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Mafia 2: Definitive Edition PS4 review – mob rule



Mafia 2: Definitive Edition – an offer you may want to refuse (pic: 2K)

2K’s period mobster tale gets newly remastered graphics, but does the gameplay and the story still stand up today?

After numerous ratings board leaks and the announcement of a remastered trilogy, Mafia 2 has arrived on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC with a graphical overhaul. But is this decade old crime drama worth doing time for?

Originally launched in 2010, Mafia 2 tells the story of Vito Scaletta. A Sicilian immigrant bought to the United States with his family before being enlisted in World War 2, he returns from the conflict and slips into mob life in 1940s (and later 1950s) Empire Bay – a fictional analogue for New York City.

If you’ve watched any type of gangster cinema, you’ll know what comes next but Mafia 2’s original voice work and commitment to its time period set it apart from the rank and file of mob stories. Vito is likeable, and while his best friend Joe is a bit of a loose cannon, you can’t help but feel compelled to follow him into situations that will only inevitably get worse. It’s the usual rise and fall story, but it’s told well enough that it’s difficult to take umbrage with its novelty.

The script often feels like it’s trying too hard though, with mob slang thrown into as many sentences as possible during some exchanges. The performances thankfully stop things from feeling too much like a mafia thesaurus but knowing that the Mafia 1 remake will feature revised dialogue, it’s a shame the same isn’t true here.

While the city itself felt devoid of life and colour back in 2010, today it feels much closer to a metropolis bustling with activity. Pedestrians are more plentiful and new lighting makes every vehicle feel that little bit more tangible. Shops have more detail in the windows and while these may seem like small changes, when viewed in 4K it can often feel like watching old documentary footage.

That’s not to say that the graphical overhaul masks the game’s age entirely. There’s still some texture pop-in, while other surfaces feel untouched from the 2010 version. It’s also worth pointing out that if you’re expecting ‘GTA in the forties and fifties’, you’re likely to come away disappointed. While Vito can roam much of Empire Bay at any given point in the game’s story, there aren’t a great deal of side quests or added content found on the city’s streets.

Cut scenes pose their own visual challenges. While the new textures and lighting make faces look more lifelike, much of their animation has remained untouched. For scenes where two characters are talking that doesn’t make any real difference, but in instances where characters physically interact, like a hug or throwing a punch, Mafia 2 tends to show its age.

There are also some gameplay idiosyncrasies that come from remastering a 10-year old game. Shooting feels solid, if unspectacular, lacking the kind of feedback you will have come to expect when pulling the trigger, although every weapon feels distinct whether you’re using a handgun or a classic Tommy Gun. While the game’s cover system maintains the Gears Of War template of ‘push X to get into cover’, being unable to pull down on the left stick to leave cover feels surprisingly jarring today.

Mafia 2: Definitive Edition – the exterior graphics polish up nicely (pic: 2K)

To the game’s credit, every mission feels like its own self-contained episode of a drama series. The set pieces remain as exhilarating today as they did a decade ago, with bullets sending concrete and scenery flying, and car chases through the streets feeling just as exciting as they ever did (although the handling is far from ideal, perhaps owing to the vehicles of the time more than anything).

There are robberies to take part in, thugs to rough up, and a wonderful mission that sees Vito and Joe disguise themselves as window cleaners.

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Mafia 2’s main story will take you around a dozen hours, but the Definitive Edition also includes three expansion packs. While The Betrayal Of Jimmy and Jimmy’s Vendetta switch things to a more arcade, challenge-based setup, that feels tonally out of sync with everything else, Joe’s Adventures help fill in Vito’s buddy’s story and is well worth playing through once you’ve finished the campaign.

If you’ve already played Mafia 2 in the past there’s relatively little to bring you back now except nostalgia. But the story still stands up today, whether you know what’s coming or not, and the gut punch of an ending remains well worth experiencing.

Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Price: £24.99
Publisher: 2K
Developer: Hangar 13
Release Date: 19th May 2020
Age Rating: 18

By Lloyd Coombes

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Games news

PS5 reveal event is next week claims insider



DualSense – will we see what the console looks like next week? (pic: Sony)

We could be just seven days away from the long-awaited PlayStation 5 reveal, as Sony prepares another State Of Play tonight.

