Mafia II

aka: Mafia II (Classic)
Moby ID: 47964
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Vito Scaletta is an Italian immigrant in the United States. Born into a poor family from Sicily, he grows up in the city of Empire Bay and soon becomes best friends with Joe Barbaro, who convinces him that crime is just a way to get easy money. After having attempted a robbery, Vito is arrested and offered a choice by the authorities: go to jail or join the army. Choosing the latter, he is drafted and sent to Italy to fight Mussolini and his followers. After being injured and discharged, he returns to Empire Bay and learns that his deceased father owed a large amount of money. Willing to protect his family from debt collectors, Vito contacts Joe, and the two gradually begin to steer their lives towards organized crime, unaware of the price they will have to pay for that.

Mafia II shares the theme and the basic gameplay concept with Mafia; though it takes place at a later time and follows the life story of a different protagonist, the game's plot has a few connections with that of the predecessor. The game's story begins in the 1940's and extends into the 1950's. The story follows a linear path and is divided into chapters, each telling a separate episode in Vito's life and his trials and tribulations after getting involved with the mafia.

Like its predecessor, the game combines free-roaming driving with third-person shooting stages, focusing on the latter. Though the player is free to explore the city (driving a car or on foot), most of the driving gameplay is confined to the missions, which involves getting to the destination, stopping to buy items, hijacking different cars, etc. There are noticeably less chases or violent encounters during the driving sections than in the previous game. Police may arrest Vito for speeding or violent behavior; the player has the option to bribe officers in exchange for freedom.

The third-person shooting mechanics have been overhauled, featuring a cover-based system similar to that of Gears of War. Vito's health regenerates over a short period of time and cannot be restored by other means. He can be easily killed when running in the open; therefore, taking cover and periodically shooting is the prevalent tactic. In addition to firearms from the previous game (Colt 1911, tommy gun, pump-action shotgun, etc.), there are World War II-era weapons in the game, such as the MP 40 and M3 submachine guns. Vito is sometimes assisted by Joe or other characters during the shooting stages.

One portion of the game, which takes place inside of a prison, has melee-focused brawls. Players can explore interiors to find collectibles, more specifically vintage Playboy magazines to unlock the erotic photos within. The PlayStation 3 version of the game includes exclusive access to the DLC, The Betrayal of Jimmy. It is available for free only to those who purchase the base game.

Spellings

  • 四海兄弟 II - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

680 People (571 developers, 109 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 77% (based on 53 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 101 ratings with 4 reviews)

The storyline saves this from getting the hit.

The Good
Well I wasn't expecting this to be the killer game the first one was. But even though this sequel was maybe disappointing, it was over my expectations, which by now you should know were very low.

Well the game delivers when it comes to the storyline. The characters are voiced superbly and very natural movie-like acting. As for the cut-scenes they're always entertaining to watch and never drags on. This is one feature that made the first so great. Vito is a level headed and likeable protagonist. Many other interesting characters to be found. This is the main reason to play this sequel.

Game play is pretty much like the original, take the Grand Theft Auto games and mix it with Max Payne and you've got mafia. Driving feels more realistic though just like the first game and you tend to drive safe here. Cars don't seem disposable as they were in GTA, you'll probably hang on to one car for a reasonable period. Cars are from the 40's and 50's, they all look delicious and can be modified (engine tuning and tire rims) at a body shop. Color, License plate can be changed to legalize your car. The Max Payne part is the gun fights. There is also reasonable good and easy controlling fist fighting. Thanks to the use of modern physic engines you get a good visual experience. Glass flying, shattering even walls chipping etc.

The theme is done right, you feel like you're in the 40's and 50's thanks to the art direction, city detail and licensing of music from that era. The details of the city are fantastic, another highlight. The game is divided into chapters, after a mission you can do whatever you want in the city and then go sleep on your bed to start the next day/chapter.

The Bad
Well you don't get to do a lot in this city other than the standard rob shops, buy items, piss off cops, shoot pedestrians, drive around or run over people. If you've been playing all the GTA games then like watching porn you'd be dead bored of this by now and want something more creative. But to be fair Mafia was never exactly a “Free Roaming” game, it just gives you an open world. Side missions would have been a good way to extend this games life. Instead they're relying on the modern trend of Downloadable Content (DLC) and Cliff hanger endings. The ending of this game is comparable to you about to get it on with your girlfriend in your room. As she's about to take her clothes off and you're harder than the nightmare mode in Doom, your family comes back from that weekend out of town. She picks up her top and you're screaming “NO, NO! Don't let the credits roll, that can't be it?!” Whatever happened to the good old days of having a full game shipped in the box?

