Critic Reviews add missing review
Average score: 40% (based on 1 ratings)
Average score: 2.9 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings with 1 reviews)
I have played a lot of browser games based on the mafia, but none of them had such a good story as this one. It isn't within throwing distance of stories like in The Godfather or Mafia II, but every mission is accompanied with a little explanation and they are certainly trying their hardest to pull it off. I also like it that every region has it's own story, while in New York the story was pretty much about setting up crime organizations and busting rivals while in Italy it was about family and tradition for example.
It doesn't have the needless animated graphics of most Zynga games and is instead based on text with only a few images. It focuses more on style than on fun which is a welcome change and clearly an attempt to appeal more to the older people who don't want to build their own virtual farm with virtual cows that look cute. If Zynga keeps this up I might even start keeping an eye on the company, stylish games like these are rare and that is something I'd like to see remedied.
It's very easy to figure out how to do jobs and fight other players, I can guarantee you that you will have it all figured out within a few minutes after starting the game up. You fight enemies by going to the "fight" menu and selecting a person you'd like to fight and you do jobs by going to the "jobs" menu and clicking on "do job". I especially like the fighting because you can heal between fights and use a good bit of tactics to get what you want, I will address the jobs later in this review though.
You can buy and upgrade buildings that will give you a cut of their money, this is part of the reason why I like this game better than most other mafia games played on a browser because none of them really use the business part of the mafia life and instead focus on committing crimes. Mafia Wars at least gives you the option to invest your money into something else than just weapons and trying to figure out if upgrading a certain building will result in enough returns to compensate for the costs is much more interesting to me than just buying up all the machine guns.
This is how you play the game: You log in first thing in the morning and do all the jobs you need to do for missions or the ones that give the most experience, you continue doing this until your energy has depleted, you return in the evening and do same thing again. If you are feeling fancy you can throw in a few fights or rob some buildings, but it always comes down to doing a lot of job and waiting for your energy to regenerate. Sometimes it doesn't even make sense, for example when you're at a party and you need to do the job "distract the guards" twelve times before you can move on to the next step of your mission.
Like almost every Facebook it's not really about who has the most money or strength when you fight against each other, it's about who has the most friends who also play the game. Every friend that happens to play this game joins your mafia which means he'll fight along your side in any wars you'll find yourself in. One of my friends just happened to be level 190, so any time I got into a war I would always win just because he was there as well. I really dislike this because I'd rather beat somebody because I am just stronger or have better weapons than him.
There isn't a lot of variation, you pretty much go around doing jobs to finish missions and after a while all pretense of freedom is gone because you realize that you are just going down a linear route. This isn't the kind of game where you can just do a few mini-games to bring in a bit of money or where you can approach the same situation in multiple ways (like in Echo Bazaar). This is a game where you complete you're objectives and hope the next few ones won't require you to buy anything expensive, no freedom and no thought.
The Bottom Line
I haven't played a lot of Zynga games, but Mafia Wars is certainly the best one so far. It has style, story and sadly also a lot of flaws. There is a lot of repetition and you don't really have to think about your actions which are both two big deal-breakers to me, I also dislike the idea of friends making such a huge difference when it comes to fighting other players.
At the end of the day, you could do a lot worse than Mafia Wars, these games are free, but you still have to spend quite a lot of time into them which can be a terrible waste. Mafia Wars is not such a waste, it is a game worth playing for a few days, but god knows how one of my friends reached level 190, he must have been sick with a broken xbox for a week or two or something like that.
Browser · by Asinine (957) · 2011
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