Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mafia II| Review

Synopsis: Mafia II has recently released and 2K Games sent us over a copy to get us hooked on the sequel to the original organized crime title that engaged over two million gamers. Though this is not your typical sandbox title, it manages to change things up with its cinematic style, story, and gameplay behind becoming a made man. You play through this game as Vito, son of an immigrant, beaten and short on his luck trying to make a name for himself living the American Dream, leaving the poverty he grew up with behind him. With criminal backgrounds, you and your childhood friend, Joe, find a way into the organized crime world to prove yourselves and work your way into one of the local families.

Praise: This game is like playing through a movie, as it is visually stunning and fires on all cylinders. On top of the graphics is a solid, engaging story that hooks you from the beginning and keeps your attention with a number of twists from start to finish, accompanied by a soundtrack featuring artists from the 40’s and 50’s to make you feel like you are in this era. 2K really did their research to have this accurate looking environment from cars and fashion to the way people talked and hot topics from that time, like World War II. The gameplay is nice and smooth, whether you are fist fighting or in a shootout, while controls handle generally the same as other sandbox titles, so it doesn’t take long to get the hang of. There is a small amount of customization available throughout the game such as your ability to go and purchase outfits and weapons, along with the option to tuning, painting, and storing your car in a garage which houses multiple vehicles of your choice. Lastly, throughout the game are Playboy magazines, which show centerfolds from those decades in high def, unfortunately, there are no articles.

Gripes: Though I did make it sound like there isn’t anything wrong, there were some things that made “my” list. The number one issue on the list is the amount of driving, there is a lot, possibly too much as it seems you drive for five to ten minutes to complete a short task and then have to drive all the way back to your place for sleep before starting the next mission. This game also has its share of bugs and glitches, one which made me miss an entire mission and others screen freezes when the game appeared to be loading while driving. Without giving away the story, I had gotten into my car with my buddy Joe and as we get in and start driving to the checkpoint, the conversation immediately changed from where we were heading to what had supposedly happened and to head back home. Lastly, it is way too easy to become wanted by the police and rather than surrendering, losing mass amounts of cash, or running, making you more wanted, it is easier and faster to open fire and get killed by the cops, leaving you to restart not to far back without penalty.

Overall, 2K Games did something they do really well, perhaps better than most, by providing a cinematic experience in video game form through a well written story, attention to detail, and just producing a fun and engaging game to play. While it is not perfect, very few come even this close to being as fun, it does offer a lot to both fans of sandbox titles and mafia movies alike. With the upcoming DLC coming out, Mafia II will have you assuming the role of Vito for a while.

Mashbuttons.com gives Mafia II an 8 out of 10.

Mafia II is available now for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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