I’m fuming. It’s 1933 prohibition-era America. For the past hour, I’ve been trying to secure my shipment of booze from Canada, but an ambush by Border Patrol has led to a shootout in a barn. My gang and I get a lucky break, flee in the shipment truck and a police chase ensues.
I’ve taken out the cop cars and motorbikes easily enough, but this last stage is what’s making me want to throw my hands up and ‘rage quit’.
I’m firing rounds at an armoured truck to shoot out its gun turret. The problem is, at the exact same point in the road every time, my truck gets destroyed and I have to restart the checkpoint.
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I was really, really enjoying Mafia: Definitive Edition until this point. But after about 20 attempts to shoot out the turret, I’m not having fun anymore. In my frustration, I turn to the online community to see if it’s not my incompetence but a bug in the game. It’s not the latter, but I find solace in the fact that pretty much everyone on social media is experiencing the same pain.
“I shot at the turret, hit every single shot (miraculously) up until it killed me within 20 seconds.
Has anybody got past this?” writes one Redditor.
“The most annoying mission in Mafia: Definitive Edition,” writes another.
Others aren’t quite so eloquent: “Whoever play-tested and greenlighted the turret section in “a trip to the Country” in the Mafia 1 remake, go f**k yourself.”
Per the advice of a few Reddit comments, I reluctantly turn down the difficulty to easy mode, restart the entire chapter and vow never to speak of this mission again.
I can safely say this is the only thing I didn’t like about Mafia: Definitive Edition. Rather than remastering the original game from 2002, developers Hangar 13 opted for a from-the-ground-up remake. New voice actors, improved gameplay and really beautiful graphics. The fictional city of Lost Haven is gorgeous, especially at night and even more so in the rain. The way the neon lights of bounce off puddles on the road make for glorious visuals, so be sure to pause for a moment to take it all in.
It’s by no means perfect. The artificial intelligence of the NPCs (non-player characters) can be a little wacky at times, traffic particularly, and the pedestrians haven’t been given any dialogue so they converse with each other in silence, mouths moving with nothing coming out. But these details are insignificant in an overwhelmingly positive experience.
The story, while not extraordinary in the mobster genre, is solid and well-performed. You play as Tommy Angelo, a taxi driver who is seduced by the world of organised crime but becomes conflicted as his boss, Don Salieri, assigns him increasingly violent jobs. Over 20 chapters, the story is told in flashbacks as an older Tommy spills secrets to an FBI agent in exchange for his wife and daughter’s safety.
The 2002 game was “incredibly challenging”, Prakash Choraria, the senior systems designer noted, so Classic difficulty mode is an ode to that. It’s how this game should be played, too.
You’ll die. A lot. Get shot just a few times and you’ll be drained of most of your health. Reload your gun before you need to and you’ll forfeit any bullets left in the clip. And the cars? Historically accurate, you might say. These vehicles do not handle well, especially on wet roads.
But like many games from the early naughts, you’ll improve each time you restart a checkpoint. You’ll gain a little better understanding of the enemies you’re facing, the layout of the location, and opportunities for major carnage – shooting an explosive barrel at just the right moment can eliminate multiple foes at once.
It won’t always be pretty, but Mafia: Definitive Edition will be one of the more satisfying games you’ll play this year. And that turret mission? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Sophie Goulopoulos is a freelance writer and avid gamer | @Sophieglps