I used to love playing the first game when i was younger when it was first released, although most of my families computers tended to disagree with the game and crashed every so often. The game had 3 game modes, first you have the story mode, which is pretty straight forward, set out in chapters that you unlock as you progress and tells a fairly good story, the game shows off its state of the art graphics and game engine at the time as it was the best game graphically of its time, i mean really good, your talking bubbles for smoke when someone’s smoking a cigar… Anyway, then there is the “Free Ride” game mode, basically you are free to roam around the city and its massive county side, you unlocked more of the city and more of the countryside as well as vehicles as you progressed through the campaign, so you where being rewarded in a way for playing the game, apart from killing gangsters to earn money to buy weapons and fix up and refuel your cars, that’s about all you get in the Free Ride mode. However i feel that this was done deliberately and is made up for in our third type of play, “Free Ride Extreme” this is unlocked after you beat the story, in this game mode you where given a house with a large garage/garden that you could use to store cars that you unlocked by playing through mini missions and mini games, there where lots of things to do in this game mode, except you couldn’t explore the countryside. This game had lots of content after the main story was over that kept users playing for hours.
Anyway on to Mafia 2. When i first saw this game in development i didn’t think that i would like it that much, i thought that too much had been changed, i tried the demo and i didn’t like it, but something still made me buy the full game on release, i don’t know what was different about it but i wasn’t disappointed with the outcome. The basic elements of the original game are still in there, the fuel system, the police and diversity of the map which uses an open world system where the entire city is loaded up and everything progresses even if you aren’t there, what you do has an effect on the environment around you. For example, if you go to a clothes store and you rob the store, police will show up at the scene regardless of if you are there or not, they will carry out a conversation and an investigation regardless of where you are, if you return later on that shop will be closed and taped up with police crime scene tape which you can rip down and enter the shop. Alternatively if you go back slightly early you can catch the police whilst they are still there and witnesses will point you out, resulting in a police chase.
I found the main storyline to be quite gripping, always wanting to know what will happen next. You play a character called Vito, a former war veteran who returns at Christmas to see his parents, and is greeted by his childhood friend Joe. Joe manages to pull a few strings so that Vito doesn’t have to go back into the army and the story escalates from there as they try to earn money to make better lives for themselves. The characters are played very well and you get a good view of what they are like, and there is quite a lot of comedy in the game that makes it more fun as you progress but at the same time the game increases in seriousness as Vito and Joe get dragged deeper and deeper in to the mafia business to the point that it almost costs them their lives and friendship. The storyline isn’t as gripping as the first Mafia in my opinion, where you are brought into a family, build friendships and have a brilliant life, only to have it ripped away from you right at the end in the form of betrayal and backstabbing as you realize that all is not what it seems, the ending of that game i will never forget. And right there is where the game gets linked into Mafia 2. If you have played it you will know what i mean.
The police on the game will try to either arrest you, fine you or kill you based on what sort of crime you commit. For example, if you are caught speeding police they will follow you and pull you over, ask you to step out of the vehicle to pay a fine, at this point as with any other minor crime you have 2 options, run away or pay the fine. When the police want to arrest you, you can either resist arrest or bribe the officer to let you go, if you cant afford it, i think you have no choice but to resist. (i don’t know as I’ve always been able to afford a bribe). It was similar in the original Mafia only the police got you for running red lights and you couldn’t resist arrest, once you where caught that was it. Also when you received fines they remembered it, so if you got a second fine you’d be warned that the next time you will be arrested. The police don’t just chase you either, you can be walking down the street and a police car will speed past you to go to a crime scene elsewhere. When out running the police you would need to change clothes or vehicles, your car will always be on the wanted list unless you change its plates or colour.
I will talk about the game play a bit more later, next we get on to the graphics. This game has probably some of the best graphics that i have seen in a game, i always have 50-60fps with a HD 6850 GPU, the only way you can truly admire the quality of the graphics is to play the game and see it for your self, no YouTube video can ever do it justice, during the game you will be in several different weather environments, from snow to rain to sun, each has a drastic effect on the driving conditions of the game. The level of realism and detail put into the game is truly mind blowing, and i often thing to myself, “No wonder it took them about 8 years to make the game” when driving on the roads, if you move from one road surface to another, for example driving on concrete to driving on cobbled roads, you will certainly notice the difference, there will be a lot more wheel spin and the car will skid a lot more on the cobbled roads than it would normally do, same for on grass and gravel, and when you are driving in the snow.
