Review: Mafia II
The word "mafia" roughly translated from Sicilian means "swagger" or "boldness". It is a term given to the organization by the press, with mafiosos having many different ways of referring to their gang structure and hierarchy.
- Worth The Time?Yes, when you're killing lots of people.
- Things LovedThe Old Cars, Dialogue, Action, Acting, Emotions, Destructible Objects, the Mafia experience, Playboy Posters
- Things HatedStoryline, Slow Down of the Game, Boring Scenes, Frustrating Inability to Move and free-roam, Police
- RecommendationIf you played the original Mafia, you'd want to give this a shot. But on the other hand, it's not exactly the longest game and there are no side-missions to participate in alongside the main objective. So if you're looking for a full on sandbox, this isn't it. It does, however, have missions which you can finish any way you like.
- Name: Mafia II
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: None
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: 2K Czech
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Price: R350 (PC), R700 (PS3, Xbox 360)
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
What would you define as ‘living the dream?’ Some would say attractive girls, wealth and exotic supercars. To others it’s a family with children, a house by the sea/mountain and loads of laughs and smiles. But what about gun fights, power, respect and Italian accents? Well, from what I understand, that’s the Mafia.
In the Mafia power is limited to the point where various families run different parts of a certain city, and no member may kill another member without explicit permission. You might argue that loyalty is important, but it’s almost negligible as you’re one mistake–or phone call–from death, thus leaving loyalty at the bottom of the seabed with concrete feet.
In essence, Mafia II captures all of these points above. 2K Games’ Mafia II is based on increasing your rank for extra money, wherein achieving this you’ll be exploited by doing someone else’s dirty work.
In Mafia II you play as a man named Vito Scaletti. Vito was only a boy when he moved to America with his family, and after an unfortunate chain of events he ended up working for the Mafia in an attempt to earn extra ‘dough’.
Because the storyline is simple and easy to understand, you might feel that you won’t be submerged into a world of organised crime. And that’s where you’re wrong. Instead of using a complex story, 2K Czech enhanced the simplicity on in-depth characters and real life emotions.
That being said, Mafia II offers character interaction through acting. By using acting as the carrying effect for emotion you’re being submerged into a game where you’ll either love or hate the situation you are dealing with.
Empire City, the city where all of this takes place. Basically it’s a bundle of potential limited by the inability to free-roam and do your own thing. It’s a place filled with shops, and happy people. And not so happy people who will in-turn be happy to fight, if you want.
Strangely enough, with the limited ability to free-roam you’ll find that there is also no need to visit features included in the game. Like a shop, for instance.
In fact, the only time you ever go to the shop is for strange, or police-related, reasons. Almost every mission you participate in will offer loads of guns and loads of ammunition – eliminating the need to purchase fire-power.
Mafia II offers a great amount of detail, and this includes cars. Some fast, some slow, some odd and some not so odd — but nonetheless, they are all enjoyable.
Furthermore, Empire City is place where action is never amiss, and danger lurks on every street corner. There’s plenty to do and plenty to hear about on the radio.
Arguably Mafia II could be divided into two parts: Not-So-Mafia and Very-Mafia. What I mean is: In one half of the game you’re roaming around doing strange things trying to join the Mafia, before something drastic happens. Without spoiling the storyline, there’s a point in the game where things become tremendously boring, leaving you completely limited.
You should know that Mafia isn’t exactly a sandbox game. It’s a little bit less then that, despite the option to do a mission anyway you like. Therefore, there’s no right or wrong, which seems to be pretty cool.
Following this, there’s loads of action, and loads of pointless missions. Sometimes you wonder why you’re doing things, only to remember: It’s the Mafia way — you do the work; you be exploited.
Thankfully the acting is great, so you’re easily and quickly convinced, and attached, to the mission at hand. But beware, there’s a lot of swearing. And that’s probably why many feel the emotion from the characters.
Dealing with the Mafia means that you’re prone to betrayal, and at least one snitch. And don’t worry, Mafia II offers both.
Where there’s good, there’s bad. Ironically I’m talking about the police because it feels as if the Empire City Police Force are nothing but a bunch of idiots, in cars. They have no sense of direction, and they couldn’t be more stupid.
For example, if you shoot in public near a police officer they will chase you saying “This nut job is shooting in public,” only to open fire in public themselves. With big guns.
Furthermore, they can’t drive — at all. If they chase after you, you can bet your life savings you’ll get away. In fact, they have a larger chance of failing than catching you.
Now despite failing miserably, it’s often annoying to play where–out of no where–a police offer pops out only to see you doing something illegal. And the chase is on.
As I’ve said before: With Mafia II comes action, and because of this all of the above is almost forgivable.
This brings me to the first scene, which is pretty much a full on gun fight. Sadly the game slows down towards the middle, where it then changes and speeds up towards the end.
Moreover, the fights are never boring. There is a lot of action, and a lot of people to kill. The buildings are semi-destructible, and shooting walls leaves a mark or two — perhaps even a chip. To greater the experience of destructibility, you can blow up cars and destroy petrol stations without really trying.
Another point to bring up on the game is that you’ll be driving around, a lot. Best get used to old cars, the radio stations and stealing cars without the police seeing what you do.
Overall I seem to have mixed emotions about the game. 2K Czech play on emotion, and this often becomes frustrating as missions seem to be really pointless. Not to mention you never get a break, and you never have the opportunity to live the good life — well, at least not when you’re in control.
If you’re not in trouble your fat friend Joe will wreak havoc, often leaving you with a mess to clean up. Story of your life — sorry for the spoiler.
Also, when you drink, you gulp. You’re hammered for a few seconds, and that’s about it. There’s no female companionship whatsoever — and there are opportunities for this. Therefore, there’s no enjoyment — you live the rough life.
At least 2K Czech added Easter egg Playboy posters, which you’ll need to find. Boobs included.
Basically Mafia II is a sandbox which doesn’t offer everything it could. There’s potential but it’s underutilized, and unfortunately it feels as if you’re pressed to finish the game before you do what you want to do. Nonetheless it’s still fun and enjoyable, for a few hours.