EB 7/10

The Awesome – 1950’s setting, The Mob, Graphics, Sountrack

The Not So Awesome – Too much driving, Short

Now that I’ve plowed through Killzone 3 and Bulletstorm I’ve gotten back to playing some of my rentals from Gamefly.  In particular, I’ve started playing Mafia II from 2K Games.  I never played the first one, and I’m only playing this one because I read some good things about it a few months ago, so I decided to add it to my GameQ.  So I finally received it from Gamefly a week ago, and I must say that I’m thoroughly enjoying it!  It’s too bad that I can’t get new games when they’re released from Gamefly, because Mafia II deserved to have my thoughts on it delivered in a timely manner and not months down the road.

I don’t want to do a full on review, because let’s face it, this game came out back in 2010, so who really gives a sh*t about it anymore?  But it does deserve a second look if you were on the fence about it back when it released, so maybe I can help push you over to one side or the other.

Mafia II is a Mob game set during the 40’s and 50’s that follows the open world format of games like GTA, and it’s various clones.  You take on the role of Vito, a young Scillian fresh off a tour in WWII, who is looking for ways to make some cash now that he’s back in the U.S..  Surprisingly enough this young Guido eventually starts working for some “Wiseguys”, and is tasked with the typical jobs a mob underling may have.  These make up a bulk of the gameplay, so early on you mainly rough up people for cash and steal sh*t.  Eventually your new career can lead to other roles within the Mafia, but I’m still in the game’s early stages, so I can’t really comment on that aspect of Mafia II.

Basically, you drive around Empire City and knock off missions in pretty much the same way you’ve done in other sandbox style of games.  Instead of a present time setting like GTA, you’re in the hay day of organized crime back in the middle parts of the 1900’s.  I’m enjoying this time period’s settings as it’s much different than some of the more recent open world titles.  Typically, games like this lose my interest very quickly because there’s so much going on that it starts to feel like work, but Mafia II doesn’t seem to throw all of the BS side quests at you so I haven’t tuned yet.

My one complaint is that it gets kind of monotonous driving from one objective to another.  I’d much rather use the map for some quick traveling, because I don’t find much enjoyment in driving from one objective to the next.  It feels like Mafia II put too much emphasis on driving, which I’d rather do in a DRIVING game, not a mob game!  It’s not that big of a deal, but sometimes I’d rather just bounce from quest to quest without having to take a 3-5 minute car ride first.

Outside of driving around you mainly complete the usual stable of sandbox style missions such as escorting people, dropping of money, beating up a target, and more.  I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I’m enjoying these mundane tasks.  I think it’s the fact that Mafia II doesn’t slam you with a bunch of random side quests, and it actually feels like you’re progressing.  This is something I usually miss from games like GTA, because I feel like there’s so much to do outside of the main quest that I get lost in my own head and give up.  I haven’t really felt that while playing Mafia II because each chapter progresses fairly quick, and there’s not that much going on outside of the quests to keep you busy.  I guess what I’m saying is that I like my games to accommodate my laziness, and Mafia II seems to fit the bill so far.

Now all of the driving does bother me, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad to look at.  Mafia II has a great vintage look to it that we don’t see in games very often.  It’s a great time period piece, and the folks over at 2K have done a great job re-creating the look of 1940s-50s New York.  The character models look pretty damn good, and both the in-game action and scripted scenes look on par with most of today’s titles.  I had no issues with how Mafia II looks whatsoever.  Plus, the soundtrack to accompany this great looking game reminds me of some of those catchy songs heard in Fallout 3.  For some reason I dig those Big Band tunes, so the Mafia II soundtrack is right up my alley.

I wouldn’t say Mafia II is worth a purchase unless you can get it for $2o bones, but it’s definitely worth a rental.  It has an open world feel, but not in a way that you’ll get easily distracted from the main story.  The 1950’s setting is a nice change of pace from all of the futuristic, or present time looks, for most games that come out these days.  I didn’t really find any of the gameplay to be too frustrating, so you won’t find yourself biting your fingers or smashing controllers while playing it.  Mafia II also seems to have a very attainable list of cheves, so if you’re looking to add some points to your gamer score without busting your balls too much, then this game should go on your list.  I give it an EB 7/10.

It’s definitely worth renting, but don’t pay anymore than $20 for it if you have to own it.  Mafia II is a great filler to take up some time in between the next big releases of 2011.  It shouldn’t take you more than 8 hours to complete, so it’s a great way to play a new game and score some cheves quick!  You’ve been wanting to become a Made Man in some form or fashion…

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Tags : gamingImpressionsXbox360
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.