Mafia 2 |Flashback Review
Mafia 2 was a game released in August 2010 for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. 2K Games really did a number on this one hitting all the right notes and created one of – if not the best – mafia games of all time. I’ve always been interested in gangster (and by gangster I mean Mafia) movies and games. I’ve particularly enjoyed the Wii’s Godfather: Blackhand Edition but nothing will be as good as playing Mafia 2. At the time of release, I didn’t even know there was a Mafia 1 in the first place but fortunately, Mafia 2’s story has nothing to do with its previous title.
Just looking at the cover art and the trailers should give you a good idea of what you’ll be doing in the game. Of course when I look back on the game’s visuals now, it being a 2010 title and all, they can’t compare to games like Crysis 3 and GTA V, but for 2010, to put in good graphics and visuals like it did, it was a huge plus for the game. Mafia 2 was probably the best looking mafia game I’ve ever played. One of the biggest attractions of the game is the City. Empire Bay is just filled with many sights to see that will put you right in 1940s New York. The city is bustling with pedestrians, police and other gang members. It was such a shame that there wasn’t enough to do in the awesome setting that is Empire Bay. Especially since you’ll be doing a lot of driving in the game. This city is just begging to be explored. The most that you can do during free-roam in this game is shop for new clothes and buy new guns. Other than that, there’s not much to do.
Along with the nice blooming and vibrant visuals comes the gripping story. You play as Vito, just your “average Joe” who came back from the war and is trying to make a living by doing mafia work with his best friend, Joe. What makes Vito such a fun character to play and watch develop is that he’s always torn between his familia and his actual family. Throughout the game we see Vito start to question what he has become and if it’s been really all for good or not. You slowly climb up the ranks of the mafia ladder doing small time jobs like jewelry heists to making hits simply because you’re told to. Also, a great character is not much without brilliant voice work. A lot of the characters have been well-voiced and they sound very real and authentic. You get emotionally invested into the game because you care about the well being of Vito and his buddy Joe. The biggest draw to this amazing game is definitely the riveting story.
Like I said before, you’re going to be driving most of the time you’re there. Most of them are just dull and boring escort missions where you have to take person A to location B but the game finds ways to give these escort missions a sense of urgency. There are about 20 chapters in the game, some short and others that are lengthier. You get objectives after objectives until the mission is complete and this feels a little too linear when all you want to be doing is explore the city. There is also hand to hand combat in mafia 2. The melee combat works really well as you have to string up light and heavy attacks followed by a finishing blow in the form of quick time events. It might not seem like much, but it was a good enough fighting mechanic in 2010. Oh, and there’s always the go-somewhere-crowded-and-kill-everyone approach that’s fun in most sandbox games.
Gunplay however is the funnest part of the Mafia 2 gameplay. there are a wide selection of guns you can choose from, from the infamous Tommy Gun to the old fashioned Revolver. The sound effects of the guns are excellent and are close to what they are in real life. You feel the blowback after every shot. There’s also a nice cover system that generally works. However, I didn’t find the AI to be too smart on its decisions, often running right into the field of fire. An upside to that is you can create a badass sequence where you slowly walk forward while firing away your SMG.
The awesome visuals, excellent gunplay and riveting story of a guy making his way into the mafia, Mafia 2 is worth re-playing even now! It’s definitely one of the gems of 2010 and the best mafia game out to date.