Men who aren’t afraid to kill for some extra dollars in their pocket, men whose mobster families mean more to them than their own. Whilst 2K Czech recreates a stunningly believable 1940s/50s war-torn America, it can tend to sink itself too far into the mafia stereotype, risking the game’s story in the process.
Mafia II GamePlay
You play as Vito Scaletta. After being sent home from the war because of a bullet wound, Vito gets slowly caught up in some dodgy deals and risky escapades to earn enough money to pay off a family debt. Things quickly escalate from small car thefts to contracts to kill and Vito is thrown into a whirlwind of pinstripe suits and rimmed hats.
Mafia II starts off better than it ends. There are some sweet beginning missions, such as sneaking into a government building, or robbing from a jewellery store. Both of which don’t exactly go to plan. But as you get slowly introduced to more and more characters, it’s hard to keep track of everyone’s allegiances. The game does not focus on one main antagonist and this causes Mafia to lose its sense of direction near the end of the game.
Mafia II is better at dealing with single mission-based plots than a wide storyline. You don’t keep playing Mafia II to advance the main story. Instead you do it to find out what crazy mischief you and your mobster buddies will get up to next. Having to bury a ‘stiff’ in the dead of night with two totally wasted friends who couldn’t care less is just too funny.
The few characters that do stick out, Joe Barbaro (your humorous, brash and to-the-point side-kick) and Henry Tomasino (a straight-talking, blunt and reliable co-mobster) inject some much needed humour and character into the game. The voice acting is stellar, and by the end, you’ll have that mafioso Sicilian-American accent ingrained in your head.
The third-person action is nothing spectacular, and the cover mechanics, although reliable, don’t allow for much variety in gameplay. Whilst Mafia does have its exciting fight scenes and memorable missions, this is all counterweighted by the long drives home after a day’s work and sometimes mundane tasks which makes the game seem a little diluted.
Game optimization in Mafia 2
What’s more, the game doesn’t run as smoothly as it should, with a few bugs and frame-rate drops. I have had the game crash on a few occasions during the 10 hours of playing it.
Mafia does pinpoint its time in history with a sharpened dart. You will spend the first section of the game in the winter wonderland of 1940’s Empire Bay, based loosely on the cities of New York, San Francisco, Chicago and others. It’s great hearing war propaganda messages over the radio about rationing food, or the conversation between two guards about how good this new fangled TV is. Mafia II achieves the aim of making the world seem real and believable. However, it feels like a game tethered to the plot. Away from that, there isn’t much to do. Sure you can start a bloody rampage, but that gets old quick. This means once you finish the storyline, there isn’t much to attract you back to Liberty City.
Thankfully though, this ‘Director’s Cut’ edition comes with all of the additional DLC, consisting of The Betrayal of Jimmy, Jimmy’s Vendetta and Joe’s Adventures. These packages certainly aren’t as cinematic as the main campaign, but add a lot of content onto the initial game.
Mafia II is definitely worth getting if you’re looking for a rough-and-tumble mobster adventure lined with bloody betrayals and frantic car chases. Although the gameplay is nothing special and the plot is not going to compete with The Godfather, it’s still a gratifying foray into the ugly life of the Thompson-wielding mafia.
Publisher: Feral Interactive
Description: Third-Person Open World Shooter set in 1940′s/50′s America
Pros: Immersive and believable world, some great characters, extremely fun in parts.
Cons: Over-arching storyline loses direction, a little buggy, gameplay isn’t revolutionary and feels padded out.