It’s been a week or so since we’ve heard anything new about Sony’s big reveal event for the PlayStation 5, when the date was last suggested as Friday, 5 June.

Even then it was admitted that Sony’s plans keep changing, and now a new Bloomberg report has claimed that Wednesday, 3 June is set to be the big day.

If that is true we’re certainly not getting much official warning about it, but the number of respected sources suggesting that the reveal is going to be early June does seem to be mounting.

The report is by former Kotaku journalist Jason Schreier, who notes that, ‘Other PlayStation 5 events may follow in the coming weeks and months and Sony is not expected to reveal every essential detail on the console during its first presentation’.

That’s not much to go on, but it’s certainly true that during the initial reveal of the PlayStation 4 the actual console wasn’t shown and the focus was purely on the games, which at this point we think most people would be perfectly happy with.

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Sony does have another State Of Play showcase planned for tonight at 9pm, but it’s going to focus purely on The Last of Us Part 2, to the point where Sony has already warned they won’t be saying anything about the PlayStation 5.

The release of The Last of Us Part 2 next month, and Ghost Of Tsushima in July, does make things slightly awkward for Sony, as both are major exclusives that they’ll want to devote all their energies to promoting.

There’s also the fact that both are extremely good-looking games and Sony will need to ensure there’s a clear improvement from them to whatever they show for the PlayStation 5.

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Formula One

Formula E driver Daniel Abt got gamer to cheat in esports race for him



That is kind of suspicious… (pic: YouTube)

A prominent Formula E driver has been dropped by his team and forced to pay money to charity after he was caught cheating online.

There is no Formula 1 at the moment, or any of its related sports, but like many people drivers have found they can work from home, in this case by playing video games.

German Formula E (for electrically powered cars) driver Daniel Abt was supposed to be playing simulation rFactor 2 but fellow competitor, and former Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne became suspicious when Abt turned off his camera.

As Vandoorne suspected, it turned out Abt wasn’t playing the game at all and instead it was a professional gamer named Lorenz Horzing who was doing it for him.

Abt has been disqualified from the competition and told to pay £8,900 to charity. He’s also been suspended by his team at Audi Sport, which according to website The Race will be permanent.

‘I did not take it as seriously as I should have,’ said Abt in a statement.

‘I am especially sorry about this because I know how much work has gone into this project on the part of the Formula E organisation. I am aware that my offence has a bitter aftertaste but it was never meant with any bad intention.’

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Up till now Abt has been a major figure in Formula E, winning two races in the 2018 season and enjoying a lucrative contract with Audi.

‘Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules are top priorities for Audi – this applies to all activities the brand is involved in without exception’, said the company in a statement.

‘For this reason, Audi Sport has decided to suspend Daniel Abt with immediate effect.’

The irony is that Horzing/Abt didn’t even win anyway, coming in third behind Vandoorne and Britain’s Oliver Rowland.

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Games news

Young Sherlock Holmes to star in new PS5 and Xbox Series X game



A new Sherlock Holmes game has been announced will see you play as slightly younger version of the character.

The next Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes film isn’t due until next year, but fans of the detective can now also look forward to a brand-new game.

Titled Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, the game is being developed by Frogwares, which has been making video games based on the character since 2002, with its last one being 2016’s Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter.

This new title, which will release on both modern and next-gen systems, will star a much younger Holmes, and shows how he becomes the legendary detective we all know him as.

Details are relatively scarce, but the game’s PC listing reveals a number of key features.

The game will be set on an island in the Mediterranean rather than the usual city of London, which you can explore to uncover clues in order to solve the myriad of mysteries Holmes will no doubt be faced with.

The listing seems to suggest that there might be some elements of choice that can change the outcome of scenarios, as it reads ‘It’s up to you to decide whether uncovering the truth will do more harm than good—and how that will shape the man you’ll become.’

It also teases combat, saying that you’ll be able to use the environment itself to defeat enemies and you can ‘Spot enemy vulnerabilities with your brilliant observation skills.’

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Perhaps most interesting of all is the inclusion of a character named Jon. It’s explicitly stated that he’s not the John Watson usually associated with Holmes, and he’s described as Holmes’ ‘best and only friend.’

Given that he seems to suddenly disappear and reappear throughout the announcement trailer, we suspect that he might not be real at all and only exists in Holmes’ head.

Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One will launch in 2021 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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