Mafia 2 Review
publisher: 2K Games
developer: Illusion Softworks
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Aug 24, 10
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If I remember correctly, Mafia 2 has been lurking around game conventions and press events over three years back. To put it another way, they certainly took their time with this one. Naturally, it felt like expectations grew with each passing year, even though the first game wasn't exactly ground-breaking. The original was regarded as a fine mix of The Godfather and GTA, both terms of atmosphere and gameplay. You could say that Mafia 2 continues things in the same spirit as its predecessor, save for certain changes they've made to improve the shooting mechanics. Yes, at its heart, Mafia is still a 3rd person shooter, with occasional hand-to-hand combat segments. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's start with the story.
The tale of Mafia 2 focuses on a tough World War II veteran named Vito Scaletta. His whole life he had to face one struggle after another. During his years of service in the US Army, Vito fought many battles against the Nazi forces in war-torn Europe. Eventually, he gets sent home, having sustained grave injuries. Almost immediately upon his arrival he is greeted by an old friend from the neighborhood, who manages to pull a few strings and take the Army off his back. His life quickly changed from fighting Nazis in Europe to making a name for himself in the city of Empire Bay (which looks suspiciously like New York City). Since he's starting pretty much from scratch, Vito will have a hard time earning money. He ends up doing a series of tasks for people who are, shall we say, good "family men." Turns out that the perilous lifestyle of the local mob definitely agrees with him - it's only natural, of course, given his Sicilian roots.
Cruisin for a bruisin.
You've got nothing on me coppers!
The first few chapters of the story are a bit slow, giving players a chance to get to know the gameplay mechanics; everything from shooting various weapons to lock-picking and handling cars. Driving is, as expected, something you'll be doing a lot in this game. You're going to need some practice with driving because most of the cars from the 40s and 50s handle poorly and are rather difficult to control, especially when you hit dense traffic. This is one part of the game the developers clearly spent a lot of time polishing. The car physics and driving in general feel realistic, bearing in mind you'll be handling a variety of old-timers and classics that aren't as responsive as some of the modern cars. Predictably so, each vehicle handles differently, so you're gonna have to find a car that suits your style of driving. Each parked car can be snatched by picking the lock or by smashing the window (the latter, of course, means you'll be attracting more attention).
Once the shooting starts you'll be able to rely on a rather slick and easy-to-use cover system. It's quite a step-up from the original and certainly way better than most of the cover mechanics we've experienced in some of the more mundane 3rd person shooters on the current market. There's a fair amount of weapons on offer, ranging from familiar ones like the, such as the Thompson submachine gun, pump-action shotgun and so on. Meanwhile, you may also wield new additions to the arsenal like the M3 submachine gun, MG 42 (that one obliterates everything in its path) and more.
A good shooter, solid car physics makes driving enjoyable, nice atmosphere and great visuals, a whole range of interesting characters to meet, well-directed cut-scenes and superb voice-overs;
Gameplay soon becomes generic, while the story is short and lacks punch, no multiplayer.