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Mafia II

Action video game by 2K Games for the Computer

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Bada bang bang pow! It's all over

  • Aug 27, 2010
I really got into the Sandbox game genre a few years ago with EA's The Godfather loving the open world, go anywhere and do anything nature of the game.  I loved the sequel even despite bad press.  Rockstar Games has made many and many great ones with Red Dead Redemption being they're number one effort.  Loving the western theme but longing for the return to the gangster world came Mafia II which spent a reported 3 years in development!  It's a pastiche of popular gangster movie ideas and trappings that feels fun as you immerse yourself in scenes that will remind you of Goodfellas or The Godfather but will make you wish for some more original ideas.

Your character Vito has come home from serving in World War II over in Italy as an alternative to serving a jail sentence when getting caught stealing with his friend Joe.  Joe arranges for fake papers drawn up so that your days of war are over.  Your mom doesn't want you involved with Joe but your sister Francesca tells you that your deadbeat dad owed money to loan sharks before he died and the deadline is coming up for the debt to be paid off.  Slowly but surely, Joe has you involved with more stealing and dirty dealings and gets you involved in the Mafia where you experience movies worth of ties like why you don't want to get involved in the drug trade, a time spent in prison, revenge and betrayal with all the high times and rock bottom lows involved.

The graphics are gorgeous with some real nice texturing for scummy factories and the art deco of the time in some houses.  The characters motion capturing is nice and the character models look good.  From skin tones showing nooks and crannys to even wood grains on rifle stocks this is a nice looking game.  Your cars at the body shops can even be painted any color you want from dark greens to cotton candy pinks, with even two tone cars being able to take advantage of this.  Speaking of skintones, your collectables in this game are Playboy centerfolds of the time showing skin so that Nudity rating on the box is valid.  They don't improve any statistic and collecting them is optional.

The music is sparse but good playing hard and dramatic when it needs to be and the radios in your car play some nice period pieces like "Baby it's Cold Outside" or "Why do Fools Fall in Love?" and "Rebel Rouser."  Your guns sounds go off like they should and sound like guns, the voice acting is great but the script over emphasizes swearing.  Replaying missions over and over again from dying will have you listen to those lines a lot.  The game doesn't have quite the grasp on irony that Rockstar games has with it's satire.  You will hear radio hosts talk about how smoking can lead to cancer is unfounded and guys talking about the wonderful invention of GASP a COLOR television with those boxes that can change channels from afar!!  That joke wasn't even funny when That 70's Show did it and it's not really that funny here either.

I do like that you get SOME versatility in the game but more is really desired.  You can steal cars and sell them to be crushed at the scrap yard or even bring cars to a dock to be shipped off.  You also can rob stores and during the robbery take all the food, beer, ammo or clothing you can as well as the money before cops show up.  The cops can pull you over and try and give you tickets or fine you for your more serious offenses.  You can cough up the greens or try and make the cops eat lead, but good luck with that since even with regenerating health, you will die A LOT in this game.  When you pull your gun, the gunsight doesn't "snap to" on targets in other similar games, it just improves aim.  "Spray and pray" works best in this game and make sure you take cover. 

Finding more people in the game to get jobs from would have been nice, like taking jobs cracking safes, hit jobs, running outfits like gambling, smuggling or prostitution and rubbing out people interfering in your business would have been nice for starters as far as what else they could have done.  Money you will usually spend on bullets or guns becomes second hand since you often end up having to reaquire your guns in missions when you don't have access to them from before making buying the guns pointless.

There is no online mode short of The Betrayal Of Jimmy available for download and the game is a weekend rental at the cost now of $60.  It's a solid weekend rental or better waiting for a lower price for purchase.  It's real short with about 15 parts of the game with missions with sneaking around, racing against time to all out gang warfare in some parts but it doesn't offer much as far as what you can do.  You can go back and play the game again on hard but the game is the same thing other then a higher challenge then the game already has.

In the end, Mafia II was a nice experince but one I was hoping would last a little longer and have more to do when you were done with the main story of the game.  It's one thing to make the game longer and it's another by making some missions so damn difficult that it stretches out the gameplay, that definetely includes driving to and from locations, you do a lot of driving in this game.  It was a blast while it lasted but if we see Mafia III, I hope that more goes into making the gameplay more fun and giving you more to do in the game.  It's one thing to recreate scenes from Mob games and immersing yourself in that, it's another to have more fun in the game.  Maybe Red Dead Redemption spoiled me, maybe Mafia II is chump change by comparison.
Bada bang bang pow! It's all over

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More Mafia II reviews
Quick Tip by . September 26, 2010
posted in The Gaming Hub
It's a blast while it lasts but once it's over, it's over Johnny. Getting guns, outrunning cops and hanging out with Joe is great though.
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2010
Decent enough mob themed game that offers plenty of shooting and some variety. Really needed some more meat on it's bones though.
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this video game


Born the son of a poor immigrant, Vito is a beaten down Italian American who is trying to secure his piece of the American Dream. Looking to escape the life of poverty that consumed his childhood, Vito is soon swayed by the lure of power and wealth that a life of Organized Crime can bring. A petty criminal his whole life, Vito, along with his childhood friend, Joe, will descend into the world of Organized Crime. Together, they will work to prove themselves to the Mob as they try to make their names on the streets of a cold and unforgiving city. Mafia 2 immerses you in the mob underworld of a fictitious late 1940's / early 1950's scenario. The game engages you in a cinematic Hollywood movie experience in a living, breathing city, fusing high-octane gunplay with white knuckle driving and an engaging narrative. The Collector's Edition features a collectible SteelBook Casing, access to the in-game downloadable Made Man Pack, an artbook, the Mafia II Orchestral Soundtrack and a map of Empire Bay.
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Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: Q4, 2010

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