Wednesday, 12 January 2011
The Don informed me to review this slice of Italian gaming (Yes, I know it's Czech...). I've been "kindly" informed, it is better I give it a favourable review otherwise certain "Accidents may happen"; and ever the possibility of more "quoted" words may be used against me in the future. "Consequences".
Mafia II is the 2nd game of the Mafia series (If you hadn't figured that out from the name). The story is set in 1940s America progressing through to the 50s. You're Vito Scaletta; an Italian immigrant who moved to the USA (Possibly Mario's more suave cousin) with his family, seeking "The American Dream". However, it isn't what they thought it would be, so he turns to a life of crime to try and make ends meet.
I won't go into more depth, because I don't want to spoil any of it though.
Nah, I'm just teasing...
The game has a similar format to Grand Theft Auto; the way the world is made, how you can walk around, and interact with things. However, it's not Grand Theft Auto clone, nor a close copy to it. Sure you can drive around, cause mayhem, irritate the Police. But Mafia II is much more refined, and centres on one main story. The game is full of cinematic sequences. It's a true "Story lovers" game. The developers have really tried to make you feel engrossed in the story as much as possible. However in doing this, some of the actions you have to perform are a bit menial and boring.
For example, you're selling stolen cigarettes. You're standing in the truck and having orders shouted at you: "Red Carton", "Blue Carton", "White Carton" - All you do is pick one up, and throw it. Somewhat pointless. But then again, they're trying to keep it as an interactive story. Even though it may be a bit flat, you can appreciate why they get the player to do it. A tad unpolished methodically, but it's part of the game.
But where there are these little "rough bits", other parts of the game are genius. The attention to detail in parts is fantastic. I approached a cat that wasn't too happy to see me; I got hissed at quite violently. The cat then made it's "subtle" exit through the window, followed by an almighty crashing of bins and a very loud meow from the cat in question.
The radio stations have songs from the time periods in questions, and you're regularly given updates about the progression of the 2nd World War as well. They've really done their homework on it!
The gameplay is great, although sometimes staggered by the inevitable cutscenes. You'll get to "whack" some rival mobsters, and fight in the ensuing gun battle. Or take a more stealthy attitude towards things if you're doing a robbery and don't wish to get chucked in the slammer (Again...) - There's real diversity in what you do!
Mafia II engrosses you in the mob life. You start as a rookie, and slowly increase your reputation within your group of fellow mobsters. Your jobs get more interesting and advanced as the game progresses. Anyone who started playing it, and was a bit disappointed that you got an M1911 Colt to play with, fear not, the paragon of the mob aesthetic is in their! The one weapon that sums up the mob in America: The Thompson SMG (Complete with Drum Magazine!)
You'll get to feel like you're in the Godfather films! How is that not cool!?
Mafia II has funny little moments in it too, things that can only make you smile. You'll find these out for yourself if you play it, but I found Joe's chat-up lines were pretty good (Because they were so bad). Mafia II really is a fantastic bit of ingenuity. As I've already said, sometimes the cutscenes feel like it stops you dead, but it's a story rather than a Shoot'em Up.
I've read a few other reviews, and heard a few people's opinions saying they think it's too stifled. But I reckon it's because they've bought the game thinking "Wahey. Mafia Grand Theft Auto!" which is just isn't.
If you want to run about, blowing cars off the street with bazookas, get Grand Theft Auto. If you're interested in a game where you feel you're part of a film (While watching it at the same time) buy Mafia II. Anyone who is a fan of TV series like the Sopranos, or the Godfather films... maybe even Bugsy Malone? Would find this a great game for the aesthetics and story!
(I hope the Don approves and reconsiders that "accident" that could have befallen me)
Note on the DLC
We've not tried the DLC so we have no idea of its quality or whether it's worth it. If we do happen to come into ownership of said DLC in the future, we shall be right on to it to let you know what we think!