By Sam Coles:
It’s been six years since the last Mafia game was released and it is one of my favourite games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 with its excellent story and fun and tense gameplay set in a believable world. With my excitement for Mafia 3 which is out in October I’m going to review Mafia 2.
The story is told from the perspective of the main character Vito Scaletta who retells the events of the game. The first part of the game sees you fighting in Sicily during World War II where you’re fighting off the last of fascist regime. I have to say that this opening to the game was unexpected for a Mafioso story because I was expecting the usual trope where the main character is a normal law abiding citizen then turned into a thug. Vito eventually goes home to his hometown of Empire Bay where he is greeted by his best friend Joe Barbaro who finds a way to get Vito discharged from the military through less than legal means.
Vito is then finds out after his father’s death he had a huge debt of money who he owed to some thugs who keep intimidating his sister and mother, he has an altercation with one of the thugs and starts to find a way to make money fast which is where Joe comes in. Joe introduces him to his boss Alberto Clemente, who he then proceeds to work for, but one thing leads to another and he ends up in prison as he takes the fall for a robbery.
The story is engaging and well performed from start to finish with twists and turns with a few shocking and emotional moments with great voice acting and well-crafted cutscenes coupled with the beautiful musical score.
Gameplay is a mixture of shooting, driving and exploring on foot as it is an open world game (sort of), but the overall structure is very linear because there is nothing to do when you drive from mission to mission except buy new clothes, cars and collect Playboy magazines (not joking). Driving feels fantastic with the 1950’s sports cars as you throw them around corners they feel weighted and realistic with the physics and are just satisfying overall to control.
Shooting is functional it’s nothing mind blowing it’s your typical third person shooting akin to Gears of War with a good cover system where you pop out and shoot enemies until they’re all dead. The guns are great from the 1940’s all the way up to the 50’s and are modelled with exquisite detail and all sound fantastic.
The visuals still hold up after six years with excellent detail on the car models you can really tell that the team took the time to analyse and research the cars of the 40’s and 50’s no stone was left unturned. The character models and animation are brilliant with subtle raises of eye brows to a slight twitch as they smile. The city looks beautiful with superb weather effects to the dark snowy winter to the sweltering hot summer; the weather effects make this city feel alive.
The only problem I have with this game is that the frame rate has a habit of dipping in cutscenes and gameplay when things get busy because this is a visually demanding game it happens here there and it can dampen my overall experience sometimes.
Mafia II is a wonderful game and it has got me excited for the third instalment that is coming out soon. If you haven’t played this game I would highly recommend it, it fairly cheap and easy to find so go get it!