When Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven was released in 2002, it placed a lot of importance on realism, leading to some unapologetically challenging sections of gameplay. Mafia: Definitive Edition will launch with multiple difficulty settings as well as options to change individual features like aim assist, vehicle handling, and police response—but if your inclination is to crank everything up for maximum old-school challenge, you need look no further than Classic Difficulty.
Classic Difficulty doesn't make the game unreasonably difficult, but it incorporates a number of features that evoke the original Mafia and encourage you to play differently. "Looking back at the original game today, it is incredibly challenging," notes Hangar 13 Senior Systems Designer Prakash Choraria. "With Classic Difficulty, we wanted to deliver something that is still an accomplishment to overcome, while smoothing over some of the bumps that could otherwise feel frustrating. Taking the race in the Fair Play mission as an example, the goal across all of Mafia: Definitive Edition's difficulty settings was to make it a little easier than the original, as many players got stuck and were unable to beat it. On Classic, the race is still pretty tough, but is conquerable with patience and practice."
Away from the racetrack, you'll find that playing on Classic Difficulty is more demanding anytime you're behind the wheel of a car or riding one of the newly added motorcycles. The driving assists available on other difficulty settings are weaker or disabled completely in some cases, and while GPS navigation will still be available on the minimap, you won't see any in-world navigation signs popping up on street corners and such to show you the way. Missed your turn and contemplating a dangerous maneuver to get back on track towards your destination? Be warned that Classic Difficulty cops are far less forgiving of such infractions than their counterparts on other difficulty settings.
As Choraria explains: "When playing on Medium difficulty, the police will generally ignore crimes where no one gets hurt. If you run a red light or hit a stationary vehicle, they’ll turn a blind eye, but aim a gun at a pedestrian and they’ll want to have a word. On Classic, however, no offense is too small. Drive even a little over the speed limit and you’ll need to pull over and pay a fine to stop the situation from escalating." Neglect to pull over and you'll find that Lost Heaven PD officers are unrelenting in their pursuit and will resort to setting up roadblocks just as they did in the original game. Encountering a roadblock while fleeing from the police doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stop, of course, but you should know that on Classic Difficulty your vehicles aren't as durable as on other difficulty settings.
When you're on foot, hopefully not as a result of your vehicle sustaining too much damage, Classic Difficulty enemies are ready to punish your every misstep. Compared to their counterparts on other difficulty settings, they're more aggressive, deal more damage, and are better at avoiding your attacks. Oh, and they won't show up on your minimap, so while looking for opportunities to emerge from cover and shoot you also need to keep an eye out for anyone trying to flank your position.
Pay close attention to your ammo too, because on Classic Difficulty—just as in the original game—reloading your gun means you forfeit any bullets left in the clip. "If you reload that Tommy gun with 38 bullets left in the clip," explains Choraria, "you’ll lose all of them." The melee combat system that incorporates takedowns as well as weapons like bats and knives affords you some new options to deal with enemies in certain situations. But any damage you sustain in a fight will be harder to recover from because, on Classic Difficulty, first aid kits restore less health, and your health will only regenerate automatically up to 20%.
Classic Difficulty will undoubtedly be the most challenging way to play Mafia: Definitive Edition, but while it's true to the 2002 version of Mafia where things like ammo management and police responses are concerned, that doesn't mean that it will be as punishing as some of the original game's missions could be. You have the option to swap to and from Classic Difficulty at any time during the game, but if you want to unlock the Achievement or Trophy for completing Tommy Angelo's story on Classic Difficulty, you'll need to stick with it from the outset. We hope that you'll enjoy giving Classic Difficulty a try when Mafia: Definitive Edition releases on September 25—just don't say we didn't warn you if the going gets tough.