Mafia 2 Review
Despite it being deceptively linear, Mafia II is a great story-driven shooter that retains, for the most part, both the feel and quality of the original
Posted by Tim R (with_teeth26) on Sep 2, 2010 - 8:46pm EST (Sep 2, 2010 20:46)
When playing Mafia II, much of your time is divided among driving, shooting, hand-to-hand fighting and stealth sections. All of these are done very well and combine to give the game very solid gameplay. Unfortunately the 4 staples of Mafia II’s gameplay are not received in equal measures which would probably improve the pacing of the game; rather much of your time will be spent driving, while the other three activities are only done in certain missions.
Even gangsters need to clean toilets
Luckily the driving is fantastic. You have the option to turn driving on ‘normal’ or ‘simulation,’ the former having the cars handle in more of an arcade style while the latter has the cars handling realistically. Everyone should put the driving on Simulation for the most part, since this mode of driving is done so well – the cars in the snowy 40’s are sluggish, slow to turn, and susceptible to slipping and sliding on the icy roads. When the clock moves forwards to the 50’s, the cars are faster, slicker and easier to handle. Since the cars are so much fun to drive, especially in simulation mode, the lengthy driving segments are rarely tiresome, especially when spruced up with car chases or urgent objectives like driving a body into the suburbs to bury it while your drunken friends roar with laughter in the back seat.
Also making the many driving segments more interesting is the ruthless and realistic police system – which is arguably the best in any open world game. The police are almost as unforgiving as they were in Mafia 1 – speeding, car-crashes and other seemingly minor offenses are punished with a ticket which you can choose to pay. More serious offenses like killing people will have the police wanting to arrest you, although you can still bribe them into your freedom. If you kill a cop, they will stop at nothing to find and kill you. If you steal a car, the police will take note of the license plate so that if you are seen again in the same car they will give chase – unless, of course, you change the license plate at a garage. If you are caught on foot committing a crime, you must change your clothes in order to escape the police.
Paying for tickets is often easier than running away
When it gets down to firefights, either with the police or in a mission, Mafia II has seen a number of significant changes and improvements since the original. There is a great cover system now, which is similar to what you would find in almost any modern third person shooter; your health regenerates, but each time you get shot it doesn’t regenerate quite as high. There is also a good deal of destructible cover, especially if you turn on Agea Phyx, which means you need to move around during fire fights. The gunplay is tight, and the enemy AI is pretty good, making each fight intense and highly enjoyable. I found myself being flanked on a number of occasions, and seeing as how you go down with a single shotgun blast, you need to stay on your toes. The guns sound and feel great, from the tinny rattle of the grease gun to the explosive boom of the pump-action shotgun. You have a much greater arsenal of weapons this time around, and they all feel different. This is probably the area that has seen the most change, and the most improvement, since the original game.