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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Action Adventure

 

Publisher

2K Games

 

Developer

2K Czech

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

August 24, 2010

 

 

- Excellent story
- Great voice acting and presentation
- Impressive visuals
- Solid gunplay, but hand to hand combat feels repetitive
- Later missions really shine

 

 

- Too much driving
- Limited replay value
- Fairly linear
- Radio stations canít compare to GTA
- Unbalanced AI; cops often exhibit bizarre behavior, while your AI crew can often appear to ďthinkĒ

 

 

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Mafia II

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

mafia ii          mafia ii

 

In Mafia II, you play the role Vito, an Italian-American living in Empire City during the 1940ís. On a heist gone wrong Vito is arrested and is given the choice of serving jail time or serving in the military. Vito ends up choosing the latter and serves in Italy during World War II. Upon his return to America, Vito soon finds that

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his family is in debt to a loanshark. In order to pay the loan back, Vito teams up with his long time buddy Joe to carry out small jobs for the Mob. Once the debt is repaid, Vito and Joe, both intrigued by the lavish payouts resulting from their deeds, continue to work for the Mob.

The original Mafia was released in 2002, shortly after Grand Theft Autoís (GTA)

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popularity exploded in the mainstream. Mafia conjured up comparisons to GTA, while still garnering favorable reviews. Mafiaís gameplay was far more stringent than GTA as missions were timed and traffic laws were more strongly enforced by police. Mafia II is a sequel in name only, so you wonít have to worry about playing the first game if the series is new to you.

While superficially the game looks eerily similar to GTA series, the game plays much differently. More importantly this is where Mafia II stumbles a bit as Empire City would have made an excellent environment for sand box style gameplay to flourish. Instead the City feels like a tease. The gameís main focus is the storyline first and foremost while the exploration takes a backseat. This approach makes the game feel like Heavy Rain at times. Much of the gameplay, especially early in the game, centers on driving from A to B to simply activate the next cut scene in the game or carrying out simple mundane task. One feature that is sadly missing is the ability to skip ahead to your destination like in GTA.

To make up for the ridiculous amount of driving during Mafia IIís 15 chapters, the gunplay is extremely well done and exciting, even if the first part of the game doesnít actually let Vito do much of it. Your character can take cover behind most objects in the environment and some cover can be destroyed with the right amount of fire power. One bizarre omission is the ability for your character blind fire behind cover; the AI has no problem doing this though.

 

mafia ii          mafia ii

 

The game also features a reasonable amount of hand-to-hand combat. Itís fairly simplistic and mostly involves holding the dodge button until you can get enough light punches in against the enemy before finally using a finishing move. It would have been interesting to see the game take an RPG-like approach to this combat and have your character upgrade their fighting techniques as the storyline progresses.


On normal difficulty Mafia II takes approximately 10 hours to complete. Once the storyline is done you do have the option of collecting magazines or wanted posters, which add some longevity, but ultimately they donít compare well to the side missions offered by GTA.

Presentation wise, Mafia II is absolutely fantastic. Empire City truly feels like an American City in the 1940ís and 50ís. Everything down to the characters costumes to the gameís outstanding music feels, looks and sounds authentic. The game successfully captures the playerís attention and features characters who appear genuine and relatable. You really do care about the characters and feel for their plight throughout the gameís storyline.

Like GTA, each of the gameís many vehicles feature three radio stations which play rock music and jazz with DJís who seldomly interject between songs. A lot of the songs chosen for the gameís soundtrack are easily recognizable. One neat addition are the news updates which basically relate to the missionís you recently played in the story. For example a firefight involving your character is will be mentioned on the radio stations during their news updates. The radio stations sound great although it would have been nice to have a fourth station which was strictly talk radio.

If you love story driven games, then I recommend Mafia II, just donít expect to get the same amount of replay value as similar games already out on the market.

- Siddharth Masand

(September 10, 2010)

 

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