This game instills in you a certain feeling, and that feeling is one of not quite being in control of any given situation. For a game of this nature, that's a double-edged sword. For the most part, it works out just fine. Sometimes, though, you're left wishing you had a bit more control over what happens to your character. In this day and age when sandbox-style, open-ended games are all the craze, it's kind of surprising.
So in Mafia 2 you play as a Wiseguy in 1945 Empire Bay (which is basically a fancy fake name for New York City). The thing that appealed to me right away was the painful attention to detail the developers put into ensuring you really felt as though you'd just been dropped into the year 1945, but at the same time made the city feel alive.
The thing that stuck with me the most was the radio stations. All the music matched the period. And, in the pre-prison 1945 gameplay, the music was often interrupted with news about how the Allies were faring in World War II in Europe.
They just added so much to this game to add a bit of flavor and life to it. For all you self-respecting straight males out there, there are Playboy magazines randomly strewn about the city for you to find and collect. Just like the one Steve here is reading.
So right. On to the story. First things first: It's too damned short. For a game that has drawn SO many comparison to the Grand Theft Auto series, this game is about 1/4 the length of a typical GTA game, and a lot less open-ended. I can understand the limited open-endedness. If that's how you want to make your game, then fine. You'll find no side missions here, nor any real reason to go randomly exploring. You can steal any car and rob any shop, but none of these activities provides a unique feeling, nor gives you anything terribly worthwhile.
The missions, however, are exuberantly entertaining. If you go into this game with the knowledge that you'll basically be playing a linear, gangster-based third-person shooter, you will be quite pleased. This is where the game shines.
This game borrows every cool thing it can from just about every mobster movie ever made, including but not limited to the Godfather films and Goodfellas.
There will be an incredible amount of killing and stealing. Lots. Lots and lots.
And, sometimes, your friends are the ones who are killed.
I would have liked a bit more character development, but there was a enough to get me engaged in the main story and actually want to know what happens.
Bottom line though — if you're looking to do a hell of a lot of shooting, a hell of a lot of stealing, and a hell of a lot of car stealing…and look great while doing it (see below), then this is the game for you.
Now playing: The Temper Trap - Fader
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