Mafia II Review
Posted September 26, 2010 by Jallen (170)
No prizes for guessing what this game is about. Mafia II sees us take control of Vito Scarletta, a poor young man trying to make ends meet while the Second World War wages in the backdrop. Vito with his best buddy Joe choose a life of crime rather than a life of back-breaking slavery for those in charge. Wooed by opulence and depravity of the Mob it was a easy choice to make. One of the loading screen quotes says it best “I chose to become a criminal because I didn’t want to become a victim.”
As such we see Vito and Joe slowly climb their way up the criminal ladder (probably into somebody else’s window) gaining everything that the desire; money, fast cars, women, power, respect and fear from those backs they step on. Joe seems to get the better deal out of the life though; Vito (and the player) gets to see both sides of the spectrum at the start Vito gets caught and choosing to join the army rather than face time and later on in the game much more woe is to await our young protagonist.
The game itself looks to be the standard Sandbox affair, large city, lots of cars to steal and missions to get to…but looks can be deceiving. First off the city; Empire Bay itself looks rather impressive, early game has it set in a harsh winter mid 1940’s which has ancient cars dotted around the streets (I wish they made those types now) then it jumps 10 years to the mid 50’s in summer and everything is bright and vibrant. The war is over and people can start to enjoy the excess that we’ve enjoyed ever since, rock ‘n roll is on the radio and those stunning retro cars are the latest things. Shame then that the game doesn’t do a very good job at bringing this city to life. The opening segments of these sections show so much promise of a bustling city full of life with so much happening, car’s broken down on the sidewalk with a couple bickering, two guys begging a woman to get her husband out for a drink and a kindly old lady offering you a cup of coffee. After this though, the city is bland with nothing really to do.
There are a couple of shops to visit for clothes and weapons but there are barely any clothes and you’ll rarely need to purchase weapons as you’ll just pick them up from the fallen enemies and use their ammo for the convenience of it. There are two other jobs you can do, you can take cars to be scraped for money or you can find expensive cars and export them at the docks. Other than that you can rob stores or search the city for Playboy Magazines and Wanted Posters. That’s it, this massive city which has been carefully created and looks very good is just a completely flat backdrop for the story to unfold on.
Thankfully the story missions do make up for this, they’re generally very interesting and well designed. The standard mission will see you enter building and get involved in a shoot out. You do this using the games cover mechanics and you pop out from behind a wall and take shots at the guys peppering you with their Tommy Guns. The cover system works well and gun fights will cause real-time damage to the area you’re in. Bullet holes will riddle the walls, plaster with drop off, glasses will break and wooden crates with splinter revealing whoever is hiding behind it. All very satisfying and the gun sounds are realistic too just adding to the emersion.
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