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Xbox 360 Game Review

Mafia II


Format: Xbox 360
2K Games
RRP: £49.99
5 026555 247634
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 27 August 2010

Born the son of a poor immigrant, Vito is a beaten down Italian American who is trying to secure his piece of the American Dream. Looking to escape the life of poverty that consumed his childhood, Vito is soon swayed by the lure of power and wealth that a life of organized crime can bring. A petty criminal his whole life, Vito, along with his childhood friend, Joe, will descend into the world of organized crime. Together, they will work to prove themselves to the Mob as they try to make their names on the streets of a cold and unforgiving city...

Mafia II looks, at first glance, like a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) clone. It's not. And while it looks great, it soon becomes evident that there's not a whole lot of playability here.

You start the game playing Vito as he is sent off to war. This segment of the game is used as a tutorial to get you used to the controls (although why grenades are used I'm not sure as I haven't come across them in the game proper yet).

The rest of the game is made up of different segments as you work your way through the ranks of the Mafia. You are introduced to crime through your oldest friend Joe and must complete various jobs by driving around the city. The environment here is winter in the '40s complete with authentic vehicles and music of the times blasting out over the various radio stations you can chose from. Next up you're whisked off to jail where you learn how to fight a little better. Then we're back to the city but now it's the '50s - again with authentic music and vehicles.

While the story line is intriguing enough the actual game play is a little dull. There seem to be element that have been borrowed from GTA that are totally wasted. For a start the game is simply a case of drive to point A, see some more of the story, drive to point B, have a fight, go to point C etc, until you start to tire of the fancy graphics and long for a bit of free roaming. Having said that, you can cruise the city and there are people and places you've met where you should be able to get additional side jobs. However, whenever I turned up on their doorstep they told me they had no work for me. So I'm assuming they never have side jobs.

Every now and then there's an interesting mission where you can whip out your arsenal of weapons to waste some bad guys. But these segments are few and far between, not to mention incredibly easy.

As you play through the games there are various collectables to be found - including adult magazines, each of which gives you access to a collectable nude glamour model picture of the era (50 to collect).

What is interesting about this game is the attention to detail in the background graphic. The pigeons/doves that land on traffic lights and other areas are well realised, as is the general look and feel of the city as you drive around. The other drivers AI is also worthy of note. Honk your horn and the majority of other drivers will get out of your way. And if you're parked in the way other motorists will simply drive around you or flash their lights and honk their horn at you. Also occasionally you'll see slight accidents happen and drivers get out of their vehicles and yell at each other.

Sadly the AI of the police is not quite what it could have been. It's very easy to lose the them when they are on your tail. And to make sure they lose interest in you it's simply a case of switching cars or changing your clothes.

It's such a shame, because this game could have been a lot better. Everything's there to make this a must buy. Sadly, someone forgot to add any real depth to the game play.


Darren Rea

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