Lot of wasted potential, like the stealth mission in the start introduces some promising features which hardly will get used latter game. Driving occupies 70% of this game, while shooting 20%. It's kind of like a less annoying Farcry 2, at least you don't have to deal with annoying re-spawning A.I. I love linear games but this game seriously needs a more non linear approach to some of it's missions. Sometimes the game tuns into Indigo Prophecy where you're simply pressing the use key to create a rather interactive cut scene. For example you have to pick up the correct color cigarette and toss it at your partner. While it does act like a break from all the shooting and driving, it's not even a mini-game, nor interesting and very slow. Therefore killing the already low replay value of this game. As for the A.I. it looks smart at first but then you realize it's just "take cover for a long time then shoot" or "I got a shotgun time to rush".

The Bottom Line
Mafia 2's flaws and average gameplay is easily overshadowed by its storyline and presentation. Thankfully the flawed gameplay never reaches unplayable territory. The replay value is quite bad unless you want to refresh yourself with the storyline. If you're not a fan of the series I would wait until the price drops for PC or just rent it if you're playing on console.

Windows · by dreamstealer (126) · 2010

Mafia II is a sad example of how an undeniable masterpiece can be turned into a total disaster.

The Good

  • Presentation values from graphics, art, voice work, story, music and sound are all beautiful and engaging
  • The set-pieces are fun and engaging for a time
  • Decent controls


The Bad

  • Butchers almost all of the gameplay that made the original such a great game
  • The amount of detail to the city is wasted
  • Game is relatively short
  • Nothing to do in free-roaming other than shoot people and instigate cops
  • Enemy AI is just as bound, restricted and linear as the rest of the game


The Bottom Line
The debate of "Are games art?" is steadily growing higher and higher and to properly reflect my feelings on Mafia II, I must reflect my stance on this frothing debate. To me, "Video games" are not art; a video game is just a game, a set of rules are given and you must use them and try to beat other players be they real or computer. However games have spawned off something new and very different, which are definitely able to reach an artistic standpoint.

However their relations to video games still exist in the fact that you interact with them and play them. Great examples of this new evolution are Silent Hill 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV. Both "games" are not games in the traditional sense, and are truthfully more of an interactive experience; however they still have gameplay to tie them down and retain the aspect of "Interactivity," in Silent Hill 2 it was the immersion that made you feel as though you were being haunted, oppressed, and chased by your own nightmares taking real form and in Grand Theft Auto IV it was the way you interacted with the world and the fantastic characters, making you feel as though you have stepped into another persons shoes and reality in a genuine locale.

However they MUST keep this bridge between the artistic elements and the former aspects of being a "Video game," and this is where Mafia II fails. Mafia II, from the presentation standpoint, is a fantastic piece of art. The story and characters are brilliant, providing arguably one of the best Mafioso stories in years regardless of medium. The visuals are fantastic with extremely detailed and beautiful graphics and they capture the style of the two eras the game takes place in perfectly, combined with the great music both original and licensed Mafia II is a wonderful piece of art. But it fails to retain the interactivity required for this interactive medium.

The sad thing is this could have easily filled in that bridge. Anyone who played the original PC version of the original Mafia and not it's butchered PS2/XBOX port will know why. The driving mechanics were complex and while the controls took time to get accustomed to, it was a fantastic shooter with many nuances and while the city and free roaming were not the focus of the title, it had many hours, plenty of variety, and enough gameplay opportunities in its story to stay fresh throughout. I do not want to sound like a PC biased nerd but we can't ignore the fact that the PC is a more advanced system in delivering a more nuanced experience. Yet we live in a world where consoles are becoming more and more advanced and much more common and practical than the PC, and I have no qualm with this when it comes to the fact that there are thousands of fantastic console based titles; but some PC experiences need to remain on the PC intact. Almost nothing that made Mafia a nuanced title is here, and this is simply to allow the game to fit on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and not just the PC.

The result is a title that is a masterpiece and yet an utter disaster. Don't get me wrong, the set-pieces are memorable and tie in with the story perfectly; but there's no reason to replay them. This is something that shouldn't be an interactive experience, this is something we should see in theatres. It follows the perfect linearity of a film, but forces you to doddle about for lengthy, uninteresting periods between each "scene." There are 15 chapters in the game, and they each represent a "scene" that could've been made into a fantastic film. The only gameplay that connects them is get in your car, drive all the way to the other end of the town, get out, and start the film. Then you go through a set piece and control your character for that scene, then you drive back all the way to your house, "Sleep" and start the next scene then move on.

The city in the game is a waste of beautiful detail, while I wish it wasn't clearly an ape on New York which has becoming a far too common locale, the world looks as alive and complex as the Liberty City of GTA IV. It helps that the games period is represented perfectly. It actually takes place during two time periods, the first half is set in the 1940s during the height of World War II and later on the beginning of the 50s. Both periods are portrayed fantastically with cars, clothing, music and culture being mirrored perfectly. It's joyous at first to drive in a period piece car listening to Jazz and war propaganda and the like. However you will soon grow weary of drying because as mentioned earlier, the only point of driving is to connect the dots and get the scene moving.

To be fair this problem reared in the original game, but it was very clear that it isn't meant to be a free-roamer. This game wants desperately to be a free-roamer and tells the player to unleash themselves, but the ONLY thing to do in the city is occasionally cause havoc and car chases. There are no character interactions, mini-games, or expansive sights and events to mess around with. Even the first game at least had a Taxi driving thing to fill in the gap, but it also had more to it.

