Mafia II Definitive Edition is a remaster of the classic that came out 10 years ago from 2K Czech. The re-master is being handled by Hanger 13, a studio working under 2K’s banner. While this is a review of the PS4 version it has also been released on other platforms and it’s worth noting that if you own the original on PC then you can upgrade to the Definitive edition completely free.
Along with Mafia II, 2K is releasing a Definitive edition of Mafia III which again if you’re lucky enough to already own, the upgrade is completely free. To round off the trilogy, 2K will be releasing a ground-up remake of the original Mafia game which is due out in August. Now we have all that out of the way, let’s see how well this re-master has been ‘made’.
As this is a re-release of a 10-year-old game, I won’t go into too much detail on the story as I’m sure 95% of you have probably already played it or at the very least heard about it. Mafia II tells the story of Vito Scaletta and his need to do right by his family at any cost, leading him into a life of crime more dangerous than the war he left behind.
As someone that was a huge fan of this game when it came out back on PS3, it pains me to say that the remaster should be locked in a box and sent to sleep with the fishes. Why is that? Because as much as I know that the game I loved is in there somewhere, it’s hidden beneath bugs and issues that no remaster done in 2020 should have to suffer.
According to the listing, this is supposed to be an Ultra HD Remaster, this does mean 4K right? Well, I’d hate to see how it looks in 4K because even running at 1080p I experienced frame drops and slowdown so bad that I had to just quit playing completely and restart the game. I know technically that’s a graphics point and I will come back to it a little later but feel it has to be mentioned here as well because it literally destroys the gameplay.
As we knew we were getting a remaster and not a remake I can forgive things like the combat mechanics and camera angles being outdated, in truth a little part of me even enjoys it as nostalgia. But, when you combine that with AI bugs and in some cases AI enemies literally spawning out of nowhere around you it can become tiresome.
In other situations I had the complete opposite, such as the jewellery store heist, when you escape to the rooftop, I had to reload that 3 times as I couldn’t trigger the cut scene because the police officers (who were supposed to chase you onto the roof) got stuck in the stairwell. I tried to get a screen capture of this but with the old camera angles, I had to go into the stairwell to see them, and the moment I tried it was instant death like I was under fire from an army.
This for me is unforgivable in a re-master of a game that for many people was a classic last-gen title. All the ingredients were there for it to have been one of the best of the year, especially with all the additional DLC content thrown in to round out the story.
I’ve already mentioned above how damaging the frame rate is, while i didn’t play the game on a PS4 Pro, a few of my friends have and they all concur the same findings, the game barely meets 30 FPS and in large portions of the game, it’s running in the teens. This is horrible but it does show that its a problem with the game and not that the original PS4 ‘can’t handle it’ which is an excuse I’ve seen before.
After going through the whole of the main story other than a few of the main character models having an uplift I have struggled to see any huge differences if you look at a number of the background characters you could mistake them as being from Minecraft and just on holiday.
Nothing has really changed here from the original. However, something unusual that I noticed while playing wearing headphones was that the audio seemed to be one-sided. Almost like it was in mono rather than stereo, this seemed odd as it was only when using headphones.
The main game generally takes somewhere in the region of 10 hours to finish, but this can be padded out if you hunt down all the collectables. On top of that in the definitive edition, the DLC set has been included which collectively is roughly around the same length as the main story.
In terms of replayability in truth it probably isn’t going to be a game you play many times in a short space of time, although if they do patch the bugs it would most definitely be a game to revisit as the mood takes you.
Mafia II Definitive Edition could have should have been another one of the titles that had people buzzing around how well it was done and the memories it brought back from when people first experienced it. Unfortunately, because of the issues that plague the title throughout its has only achieved part of that. People are talking about Mafia II but only in as much as to say avoid it and don’t play it.
While writing this review there have been talks that a patch is coming to fix these issues and I truly hope this happens before too much damage is done. The game itself and the franchise as a whole deserve it. As the game is at the time of writing I feel I can only give one award and that is the Broken award. I will most definitely be keeping an eye out for the fix and pray that I can revise this decision at a later date!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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