The driving system itself is also a very good system, there are 2 modes you can choose from in the settings. Normal mode, which is just ordinary driving. And simulated driving, with simulated driving, the game tries to do just that, simulate real driving conditions, for example driving on snowy icy roads would be a lot more difficult depending on the car, if you where in a sports car you cant just floor it, that results in massive amounts of wheel spinning, driving slow is advisable, taking corners slowly and braking early. Its also a lot of fun spinning out in the snow and ice, skidding everywhere. There is a fuel system in the game as well, so you have to refuel your cars the more you drive them, in the first Mafia you could puncher your fuel tank which meant your car would run out of fuel a lot quicker, this function has been removed in Mafia 2 which i found to be a little disappointing. You can open all the doors of your car, turn your lights on and off, open and close your hood and trunk, although you cant store things in it. If your engine gets damaged too much it will stall, and you have to get out, open the hood and try and fix it, which can add to the realism if this happens during a gunfight. When driving at high speeds the slightest little bump or knock can be devastating to you. you could be driving along the highway at 80mph and scrape the side of a barrier and you will loose control of your car resulting in a crash, this can effect cars around you causing a pile up.
The pedestrians are realistic as well, they will stop and have conversations with each other, comment on your characters appearance and actions, visit shops, buy things and return home, i walked past one guy when it was snowy, and he slipped on the ice and fell on his ass, looked around, got up and continued on. There’s a particular mission where you are walking through a sewer and end up covered in sewage, when you walk past pedestrians or enter shops, they comment on it, say things like “What is that awful smell”. I also like the combat system in the game. you can take cover behind pretty much anything, and the enemies will move around a lot t make it more difficult to kill them, you can try and flank them but you have to do it progressively, you cant just run behind them and get them, they keep their backs covered and make sure you stay behind cover, so you have to move from cover to cover slowly to flank them, you can guarantee at one point you will be pinned down and it will be hard to get out of that situation. I remember one particular time when i was being chased by the police and ended up pinned down behind the counter of a gun shop, which meant that weapons and ammo weren’t an issue because when you ran out you could just pick up a new weapon and more ammo from the counters and shelves, the police will try and trap you in there, and you can pin them down outside, eventually it will result in the shop being trashed from gunfire, and either you survive or they do. When driving around you will see certain things, such as car crashes, each driver will stop after the accident and get out, maybe have a go at each other then continue on their way, which i personally find amusing.
The map of the game is huge, although not as big as id have liked, there’s this whole area of countryside around the perimeter of the city that you cant access, unlike the first Mafia where there is a huge countryside for your to explore with lots of country roads to drive down and even some off-roading areas. I think some if this will be unlocked in future DLC as in the Joe’s Adventure DLC there’s a new part of the map that you can have access to, but its not much really you just get a few extra roads up in the hills. There is no Free Ride mode like there is in the first Mafia, instead you are free to roam around as you please between objectives, do what you like buy any weapons and clothing you can afford, visit shops, eat, drink, hunt for playboy magazines or Easter eggs, or annoy the police.
I don’t like the 2 DLC packs for the game that much, Joes Adventure takes place whilst Vito is in prison, he’s trying to get to the bottom of why he wasn’t helped out of prison, who ratted on him and seek revenge. The other DLC is called Jimmy’s Vendetta, you play a criminal called Jimmy who breaks out of the prison and is out to seek revenge on those who put him in there. I didn’t really find this storyline very engaging, and the way the missions are done gives it a somewhat Grand Theft Auto feel, you have to go to various contacts on your maps to trigger missions and you rack up points for stunts and crimes you commit that get posted on the Steam leader boards.
There are some down parts of the game but i fail to see many, a few things could have been done differently, but i am too impressed with it to complain. If you haven’t done so already, i encourage you to buy the game, please note it is a steam exclusive (just in case you love or hate steam like one person i know) And if you enjoyed reading this, please like the post and comment below.