You can tell the developers tried to remember what made the original game great. As I said, the set-pieces are astounding on your first run but there is still limited interactivity and unless you want to get that achievement for picking up all the PlayBoy magazines hidden in each chapter (Sorry for being a smartarse, but Playboy didn't exist in the 40s. Or the 50s. Though I would be lying if it wasn't nice to see photos from when PlayBoy had far greater taste.) you will simply walk through each scene in the exact notes the developers want you to. There is no way to circumvent the absolutely linear path, even the decision of taking cover and shooting or being more gung-ho is decided as you will find that many segments are impossible unless you take cover in a specific spot or go full-auto in another. The driving mechanics also want to echo the original game, but are just as stripped and bare as the rest.

In the original game you had to obey traffic laws and the fact that you required to actually use gears, levers, etc. added to the first games immersion and it made the chases and driving more intense and interesting as well as more realistic than your standard GTA style chase. In Mafia II, they want you to obey traffic laws and you will often have to turn on a speed limiter but no gears or levers and even then, limiting your speed is more of a way of making sure you always have control over your car and don't go speeding too fast, lose control, and accidentally bump into something you didn't want to hit like in GTA IV. The police rarely care, but this becomes a problem because you will forget that traffic rules are still in the game. There might be a moment where you are zooming at 125 miles per hour and a cop will just pass by, but if you try it later the cops will start chasing you.

The overall problem is that the gameplay simply isn't complete. There are other mechanics, such as the bribing system and whatnot but they all feel out of place when you realize how linear the game truly is. Everything feels like a wasted opportunity to go to a greater title, this could've been a wonderful follow up to Mafia and could've even combined the strengths of the original Mafia and the variety and immersion of GTA IV but with a more realistic model. That was what the original game was like, it was very similar to GTA III in some ways and had a similar feel, but it was a more realistic and more dramatic alternative that delivered and improved on that games best moments. Why Mafia II couldn't have followed that model is beyond me, and it ultimately disappoints me.

This game is worth a rental to play through once, as the directing, acting, and story are poignant and wonderfully told and the set pieces are fun to control when you look past how limited said control is. But the sad fact is, it simply doesn't have the gameplay to truly match an interactive experience. The AI is just as bound and scripted and will always act the same way, with the exception of car cop chases. If it had been a film it could've been better, and all the missed opportunities combined with the fact that it cuts a superb predecessor down to a barely recognizable size makes Mafia II a shameful sequel.

Windows · by Kaddy B. (777) · 2010

Wins the award for best presentation

The Good
As I mentioned in the title of this review, the presentation is nothing less than stunning; The city and the people that live in it give the impression that it's all real, the music on the radio fits the 40's and 50's very well and people who know a bit about history will notice the huge amount of details in this game. All i can say is: "wow".

The story is very interesting to follow and it's very well written. Unlike most storey-based games it didn't lose my interest and I never stopped playing the game because I was getting bored either.

Once you actually get to use your guns the cover-based shooting works, it is nothing original, but at least it works.

The Bad
The city may be huge, but there is barely anything to do in it and the things you can do fail to be worth your time. Even if you buy all the clothes in the games, fill your garage with beautiful cars and still have a few million dollars in your pocket the story may decide you lose it all.

The story also demands that some missions have no action at all. I lost count of how many missions had me drive people to a building just to watch a cutscene before driving them back to their home.

The story is well written, but it does become pretty obvious that all you are doing is trying to gather enough money to pay people back. The way Vito just keeps losing other people's money is a display of admirable stupidity.

The Bottom Line
The game has an amazing story, but it sacrifices way too much gameplay for it, but that aside this is a pretty cool game. A little love for the Godfather-style is a requirement. The presentation is beyond what we (used to) consider good and the game is very immersive. I do recommend renting this game for a week or two because replay value is nowhere to be found.

Xbox 360 · by Asinine (957) · 2011

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Gah. Indra was here (20768) Apr 21, 2011
Main storyline ending Daniel Saner (3503) Jan 28, 2011

Trivia

Japanese version

In the Japanese version, the collectible Playmate photographs were censored with black bars over breasts and bottom.

References: Mafia

While the game isn't a direct sequel to the original Mafia, there are a few nods to the original game: * Excerpts from Tommy Angelo's testimony against Ennio Salieri appear in the loading screens; * The music playing in the restaurant at the beginning of Chapter 5 is from the original game; * One of the trucks has "Lost Heaven, Brno, Empire Bay" written on the side (the city from the original game, the home of 2K Czech, and Mafia II's city respectively).

References to the game

Mafia 2 was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 11/2010.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2010 – Best Localisation of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kaddy B..

OnLive added by firefang9212.

Additional contributors: Cantillon, crispybacon, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Plok, Victor Vance, 一旁冷笑.

Game added August 28, 2010. Last modified January 19, 2024.