Mafia: Definitive Edition – impressive tech that sets the stage for next-gen

October 1, 2020
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With the arrival of Mafia Definitive Edition, the trilogy is finally complete. All three games are brought up-to-date to modern consoles but ironically, it’s the first Mafia title that features the most advanced technology of all – including a fascinating software-based alternative to ray traced reflections.

It’s a feature that’s common to all console versions, where the technological differences are fairly minimal – and almost par for the course. Curiously, both PS4 Pro and Xbox One X operate at a native 1440p resolution, though the Microsoft platform enjoys improved shadow quality, ambient occlusion and a better lock on the target 30 frames per second. It’s business as usual on PS4 and Xbox One with a 1080p/900p divide, and all versions use temporal anti-aliasing – which does present some banding issues. As is often the case, there’s the sense that the vanilla Xbox One has the most visual compromises: I immediately noticed some issues with dithering on hair and other fine detailing. Traffic draw in the big city is impressively close all round.

In motion, checkerboard artefacts – or something that presents like that at least – are seen on all systems. Thankfully, they are difficult to catch. Beyond that, there’s little to separate the systems – all operate with a 30fps cap, and all run with full v-sync, with the exception of the base PS4, which exhibits screen-tear when the game can’t sustain its target performance. Expect to see Xbox One X at the top of the pile here, with a very consistent frame-rate with PS4 Pro following up next, though dips to the mid-20s can be observed. Looking to the base machines, the experience is clearly not as stable. Most of the experience unfolds at 30fps but inevitably these are more prone to drops and with noticeable stutter on camera cuts – something that flares up in the very first mission. Both of the vanilla consoles are in the same ballpark in this sense; the drops are just as extreme on both. The exception, of course, is base PS4 has screen tear that doesn’t feature on any other platform.

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