Mafia II

Mafia II Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

The sequel to the 2002 PC crime epic set in a fictional Prohibition-era city.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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With Mafia 2, developer 2K Czech has created a game with the atmosphere of Goodfellas and characters that are fun to spend time with, but somewhere in development the studio forgot that gamers generally want to do things they can't do in real life. For a lot of game's 10-12 hours lead character Vito does, for want of a better term, odd-jobs - and not the kind that require guns. He acts as a taxi driver, a warehouse worker, a sales assistant, a money collector and more, but in a game about the mafia, most of us want to be doing the exciting stuff. The rise of Vito is handled well in terms of believability, but as a game Mafia 2 lacks spark.

Vito starts his epic story fighting in WWII before returning home to his mother and sister in Empire Bay - a fictional city based on both New York and San Francisco. Before being packed off as a solder, Vito got into trouble with his good buddy Joe, and the pair hook up on his return. Joe gives Vito a place to stay and a way to make a living without working a 9-5 job. It's not a regular office role and it's not legal, but Vito wants to make something of himself to help out his struggling family, hard up after the death of his father.

After falling in with the wrong crowd, Vito is given a string of quite menial jobs, initially for small cash but slowly for more sizable wads. You'll be told to steal cars, sell ration stamps, beat people up and generally drive around… a lot. While you probably expect a game set in a large city to feature driving, in Mafia 2 it feels like you do it all the time. That wouldn't be a bad thing if the missions you drove to were always thrilling, but actual gunplay is disappointingly rare. On top of that, the cops in Empire Bay are a little too good at spotting driving offences, so you'll spend much of your time on the road having to evade pursuing cop cars.

As slow and tedious as the early part of the game is, there's no denying 2K Czech has created a superb-looking title. The city has been expertly designed, packed full with detail, while the characters are all of a good enough quality to convey emotion through actions as well as words. The virtual performances aren't quite up to par with Rockstar's recent efforts, but the cast of criminals do an admirable job - even if they might play up to the stereotypes of mafia life a little too much. Prepare yourself for strong language too, as these guys don't mince their words.

When you do get to play with guns the action is solid, but not exactly up there with the best third-person shooters. Aiming doesn't feel as smooth as it could do and the snap-to-cover system feels a tad basic - there's no vaulting over cover objects, for example. It's also a shame that the AI of your enemies is rather all over the place. At times they'll take part in fire-fights, taking cover when necessary, while at other points you'll see them dash into each other and generally run around like headless chickens.

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12 Comments

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El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ guyderman

Boobs!
Posted 09:35 on 31 August 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

I got RRoD on my Xbox on Thursday evening so had to get myself another as it was a launch model and well out of Warranty. I bougtht another and as an incentive they were offering Mafia 2 for just £20 so i thought why not.
I think I'm about 3/4 of the way through now and have to admit that I'm really enjoying it.
Anyone who is expecting a GTA4 set in the 40's/50's will be disapointed as the game is really linear - but if you just want a good solid cliche'd Gangster romp with pretty solid missions then I recommend it.
It also has the greatest collectibles in the history of gaming that should apeal to most male gamers and not just Trophy/Chevo whores! ;)
Posted 09:22 on 31 August 2010
vendulkabendulka's Avatar

vendulkabendulka

Here's the list of missions that are ready but not included in shipped M2 version:
http://bit.ly/b6lkMp
(Google Translator from czech lng)
Posted 01:29 on 30 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Played about 90mins or so of this last night;
The story is mafia cliched to the max
Driving in the snow is fun
Having a speedometer is great
Combat is good, not great or genre defining but good nonetheless
Fist fighting is poor
The city looks amazing

Overall I'm pleased with the purchase so far.
Posted 10:00 on 27 August 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Yeah, after seeing a few reviews, I cancelled my preorder - to hell with the preorder bonus DLC - I don't think this is a £40 game. Not with the line-up we have coming our way...
Posted 08:56 on 27 August 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Its a pick up when reduce in price. By Christmas this will be £20 borderline.
Posted 08:52 on 27 August 2010
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog@ scaz2244

I wouldn't entirely write the game off yet. Tom clearly didn't love it to bits, and obviously a lot of the stuff he mentions doesn't bode well, but i'm certainly going to play it for myself.

The impression i'm getting is that this one of those games where a few people really like, and others just don't see the appeal. There seem to be more people in the latter camp than in the former, but i've spoken to some people who think it's the nuts.
Posted 17:28 on 26 August 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Gamasutra did a great Critical Reception on Mafia II and it has had a whole bag of mixed reviews. It has broken any boundaries, but it still looks like a pretty good game.
Posted 11:15 on 26 August 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

Was hoping this would get better reviews as neon made it sound great when he previewed it a while ago, think I will rent or buy it when it's cheaper
Posted 11:09 on 26 August 2010
IamBugged's Avatar

IamBugged

This would have been better as a movie, not a game.
Posted 11:06 on 26 August 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams@ El-Dev

I think this is a very fair review.
Would be interested in hearing your opinions on it El Dev
Posted 18:09 on 25 August 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Good review.

I'm quite happy they appear to have set the realism bar quite high for most of the aspects of this game. For me, one of the main issues of GTAIV was the attempted realistic driving with the craziness of the other aspects of the game.

Looking forward to giving this a good go through over the next few days.
Posted 17:45 on 25 August 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Mafia II
7
Out of 10
Mafia II
  • Good story and characters
  • Great visuals
  • Too many menial tasks
  • Not enough gun-play
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 27/08/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Illusion Softworks
Publisher: 2K Games
Genre: Third-person shooter
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 1,304 46
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