to The Godfather, Scarface, A History of the Bronx, or The Sopranos. It is a pure delight for fans of this type of subject, an adult, controversial work (the game begins apologizing for the cultural gap that may exist when presenting the work as it was conceived and being able to present sensitive content and themes) and extensively detailed for those who intend to have a cultural experience that stalls and is not simple entertainment.
The gunplay though he really wants to try to simulate the behavior of the weapons of the time, certainly heavy. In fact, one of the improvements that could have been made at this level would be a configuration of controls a little more adjusted to the new times, where an action as frequent as reloading could be done with the square button / X if we choose to use a controller instead of a keyboard. Third-person action video games have evolved outrageously in this decade of difference and some effort to time the product would not have hurt.
Just the opposite effect is achieved with vehicles. Driving from point to point will continue to be the action that we repeat in a higher percentage during the game, so the control has to be comfortable enough for the player while trying to reflect the behavior of the time. In this sense, 10 years later we can still enjoy driving classic vehicles, especially in those missions that really push us to the limit, making time and speed come together in time trial tasks. In addition, we can examine these cars in greater splendor in the “Cochepedia” included, for those who want to admire the models presented by the remastering.
Entering to really value the game as a remaster, we have to stop at the graphic part, which is the only aspect that has really been worked on. It must be understood that we are facing a remastering and therefore it continues to inherit certain aspects of the original that are somewhat out of date, such as certain animations. However, we will find a great finish in some new aspects such as garment textures, snow, a longer drawing distance, a color correction that generally improves the original (there are scenes that cause the opposite effect, eye), etc. All this in 4K resolution and constant 60fps in our test on PC.
Referring to music in the past, there were some rights problems that led to the removal of the original from some digital stores, so now it presents a soundtrack that tries to avoid those problems. In this sense, if we do not begin to assess each topic of the original one by one, we will hardly notice a difference, since the immersion of genres such as jazz or rock of the time, which also change as the chapters advance and the years in the game, remain intact. Something similar happens with the dubbing. As the original included a great cast of Spanish voices that it is intact is the best news we can have.
The pack also includes the three main DLCs that were released (in addition to a good variety of cosmetic elements that will grow the more “Definitive Editions” of Mafia we have): Jimmy’s Vendetta, Betrayal of Jimmy and Joe’s Adventure. It is appreciated that the complete pack is included, because perhaps there will be more players who did not have the opportunity in their day, but they are not the best downloadable content, of course. Those starring Jimmy introduce us to a guy they call when they need to finish a job, in a series of commissions that do not go much beyond the classic mercenary.
Much better it turns out Joe’s Adventure, in which we control Vito’s friend and connect directly with the gaps in the main story, knowing what happened in years when Vito was not available or visiting places that we did not originally visit. At the time there was a certain decrease in quality by not presenting, for example, the same level of cinematics as the base game, and this “Definitive Edition” will certainly not be the one that equates the main title level and DLCs.
Mafia 2: Definitive Edition manages to hold the 10-year gap between the original release and the remastering. Its structural errors as a wasted open-world game are still there, although they are offset by something that tends to age better, such as the gangster narrative that attracts so much. It was a pleasant surprise to get back into the skin of Vito Scaletta and continue his climb to the well-written criminal summit. Unfortunately, their shootings have not convinced us so much. Third-person action games have evolved a lot in these 10 years.