It took a long time to arrive – almost three years since it was first announced – but the sequel to the one of the most memorable crime games is finally here. Mafia 2 managed to build up a lot of anticipation prior to its release, and while the end result may not be as groundbreaking as we had hoped, it certainly provides a decent experience for the average gamer. Mafia 2 has been released on Aug 24, 2010.
Back from the exhaustive Second World War, veteran Vito Scaletta looks to make it big in the world of organized crime in the fictional city of Empire Bay. Set against the backdrop of the 40s and 50s, Mafia 2 tells the story of Scaletta,s steady rise to power, using tried-and-tested mechanics reminiscent of popular gangster flicks. The plot borrows heavily from classics such as Godfellas and the Godfather. Even though, the story twists can be spotted a mile away; the script is adequately original and has some genuinely likeable characters that gave its own charm. The interesting story line of Mafia 2 will get 7.8/10 .
While the game may seem to follow the standard format of sandbox games, it is not a Grand Theft Auto clone. Mafia 2 is built around a linear single-player campaign, with no room for co-op or multiplayer modes. A standard stream of missions governs your progress within the game and moves the story along. Unfortunately, apart from following the linear path set, there is not much to do.
You can run around Empire Bay and visit its many locals, but ultimately you will have to return to the marker on the map if you want to make any progress. The missions are very well-designed and atay in tune with the setting of the game. You will be driving people around town, robbing jewellery stones, selling stolen cigarettes and getting into quite a few shootouts with rival gangs. The variation between each missions type is good and makes each feel important enough to invest some time into. Overall, the 10-plus hours you put into the game are entertaining, but not necessarily something you would want to relive. Since most of your excursions involve gunning people down or driving really fast, expect to get on the bad side of the law quite often. The police comes hot on your tails when they spot you breaking the law; thankfully, they are not as ruthless as they were in the first title, and can be easily outwitted through skilful driving, changing clothes and swapping license plates. If you do get caught, a quite bribe lets you get away with major affiances with as little as a slap on the wrist. While you will be grateful for the police force’s leniency in this title, you can not help but miss the nail-biting chases and consequential desperation from the original. Combat has also been improved, with standards such as regenerative health and a manual cover system being implemented. The controls worked just about all right and the enemy AI can be challenging to the point of being downright ruthless – enemies shoot from behind cover and effectively coordinate strikes against you. The armament supplied in-game contains a selection of pistols, shotguns, semi-automatics and explosives, all of which are very effective when in the hands of an expert. If you want an easy time, though, the Tommy gun will prove to be a very useful companion in firefights. Just be sure not to go “Rambo” on your enemies, since it takes only a few bullets to bring you back to the last checkpoint. The games highlights are its new melee combat system, which allows you to have one-on-one bare fist fights through a variety of attacks, counters and finishers, and the speed limiter function, which saves you a lot of unfortunate run-ins with the cops when driving around town. All in all, Mafia 2 approach to the third-person shooting genre is enjoyable and that’s why it has taken 8.0/10 in its great gameplay.
Audio and visuals
If atmosphere is what you look for in your games, then Mafia 2 certainly has a lot to offer. The visuals are neatly crafted to represent life in post-war America. Car models are gorgeous and characters seem to come to life with the amount of detail put into them. Adding to that is the impressive voice work for the characters and the excellent selection of the music from the 50s that plays on radio as you cruise through Empire Bay. The overall presentation gives you the feeling of recalling a precious memory from the past and is absolutely magnificent.
Mafia 2 is a humble title that opts for the traditional mission-based approach rather than going all-out sandbox style. Keeping in mind its mobster-inspired story and the era in which it is set, it seems more or less appropriate that the game chooses this particular style of progression; and with refined combat and driving mechanics, it makes for a decent play. Even though it is not an absolute must-have, Mafia 2 certainly deserves your attention.