Video Game Review – MAFIA II (ps3)

Many years ago I played the first MAFIA game on PC. (Yes, I use to play PC Games! That’s how long ago I’ve been waiting for the sequel.)

So, expectations are high for MAFIA II, an open-world third-person shooter/vehicle game that compares mostly with the Grand Theft Auto series, in terms of game-play, narrative and atmosphere.

Let’s start with the positives. The storyline is the clear focus of the game, with the characters, situations and dialogue somewhat one half “cliche”, the other half “homage” to many gangster films, real life crime and other popular culture. The voice acting is especially enjoyable, and the overall audio atmosphere a highlight.

The game has two distinct halves. The bleak winter snow early/mid 1940s world war II area, before the vibrant, bright early-1950s period. The mission that splits between these two halves is among the most startling and unexpected gaming experiences ever. I’m sure some will hate that mission, but I found it the perfect break and change of game-play and what the story really required.

The latter half missions are exciting and epic. The gun-play combat is certainly the heart and soul of the game.

I do have several criticisms. These are truly minor, but do hamper the game from achieving its potential. There is really not much to do outside of the narrative missions, despite the open-world nature of the map, apart from searching for collectible in-game posters and perhaps buy some new clothes and steal some vehicles. Also, the lack of motorbikes is a bit disappointing, and perhaps suggests a lack of coding ability from the developers, though it can be acknowledged that this form of vehicles drew to more popularity in the latter part of the 1950s decade.

It took me just over 12 hours to complete the entire storyline missions on HARD mode. A little shorter than expected, but still plenty to keep busy and do. The story dictates this length, thus its probably appropriate, and adding in extra missions would have just come across as unnecessary padding.

I enjoyed Mafia II, but it didn’t set new heights in gaming and could easily be over-looked. I’m glad I made the journey, but I would have liked to stay longer.

score: 7.5 out of 10.



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