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Mafia II Review

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Developer: 2K Czech Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: August 24, 2010 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

I had high hopes for Mafia II. The first game was a masterpiece on the PC. The translation to consoles was shaky, but still fun to play at the time. Now in 2010, the developers at 2K Czech takes on the task of making a sequel to a franchise that has a larger-than-life name. Will it be a hit or a miss?

Mafia II has an interesting start. Instead of throwing you into the heat of a mob war or as a teenage recruit, the story starts with the main character, Vito Scaletta , getting sent off to Italy. As a young warrior, Vito finds himself in the middle of World War II, where gamers start off against Mussolini’s troops.

Upon returning home, Vito discovers that his mother and sister are being harassed by a loan shark. Like so many other mobster movies and games before it, Vito wants a better life for his family. To make some extra cash, he decides to start doing jobs for the mob.

You start off doing minor jobs. An early level has you robbing a mall and a car from a gated parking lot. Eventually you will start taking out people and earning the respect of the highest order in the Mafia. It becomes a permanent fixture of his life. Easy money? Not quite.

The game itself plays a lot like other third-person shooters of this type. You drive around in an open world following a mission-based plot. These missions are marked on your map and can be accessed whenever you want. There are a limited number of side things that you can do, such as purchasing clothes, doing side-jobs (such as stealing cars for scrap metal), and of course, holding up stores.

Ultimately, Mafia II fails where it counts the most. While the storyline will keep you intrigued throughout, the gameplay between feels like filler. The focus here clearly was not on the gameplay, but instead on how to work the gameplay around the story.

For a game to be great, it has to balance the two. It’s a tough balance and many games sacrifice one or the other. Usually it’s the story that suffers, but in this case, it’s monotonous driving missions and unnecessary build-up to action sequences that could have been done just as easily in the cut-scenes.

I tried hard to fall in love with Mafia II. Just like a relationship where things do not seem to click, it was just not meant to be. Mafia II is a game that fans of the original will love, but whose drawbacks weigh it down considerably for everyone else. A relatively short and sometimes monotonous game with zero replay value does not make for a $60 purchase.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review