Here’s What I Think After Playing The Mafia Franchise in 2024

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Story Highlight
  • The Mafia franchise shines with its period-accurate universe and absorbing storytelling.
  • The Definitive Editions of the first two entries significantly improve the visuals and controls.
  • Despite the recent remasters, the gameplay in older titles feels outdated, and the missions in Mafia 3 can become repetitive.

The Mafia franchise had been in my backlog of video games for a while now. I know the franchise is quite popular, but I never really found myself diving into it until recently.

After completing Horizon Forbidden West on PC last month, I revisited my backlog and discovered I still hadn’t played Mafia. That’s when I finally downloaded all three entries from the franchise.

With its remastered editions and a reputation for gripping storytelling, I figured it was time to see what all the hype was about. What I discovered was a world full of atmosphere, interesting characters, and a compelling narrative.

Although not without flaws, the franchise delivers a one-of-a-kind gaming adventure.

Why it matters: If you like crime stories, historical settings, or character-driven narratives, the Mafia franchise is absolutely worth exploring.

Mafia: Definitive Edition in 2024
Tommy Angelo makes Mafia: Definitive Edition so much more fun to play. | Image Via Tech4Gamers

The Good: Masterclass in World-Building and Storytelling

One of the most striking aspects of the series is its commitment to period authenticity. From the get-go, the Mafia games whisked me away to fascinating worlds filled with atmosphere.

Whether it’s the 1930s Lost Heaven of the first entry, the post-war Empire Bay of the sequel, or the 1960s New Bordeaux of the latest title, every location feels alive. The attention to detail in the environments, the vehicles, the fashion, and even the music transported me to another era.

The series stands out because it offers more than just action-packed adventures. They’re gripping stories about loyalty, betrayal, family, and the American Dream. Mafia: Definitive Edition is a cinematic experience with a well-written narrative centered around a taxi driver-turned-mobster.

Mafia 2’s narrative revolves around a character transitioning from war hero to mobster, navigating moral ambiguity. Mafia 3’s focus on racial issues and revenge-driven story add compelling and sometimes uncomfortable depth.

The main characters, Tommy, Vito, and Lincoln, aren’t perfect. They make tough choices, sometimes doing bad things for a better future. Their journeys are often violent and emotional but always interesting and thought-provoking.

The supporting cast is equally well-developed, with memorable characters like Paulie, Sam, Joe, and Cassandra adding depth to the narratives. The voice acting is consistently superb, and the Italian American accent is just chef’s kiss.

Mafia 2 Definitive Edition in 2024
Mafia 2 shines in the first part due to an exciting story and missions I won’t forget. | Image via Tech4Gamers

The Bad: Aging and Repetitive Gameplay

Although the games were recently remastered, I still noticed the aging gameplay, which can be a bit of a mixed bag.

The Definitive Editions have ironed out some issues, but things like driving and combat can still feel awkward, particularly in the older titles. Mafia 3 tried to freshen things up with mixed results. The cover-based shooting and stealth are solid, but the missions can get repetitive after a while.

Moreover, I feel like the narrative sometimes lacks the depth it needs to excel. Mafia 2 starts strong, with an appealing story and memorable missions. However, it loses steam in the second half, and the open world of Empire Bay doesn’t get as much attention as the story missions.

The gameplay feels updated in the third game, as it focuses on open-world features and side missions. However, sometimes, doing the same tasks over and over can detract from the fun, which is why it received mixed reviews.

Mafia 3 in 2024
Mafia 3 aimed high with its story and didn’t shy away from portraying racial tensions.

The Verdict: A Franchise Worth Exploring

Playing the franchise in 2024, it’s clear that these games hold up remarkably well in terms of narrative and atmosphere. The Mafia I and II Definitive Editions have revitalized these timeless gems.

Better graphics, smoother gameplay, and extra content make them a must-try for anyone interested in mobster stories. The upgraded visuals are also welcome, bringing the vibrant worlds to life and escalating the experience.

The franchise stands out for its strong storytelling in today’s gaming world, where massive open-world titles are everywhere. Its ability to tell absorbing stories in rich historical settings is a lesson that other developers could take note of.

The games aren’t flawless, and there’s room to improve them, especially with how the gameplay and mission types work. But overall, the series has more good points than bad.

Being new to the IP, I’m eager to see what’s next. According to recent reports, Mafia 4 is expected to be revealed very soon. I’m hoping the new title will bring in fresh ideas and really shake up the series.

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