Often cited as the brainchild of uninspired and unimaginative developers, HD remasters and remakes are a cost-effective way to re-establish a fanbase of a once beloved franchise that comes at the cost of originality.
The Uncharted Nathan Drake collection, for example, while a great way for those new to PlayStation to experience the stunning flagship franchise, was littered with performance issues that put off older fans from experiencing the trilogy again on PS4. The collection was enough to bring new fans to the series, but other than removing online multiplayer it did nothing to change the core games released years prior.
There are scores of similar such examples, but Hangar 13's return to the supremely underrated first Mafia title was a remake done right. The harsh streets of Lost Heaven simply never looked better, and the total overhaul of core components like voice acting, visuals, presentation and sound design have put to shame the endless list of half-assed HD remasters that plague current - and last - generation systems.
The title has gone largely overlooked as we enter 2021, but the high bar it sets for all future remakes is not to be ignored.
10. New Voice Acting
The 2020 remake polishes the familiar tale in a number of ways, but the complete audio overhaul has perhaps been the most significant alteration. An entirely reworked script is wonderfully brought back to life by a plethora of all-new and constantly impressive voice actors.
Scores of tense story sequences that litter the main narrative are elevated by such performances, each standing out more than the next. Jeremy Luke's high-pitched, Joe Pesci-esque tones perfectly fit the character of Paulie, an opportunistic and fiercely loyal companion who takes up much of the script, and Andrew Bongiorno breathes much-needed new life into the protagonist, Tommy Angelo.
Mafia: Definitive Edition is undoubtedly a AA title, and as such there are limitations to what can be expected. There are plenty of 2020 titles that surge past this in a number of disciplines, but the new voice acting spares no expenses. It's certainly in line with big budget releases, often surpassing them in quality.