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Mafia 2 is a third person shooter game developed by 2K Czech, released in August 2010. It is the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. You play the role of Vito Scaletta, a poor Sicilian who moves to America with his parents as a boy. As he gets older he starts getting into trouble, and eventually has to join the army to avoid getting sent to prison. On leave from the army, he runs into his old friend Joe, who now has ties with the Mafia and is able to get Vito discharged. Vito begins to do jobs for Joe, and eventually makes a name for himself amongst the Mafia. Mafia 2 is similar to the first in terms of gameplay and storyline. The hero of both games are men who work themselves up into the top ranks of American crime families from nothing, and then encounter rivalry and bloodshed. Both games are in a sense open world games, in that when you are not completing a mission, you are free to explore the city, however it is much more linear than games such as GTA. Unlike GTA, you cannot choose which missions to do, as there is an order, and there are certain missions which take place in locations which you cannot go back to. This is not a criticism, since many people (including myself) prefer a more linear game where your freedom is somewhat restricted. The graphics are very good, and definitely a noticeable improvement from the first game. The controls are similar to most third person shooter games and thus easy to get to grips with, and the plot is exciting and at times very amusing. There is a lot of variety in terms of the levels, although one thing I found quite annoying was that it seems that every other level involves you having to escape the police which gets very repetitive after a while. However, I found this game very enjoyable and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of third person shooter games. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel, Mafia 3, which is to be released some time in the next few years.
A good friend bought me Mafia II as a surprise gift the other week when it was a mere £5 on Steam. It was certainly a welcome treat. I had played the demo and was honestly underwhelmed by it. Mediocre at best. Which was rather a shame because I had high-hopes after hearing various pre-launch reviews. Yet I could hardly turn down the opportunity to get stuck in. First impressions were good. It seemed to have high hopes, compared to the demo at least. You play Vito Scaletta, a poor Italian immigrant who moves to America during the early 1900s. The family are struggling to make ends-meet and Vito turns to a life of crime. A series of short videos show snippets of Vito's early days, before he finally gets caught robbing a jewellery stores and is sent off to war for his troubles. You then take control and get into a little scuffle fighting Vito's native Countrymen in a WW2 world. This is a good start in my opinion, it flashes out the character nicely and kicks the game off to a blazing start. Of course, this isn't a war shooter, so you are soon thrown back into your civilian/mob role as Vito is injured and invalid out of the Army. Back in Empire City (New York) he soon falls back into his old ways. Obviously, you are playing a gangster, so much of the gameplay consists of robbery and running from the cops. You might think this is just another GTA clone and you'd not be far off, but there are a few differences. Firstly, Mafia II starts off in the 1940s but soon moves on into the later decades as we see Vito start to age. This is a nice touch in itself as the world starts to change around you - music, clothes, cars, attitudes, everything is different and this is enhanced by the time you spend in prison. Secondly, although you have the freedom to roam the Mafia II world, the actual storyline is quite limited and restrictive. Mafia II does not have the free-roam, open world feel that GTA does, even though you can go anywhere, you cannot do anything. This is a little frustrating, but the storyline is immersive enough to make up for it. Mafia II has rather splendid graphics. On PC the draw distances are impressive, the character skins are scarily good and the world looks lovely. Cars take damage and crumple, scrape, bang and explode as you'd expect. Case in point, I smashed into a lamppost and the hub-cap flew off one of the wheels and shot off down the street. It's the little things like this which make for a very good game indeed. Scrapping in the streets The fight mechanics are a bit more sophisticated on the mean streets than they are in GTA. You can make combos of various light and hard punches, plus a number of finishing moves to put down an opponent (or some random chap you decide to duel in the streets). Yet the system is not overly complex and easy to master. However, you better learn to block or you'll soon get knocked down. Some enemies pack a rather hefty punch and seem to take less damage than you. Guns are rife. At first, as you'd expect, they are rather limited, but I managed to get in trouble with the law quite early on and got myself a Tommy gun. Then there's shotguns, pistols, rifles...the list goes on. All of them can be collected and conveniently hidden under your jacket. The gun battles can be quite fun, the usual cover mechanic which you see in so many games nowadays is also present here. Get into trouble - press up against a wall and pop out to fire off a few rounds before ducking back behind cover. Easy. Mind the fuzz One highlight (and annoyance) of the game is police mechanics. Unlike GTA, where you can get away with murder (nearly), Mafia II is a bit more strict. Police will chase after you if they see you so much as crash your car. Run a red light, break the speed-limit or murder innocent bystanders and you'll soon be in trouble. Luckily, they can be paid off by either letting them catch you or finding a payphone to call someone important. However, that is expensive, so a change of clothes or a trip to your local spray shop might be more useful. The game mechanics are so clever that police will be hunting you or your vehicle specifically. So even if you get a new car, you might not be safe if they've seen your face. But if the police are looking for your car, then they will know what your number plate is. Going to a garage allows you not only to change the plate - but to personalise it to your own will. You can respray the car, change the wheels, up the performance and more. All nice little extras which don't go over-the-top. Although the world is quite closed, there are a few things you can do to make life more interesting between (or on the way to) jobs. My personal favourite is robbing everything in sight. Popping to the local shops, you can hold them up and rob the till for a bit of extra cash. Clothes stores, burger joints, petrol stations - all are open for a little armed (or unarmed robbery). Another clever mechanic here - I'd been stealing from the local clothes shop a bit too often, so the owner hired goons to protect the joint. When I went in next time, I found myself in an unexpected gunfight with several men who appeared to be causal shoppers but turned out to be gangsters hired for protection. Be warned! Try to rob the gun shop and you better be tooled up or you'll soon find yourself with a face full of shotgun. It's worth the hassle though, I got $700 from one shop alone. Vito's father apparently left the family with $2,000 worth of debt, which they were all worried about. I made that in one day...and they say crime doesn't pay! Another hidden gem includes a scrap yard which offers you $400 for every car you crush in their machine. Mafia II is certainly worth a look. Especially if you enjoy the thought of running around with Tommy guns in the golden era of the American Mafia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceo0zZYflqc
Mafia 2 is 2K Czech's attempt at a 3rd Person Shooter following on from "The City of Lost Heaven". It reminds me a lot of GTA4 but set in the 1940s/50s. Mafia 2 is a very very good game and follows the same sort of idea as GTA4 but with a more defined and linear style. There is far less freedom in the game compared to GTA and some of the missions are completely off map never to be visited again. All this aside it is not GTA so you can forgive it for this. The cars are brilliant, taking you back into the 40s no problem at all (and later the 50s). One thing Mafia 2 has over GTA are the advances in time from the 40s to the 50s advancing years and months which then means a change in environment, seasons and cars. You start off in the winter in the 40s and go through summer and autumn to the 50s doing all sorts of missions on the way. You work up the ranks getting tons of money and getting a very nice house and car(s). Without giving much away it really is hard to describe why this game is so good. The graphics in this are insane and would make any console gamer put down that controller and buy a PC. The only downsides I can see is the short storyline and the lack of any real freedom. The game makes you feel as though you are free but there are a lot of defined routes and walls that prevent real freedom of the map. Overall though a worthwhile game to purchase, especially for the PC. With mods you can extend the gameplay for more hours of pure enjoyment.