|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 2K Czech||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: 2K Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 24, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
July 3, 2009 - Although 2002's Mafia flew directly under the radar, it was greatly praised for its sandbox-style of gameplay and dedication to period aesthetics. Although the first title may have gone largely unnoticed by the general public, it has still gotten the sequel treatment. Mafia II is a game that is all about telling a story, and we recently got to see a live demo of a key sequence early on in the game.
Mafia II is set up like most gangster movies, with the main character, Vito, coming from a poor immigrant family and wanting to escape his squalid past. He has just returned home from fighting in the Second World War, and since he has become accustomed to killing, the mob scoops him right up to join their ranks.
The game's format will be a lot similar to other sandbox-style games, and you will have to run around to various mob bosses and perform missions for them. The mission we saw demoed involved an overweight hoodlum known as The Fat Man who was running an illegal distillery on mob turf without paying his protection money. Vito and the gang are called in to dispose of the guy, but as is often the case, the job is not as simple as shooting someone from a nearby window.
The action sequences in Mafia II are all handled through a third-person system, and the shooting mechanic works very similarly to that seen in GTA IV. Taking down enemies is fairly easy, but finding cover is also very important to make sure Vito stays alive. In the demo, the Fat Man ran into his distillery, and we watched as Vito shot his way through tens of enemies who were tasked with protecting the Fat Man.
However, once our man and his two associates caught up with the Fat Man, it was game over for him. But in true mob style, before the lights went out, the Fat Man had one parting shot for one of our companions, and he ended up shooting him right in the leg. The mission then evolves beyond killing the Fat Man, as now we must get our associate to a special gang-related doctor.
This is where the presentation ended. There were a lot of things that stood out about the game, but I have to say that I was most impressed with the game's period aesthetics. The portion of the game we were watching took place in the years following World War II, and everything from the car models to the design of the architecture exuded the post-war era. As Vito's story progresses, we will also see the world of Mafia II evolve and change, and it was clear that great pains were taken to ensure that this game's look represented the historical setting.
The gunplay also looked very solid, and the 2K representative executing the demo showed off how easy it was to take out enemies with basic shooting skills. There was also a decent cover system that allowed Vito to hide behind crates as well as other small objects. The one thing noticeably missing from the gameplay demo was an in-game HUD identifying enemies, but we were told that the game was not far enough in development for a real HUD to be displayed.
From what we saw, Mafia II is coming along quite nicely, and the engaging narrative looks like it will definitely be the centerpiece of the title. However, the open-world level design as well as historically accurate setting will really add to the deep immersion value of Mafia II. Though the game looks promising at this stage, unfortunately there is no firm release yet, and we won't expect this one to drop until at least next year.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor