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Mafia II Review
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Finally the day is here and Mafia II has been released for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Ever since I saw my first glimpse of this game back in August 2008 I was hooked. To say that I am excited about this game is a gross understatement. I would like to point out I was not a fan of the first Mafia game, which was also developed by 2K Czech, formerly known as Illusion Software. The first Mafia just really didn’t live up to a lot of peoples expectations. And competing against a little game known as Grand Theft Auto III kind of set the bar pretty high. But now here we are in 2010 and 2K is releasing another game around the same time as quite possibly the greatest open world third-person shooter of all time, Red Dead Redemption. Let’s all find out together if Mafia II delivers the goods.

Mafia II takes place in the same location as the original game, Empire Bay. The city itself draws a lot of comparison from New York and San Francisco. Empire Bay has grown significantly since the last game, ten square miles to be exact. And you will have plenty of time to see all of the sites and sounds of the city during the games fairly frequent driving missions. In fact, driving is probably what you will spend most of your time doing. Even doing small things like going to bed can take you on a ten minute cross city journey just to catch some zzz’s.

img 18741 mafia2 Mafia II Review

In Mafia II you play as Vito Scaletta, a young Italian-American immigrant who has just returned home from the Second World War. Vito may have returned home a hero, but joining the Army was anything less than voluntary. After being picked up for a petty crime Vito is thrust into World War 2 Sicily, 1943. Soon after the game starts you are returning home and visiting with old friends and seeing your family again for the first time in years. It’s these interactions between the characters that really set up how you feel about this main character and everything that is to follow during the rise and fall of an American gangster.

The gameplay in Mafia II is extremely tight. With over 50 cars in the game, each one has its own unique feel and style. The big cars feel very heavy and sometimes choosing the right vehicle for a mission is essential. For a timed mission you may want to go with something a bit quicker, while if you expect to be chased by other vehicles and will be getting banged around a bit, a heavier one might be a wiser decision. The combat also feels great too. Ducking in and out of cover in fast paced shootouts and rinsing enemies through light cover with a Tommy gun feels very satisfying.

When it comes to the story, Mafia II is rich with it. Taking queues from such films as The Godfather and Goodfellas, the comparisons are undeniable. But that isn’t to say that this game isn’t original because it is. The story is engrossing and you find yourself going through the missions just wanting to see the next cut scene so you can find out what is happening with this epic character.

Open up and say AHHHHHHH PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME!!

Other than the main story there isn’t that much to do in Empire Bay. This is possibly one of the games only drawbacks. There aren’t any stranger missions or bounty’s that need hunting in this game. The story is extremely linear, and in a way that I haven’t seen before in an open world game. While there may only be a few reasons to return to Empire Bay after the credits roll, like achievement/collectible hunting, this shouldn’t make you question whether or not the game is worth your money.

The visuals in this game are frequently, jaw dropingly good. With era specific vehicles and architecture that looks and feels very authentic, there is no doubt 2K went all out with the games engine. While driving around in snowy weather, you will even begin to notice snow piling up on the car.

If there was anything wrong with the way this game looked, it would have been saved by the amazingly atmospheric sounds. Especially the music. From the moment Vito steps out of Joe Barbaro’s car, and begins walking through the snow to his mothers house with Dean Martin’s “Let It Snow” playing I was hooked. I could have ran, but I didn’t. I wanted to walk like a real person would and soak in every bit the ambient sites and sounds Empire Bay had to offer.

In the end Mafia II is such an impressive package and an act of such effective mood that it never impeded my desire to see what happens next. Audacious in its design and story choices, Mafia II shows new possibilities in the medium and merits interest by anyone wanting an adult change of pace.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
Mafia II Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
  • https://?u=kiffar kiffar

    That was quick haha. I’ve only played the demo and loved it; I’m a sucker for Mafia stories.

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