Mafia II Definitive Edition – Review

The first thing that I want to talk about is the story and after replaying the game again, the story still holds up and is still one of my favourites and is what got me into the Mafia franchise, and it is also why I can’t wait to play the first game as I never got chance to play it first time round.

Right from the start Mafia 2 pulls you in with the opening cut scene with Joe and Vito robbing a jewellery store and Joe managing to get away but Vito being caught by the police, it kind of sets the scene for how the rest of the game is going to pan out. This is what I love about games, when they can pull you in from the start and get you engrossed with the story from the off and this is definitely one of those games.

On the technical side of things Mafia 2 isn’t the best it has to be said, there are a lot of issues with different aspects of it such as frame rates and the AI going slightly loopy. The game feels good to play and driving around the city is nice when the game isn’t hasn’t a fit and stuttering. Another thing that did get to me a little bit on a technical stand point is the shooting of guns felt very erratic, I found myself spraying and praying a lot of the time when I was using automatic weapons.

It was like when aiming the gun, it had a mind of it’s own and I felt that I was shooting everywhere barring where I should be, which at the part where you have the MG gun and you just shoot everything in sight from the window, that kind of turned into a spray and pray session. I couldn’t keep the guns still long enough to get a decent shot with automatic weapons, I think this is why I preferred to use a pistol or shotgun, although there were missions where I did wish I had an automatic rifle, but I managed just fine with my pistol.

When possible as well I would always prefer the hand to hand combat, but even then this wasn’t perfect due to the dodgy AI, but it was very simple to work and easy to knock someone down, and this is sometimes how I prefer it to be done, straight forward. Hold A to defend, B to punch, and Y to hit a heavy blow. Can’t get anymore simple than that and I think it’s why I don’t get on with Brawlers like Smash Bros and Tekken.

I love the upgrades that they’ve done to the game, character models have had a spruce up, lighting and other textures have also been given a lick of paint and for a game that’s rocking 10 years old, it looks like it would be right at home this on this gen consoles. However, while there has been upgrades to the character models, this only seems to occur in the main character that you meet and play with. Other random background characters haven’t had the same love and care and if I’m honest they do stick out in the crowd.

There is a lot of good in the game, but there is also the things that aren’t so good. The first thing being is the AI, a lot of the time on missions when you’re meant to be following someone, the AI character(s) could go off on one and turn the wrong way down the stairs and walk into the wall, at which point they would turn around again and repeat what has just happened before finally heading down the stairs.

There were also times where the game would tell you to follow someone, but that character you’re meant to be following just stops dead and doesn’t move and it’s only when I’ve gone past, left them where they are and got to the mission marker that they just suddenly turn up, or if it meant going through a door, they would miraculously be there waiting outside saying ‘Come on Vito, we don’t have all day!’ – Er scuse me though, I left you guys back there!

Another instance in the dodgy AI is that there was one point I was robbing a jewellery store, police came and a roof top chase ensued. I found it weird at the time but only one cop showed up who I dealt with, Joe started moving a long a ledge and was saying to follow, but it wouldn’t let me following him, after about 5 minutes of going loopy I thought screw this and went back towards the door I just came from, only to find there were about 6 cops stuck on the stairs, all of which started shooting, I dealt with them, went back through the door to find more cops had spawned on the roof top where I was. Eerrrmm, what?

There was another thing that got annoying with Mafia 2 the further I got into the story and that was the frame rates dropping. At first, it wasn’t really noticeable and would only really happen when I was pulling up outside Joe’s apartment, but after a certain point in the game it started to get more and more frequent and at times would be quite offputting as I would be driving along and it would suddenly start to stutter.

I have to admit, as good as the game is story-wise, it’s technical side has been a massive let down. Drops in frame rates, unpredictable AI characters just not doing what they’re supposed to and sound issues have left a little bit of a sour taste.

I have enjoyed playing through the game again and look forward to playing the remake of Mafia 1, but I hope that the remake of the first game isn’t released in this state. If the issues are sorted with Mafia 2 I would highly recommend it, but in its current state I would hold back.

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