Mafia Definitive Edition: Excellent Example Of Remake Done Right

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Story Highlights
  • Mafia: Definitive Edition sets a benchmark for publishers looking to remake old games.
  • Despite its shortcomings, the game delivers graphics, story, and character development that make it a joy to experience.
  • Other studios should also take inspiration from Hangar 13’s remake.

The original Mafia game, released in 2002, was revolutionary for its time. It did almost everything perfectly, from the graphics to the storytelling and the gameplay. Two decades later, many parts of the game still hold up. 

Hangar 13 later released a remake titled Mafia: Definitive Edition in 2020. Apart from the remake, remastered versions of the rest of the trilogy were also released. However, Mafia: Definitive Edition was the real deal as it was built from the ground up for a modern audience.

While some may still prefer the original, I find myself enjoying the remake more. The original game, as great as it was 22 years ago, feels outdated by today’s standards.

Why it matters: The remake allowed modern audiences to experience the thrilling narrative of Mafia. It also ensured the next game, currently in development, would reach a wider audience.

Mafia: Definitive Edition
Tommy Angelo Stars As The Lead In Mafia: Definitive Edition

Major Overhaul to The Graphics And Gameplay

When a game is remade, the first thing developers focus on is matching the visuals of modern releases. So was the case with Mafia: Definitive Edition. Because it was built from scratch, the game’s visuals are excellent and hold up well four years later.

The biggest leap in graphics came in the form of real-time software-based global illumination. This technology enables significant upgrades to the lighting in each scene, replicating the lifelike nature of light rays bouncing across different objects.

Meanwhile, the character models looked stunning, the cars were full of small details, and the overall setting was gorgeous. This overhaul meant that nostalgics like me instantly fell in love with the Definitive Edition.

Mafia: Definitive Edition
Mafia: Definitive Edition Rarely Fails To Impress

More Fleshed-Out Characters And Improved Storylines

The story and characters of the original Mafia are very nostalgic. However, if you revisit the game today, you’ll feel that some story elements and character arcs seem quite bland. At times, certain missions don’t even link to the main story and can feel disconnected.

This changed with the Definitive Edition. The characters were more fleshed out and felt lifelike. The same was the case with the story since everything felt a lot more connected, improving the narrative depth of the experience.

Still, there are things that the original did better. For example, when Tommy’s car gets wrecked in the original, he is very hesitant to join the mafia. This feels more appropriate for his character arc.

However, he joins the mafia without much hesitation in the remake. Ultimately, the story comes down to personal preference. While many prefer the original, I enjoyed the remake’s rendition of this twisted tale of comradery, betrayal, and family.

Mafia Original vs. Remake Comparison

Mafia: Definitive Edition Is How You Do A Remake 

The popularity of remakes is soaring these days, with companies increasing their focus on them. We are soon getting remakes of The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Splinter Cell, etc.

The developers working on them should be inspired by Resident Evil 4 Remake and Mafia: Definitive Edition. Remakes should be more than simple graphical upgrades, and these examples prove that various changes can be made to the gameplay and narrative without harming the original identity.

Ubisoft seems to understand this concept since it is updating the story of Splinter Cell for the remake.

With Mafia 4 unlikely to arrive soon, I hope to see a potential remake for Mafia 2. This game was simply remastered, so it could have benefited from a similar overhaul.

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