review
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POSTED 8/9/10


MAFIA II

2K Games
PS3 (also on Xbox 360, PC)

We were going to open with a Tony Soprano quote, but we couldn’t decide which one. Also, associating The Sopranos – a true TV masterpiece – with Mafia II isn’t particularly fair.

That’s not to disrespect this latest creation from 2K, 'cos they give fine mobster story. All too often games have great premises and gameplay, but are lumbered with stories that a six-year-old could have plopped out during playlunch. This tale of Vito Scaletta, the young Sicilian whose life is in your hands, may have more than the odd Mafioso stereotype happening, but the same could be said of magnificent mob movies like Goodfellas and Miller’s Crossing. We’ll spare the first two Godfather flicks, ’cos they pretty much put all the clichés out there to begin with…

So, whilst we’re not generally fans of gobs of cutscenes in games, those that feature here – regularly - work well as entertainment in their own right. Phew.

It’s all set in the 1940s and 1950s, where we follow Vito from money aspirations to mob immersion in the fictional Empire City (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Noo Yawk). Far from being a free-roaming sandbox experience as many expected, the game is decidedly linear. There’s nothing of consequence as side missions unless you’re a trophy whore, but there’s still plenty of variety, with driving, shooting, fisticuffs, nicking vehicles, sourcing snappy suits and such. You can also collect old Playboy magazines if you like the boobies and dat.

Even if the story doesn't grab you, the detailed world 2K has created – the fashions, the divine autos and, in particular, the radio announcements and playlists - really slurps you in. That Vito gives damned fine antihero doesn’t hurt, either.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.