If you love Grand Theft Auto, you’ll love Mafia II. That’s just how it is. Mafia II is very similar to Grand Theft Auto in it’s concept – driving missions, fighting missions, assassination missions and more – but thankfully, there is a lot of original and authentic touches to Mafia II that make it worth playing.
The story in Mafia II revolves around a young Italian-American in Empire City, his name is Vito Scaletta and he’s the playable protagonist. When you start off playing the game, you get Vito’s background, where you’re told he came to America as an immigrant with his family from Sicily. Vito falls in with a bit of a rough group and through his association with them, he ends up shipped off to war rather than doing prison time. This is where you learn the movements and controls of playing as Vito and the war scenes are pretty unusual and set-up the atmosphere for the early part of the game which is set during war time.
When Vito’s buddy Jo manages to get him some fake discharge papers to get him out of the army, he of course gets deeper into the life of petty crime, eventually moving into the higher ranks of assault, assassination and more. This takes place in the game through a variety of story-based missions that have you driving some cool 1940’s and 1950’s cars, using some old-style weapons and running around some very stylishly designed areas of Empire City. There are also the expected melee missions where you need to beat up some Empire City residents and although for me this slowed the game down a little, it wasn’t enough to ruin it.
One of the most impressive aspects of Mafia II is the graphics and the sound. The graphics are beautifully made with a real atmospheric feel to them for Empire City. When you start off the game, it’s snowing and there’s lovely snow effects dotted around adding to the mystery of the city. As you move through different seasons, one of the most memorable is the fog which makes it difficult to see, but adds to the feel of the game. There is some pop-up issues where cars or buildings will suddenly appear and that’s a little disappointing, but again, not enough to ruin the experience of the game.
The characters are well-crafted, although the female characters don’t seem to have as much care or thought put into them as the male characters. Needless to say this shouldn’t be a surprise since the title is hardly female friendly. Most female in-game characters are either prostitutes or bar sluts, other than Vito’s sister who’s a bit of an idiot that supports her abusive husband. Needless to say there is no lesbian content and women overall are portrayed as sex objects, with even the in game collectibles being that of Playboy magazines featuring full screen naked women, seemingly there for no apparent reason other than for titillation purposes. This is a bit of a shame as it brings the class of the title down somewhat.
The sound in Mafia II is what makes this game one of the most enjoyable of it’s type on the market at the moment. It has an authentic 1940’s and 1950’s soundtrack and it brings great joy to play the game with the music adding to the vibe. When you steal or ‘obtain’ certain vehicles in the game, they’ll be tuned to certain radio stations. This is when you start to hear a bunch of songs that are authentic to the time and it really add to the game. It’s fascinating to hear so many old style songs that were so obviously about sex, but with masked lyrics, pretty amusing. The radio broadcasts are great and give a little insight into what they would have been like during the war and the voice acting is top notch also.
Overall, Mafia II is an excellent title. It’s one of those games that if you enjoy relatively linear task based games, it should be high on your purchase list. The storyline, characters and gameplay may not be totally original, but it doesn’t matter. Mafia II has the ‘it’ factor where you want to keep playing until you finish the game. The music, setting and atmosphere is spot on and will keep you going through the 15 chapters of the game. Definitely worth getting now!
Mafia II is an excellent title. If you met this in a bar you would want to hire that U-Haul and move it in. It has longevity and the two of you will go on some cool adventures together, even if those adventures involve listening to Bing Crosby as you drive over to ice someone.
This is all about being tough. This is definitely a Helena in Prison situation. Hot, tough, good to look at and sounds awesome.