Mafia: Definitive Edition is an interesting time capsule that not only lets players experience Tommy Angelo’s rise in an ersatz ‘30s-era Chicago dubbed Lost Heaven, but will likely inspire greater appreciation for how far the industry has come since 2002. Hangar 13 has rebuilt the nearly 20-year-old game, bringing the visuals up to contemporary standards and adding a few quality-of-life enhancements while ultimately respecting the original’s core design. It’s an admirable approach, but then you have to actually play the damned thing.
The early Mafia games used their open worlds differently than their competitors, with cities that aren’t really interactive playgrounds, but are more similar to film soundstages. You’re free to peel off from the next story beat and explore side streets and back roads, but don’t expect to find much in the way of optional activities or interesting secrets. Instead, the narrative relentlessly drives you forward, with the end of one chapter propelling you right into the start of the next. Need to catch your breath? Too bad! It’s an interesting approach, and one that I’d probably enjoy more if the story was more engaging. Unfortunately, Angelo’s tale is disjointed and boring, with time skips that undermine how you’re