Published on August 26th, 2010 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Mafia II Review
You are Vito Scaletta. A young Italian who came from a broken home, who’s dad was a drunk and uprooted his family from Italy to Empire City (also known to us as New York City). Vito’s long time childhood friend Joe, ends up getting Vito into some hot trouble with the law and when facing a prison sentence for breaking and entering, the draft Vito into the United States Military to fight in World War II. This is where you will gain control of Vito for the first time in the game. The centralized story is about a war hero who decides that a life of living in the slums and working for $10 a day is not worth it, but a life of crime and quick cash is. Much like your typical gangster/mob films.
Empire City, as a whole, is beautiful. The environments are very well done and capture that 1940’s feel of New York City. The game opens in the month of December and you are overcome with the sheer authenticity of the environments, and yes Christmas tunes are playing in your cars as you drive. The attention to detail seems to be very impressive, and you can tell that the creative team working on the world, took a step back and looked at old photographs, and even older movies in order to capture the era. I was playing this and it felt a little like “The Saboteur” in a way. I’ll get to the characters here in a minute but just in sheer environments, the two felt very similar. They both capture the feel of the 1940’s era and the city. I felt myself really enjoying this world of New York City more than say “The Godfather Game”, or sadly enough “Godfather 2”.
The characters and story are the absolute best qualities about this game. It has always been a rare occurrence that I would continue playing, in some really repetitive driving missions just to get to the next cinematic. I found myself very much attached to Vito’s character. He wasn’t your typical protagonist. He had a troubled background that some people can relate to and every time he tries to make something right, something ends up ruining it. Throughout the entire game, it seemed that every mission that him and Joe were sent out on, got screwed up somehow, some way. You can feel his emotions he has about his mother and sister, who get into some trouble from the very beginning with owing $2,000 to a personal loan, for his fathers debts and if you are interested — get url. This is the driving force into his whole involvement with the “Mafia”. The voice acting is top notch as well. You can have a awsome story and horrible voice action, and could throw off the entire game. This had the perfect blend of Cinematics, narrative, and the acting to go along with it. The acting seemed almost like I was watching “Goodfellas”, but in a video game format.
The game seems to loose a bit of it’s thunder when it comes to the game mechanics. For starters, the map is very large, but there is no side missions for Vito to embark on, due to the very linear narrative that has only one mission at a single time, and that one mission is a game chapter that progresses the story forward. You don’t play racketeering missions, extortion missions or theft missions, it all story based action. Don’t get me wrong the game has a wide variety of mission types that you will play, from stealth, Guns blazing, car chases and lots of executions, but nothing to branch off of. To call this game a sandbox kind of game seems to be a bit inaccurate. The cover system was not very good either. It seemed almost like the cover system that Kane and Lynch used, that I happen to play a few weeks prior. Shooting is much better than the previous Mafia game, as the auto aim system works very well. If your cross hairs are close enough to someone, then you can zoom using your L2 button (or LT) and the cross hairs will auto lock onto that closest target, and oh yes headshots are very easy to pull off. Pretty basic to most sandbox 3rd person shooters.
Mafia II is a very fun game, especially if you are a fan of this genre. Do not go into this with the hope that there will be a lot of missions for Vito and his henchmen to embark in, because there just isn’t any. But traveling from mission to mission is a sight to see. Yes there is a lot of driving and it can get a little mundane but as lavish as the environment is, it never seemed to bother me. This has a perfect blend of story and pacing that I seemed to have gotten very hooked on. I for one am a sucker for mob/gangster films. This game providedthat to me and told a compelling story that kept me playing for hours on end. I will not spoil the ending for anyone, but after chapter 10, the story gets pretty intense and emotional. This was the perfect summer game and could not have come out at a better time. I fear that if it came out in the fall it would have been lost in the shuffle and very few people would have the opportunity to play it. This is one game to experience and enjoy what it truly had to offer. Just don’t look for a ton of variety.
+ Engrossing story line
+ strong visuals
+ impressive voice acting and interesting characters
+ Big open world to drive around in
+ captures that 50’s feel
– No extra side missions
– Repeating the long drives
– Driving is a bit clunky
– Not so perfect cover system
+/- Typical 3rd person shooting mechanics