If you have ever seen Goodfellas, The Godfather or Casino you will be in familiar territory here – Mafia II is a third-person all-action gangster simulator that allows you to live out all of those pent-up Mafioso fantasies from the comfort of your living room. After the success of the first Mafia game, this time around you are treated to a more involved storyline, larger game world and greater variety of weapons and vehicles to make use of as you bid to take over Empire City –the games fictional version of New York City.
You play the role of an Italian who ends up on the wrong side of the law as he grows up in the ghettos of a tough neighbourhood. Soon he is arrested but instead of simply going to jail, he is enlisted to help the United States war effort. When his tour of duty is cut short by a bullet wound, he returns home to discover his new-found skills can be put to good use in the criminal underworld.
The game engine looks very similar to titles such as Grand Theft Auto. It is third-person action/adventure game where you have to complete various missions in order to progress. There are 15 missions all in all, and they range from gunfights to carjacking and contract killing – everything you would expect an aspiring member of the mafia to be doing really.
The games level of presentation really is stunning, with some truly jaw-dropping attention to detail on offer here. The voice acting is spot on, the American accents sound great and you really feel that you are immersed in a story that could be taken from a Robert De Niro film. The in-game music as well deserves a special mention, all of the songs featured are true to the time, and are the icing on the already rich cake.
Everything about Mafia II works so perfectly; be it shooting, driving or interacting with various objects, it is very hard to find fault with this game. I guess if you really wanted to be picky, you could say that the game world isn’t the free-flowing open world you may at first think – in fact the game is structured and you are not granted any freedom in terms of which missions you carry out. But then again it never promised to be a GTA-clone, and stands up on its own right as a modern day classic.
I simply cannot praise this game enough – if you are a fan of the gangster genre or not, you are sure to be mightily impressed by Mafia II. Gather the boys up and head to your nearest games shop today for a copy…