Customer Reviews: Mafia II [Download]
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Platform: PC Download|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$12.73 - $328.27
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on August 29, 2010
Opinions on this game have certainly proven to be as divisive as the initial reaction to the original Mafia in 2002, right down to the 4/10 Eurogamer review. It's understandable because while Mafia 2 does far more right than it does wrong, the wrongs are difficult to ignore.

Mafia 2 is a linear story-driven game set in the 1940s-1950s with an open world city as a backdrop for immersion purposes. This game is not a GTA4 clone and has never advertised itself to be one, any expectations for it to be so are entirely the fault of uninformed gamers. The city is about 10 square miles in size and highly detailed, it's a beautiful recreation of the time period and the devs use it effectively during certain story segments to give the impression of a city evolving with time. There are gas stations, clothing stores, diners, gun shops, body shops and a scrap yard/docking area to interact with throughout the game, along with different living residences depending on where you are during the storyline and locations that only open for missions. You will not find GTA-like mini games like throwing darts or anything like that, but that doesn't mean the open city is devoid of things to do. You can steal cars in multiple ways (breaking the window, picking the lock, or even shooting the lock) then take them to a body shop to change the plates and paint color to legalize it, then customize it further through engine upgrades for better handling and changing the tires for looks. You can pick fights with the various gangs that have established holds on various parts of the city, rob stores, or anger the police to see how long you can hold out. Just like the original Mafia, the city is all about creating immersion and giving opportunity for the player to create their own experiences rather than fill it with mini-games.

Mafia 2's story runs anywhere from 8-15 hours of game time, depending on difficulty level and how quickly you move through it. You play as Vito and are often accompanied by his childhood friend Joe, and spend most of the game in some state of proving yourself to one of the Mafia families in Empire Bay. My initial impression of the story wasn't a good one, but after playing it again it finally hit me what the story was about and my opinion changed drastically. Unlike Mafia 1, this is not a rags to riches story and this is not about the fall of an honorable man. Vito is not Tommy and he's not meant to be. Vito is a guy that is entirely driven by not becoming a loser dockworker like his father: he wants money, cars, women, the nice house, and the nice clothes. To him everything hinges on possessions and thus everything and everyone becomes possessions to him. It's the story of a destructive, selfish man who goes out and takes what he wants and how that devastates everyone around him. I really, really enjoyed the story, including the ending I originally found abrupt, once I realized that.

There has been some criticism leveled at Mafia 2 for racism and sexism, but most of it is not being looked at properly. Yes, the main characters are racist and sexist and there isn't anybody there to tell them off for it...because this takes place in the '40s and early '50s, from largely uneducated, ignorant, poor characters involved with the Mafia. Their attitudes were normal for the time period, social circles, and social stature. And as already said, Vito views women the same way he views cars and money; they are things to be obtained, not people to establish relationships with.

Yes, there are vintage Playboy covers/centerfolds as optional collectibles in-game and feature the nudity you'd expect from them. These have earned quite a bit of ire and are used as support for the game being sexist, but I -- as a female gamer -- don't agree with it. For one, they are completely optional and very easy to miss even if you're looking for them. They don't float above the ground and spin and glow and have a "CLICK ME!" sign above them like collectibles in other games. Instead, they're stashed on desks or half-under beds and other places you'd expect someone to leave them. They blend in perfectly with the environment and look only slightly different from other decorations...they're practically pixel hunts. They don't offer any kind of tangible reward outside of an achievement and completion percentage that would force you to collect them if you didn't want to. They also tie in perfectly with Vito's attitude...he's *exactly* the type of guy that'd grab some poor late night security guard's dirty magazine while robbing the place, and reflects his view of everything being possessions. It's just like the other collectible, the Wanted Posters. Vito would be just as inclined to yank down Wanted Posters as he would steal Playboy mags, there's nothing random or out of place about them. If they were required to unlock guns or cars or something from a gameplay point of view, I'd understand the furor over them, but as is I have no problem with their implementation.

For better or worse the difficulty is nowhere near the original's occasionally punishing level, and veterans of the first will want to skip right to the Hard level to avoid falling asleep. I honestly can't imagine who they tuned the Easy/Normal difficulties for, as I am nowhere near an amazing third person shooter player but even I blazed through Normal as if nothing was even shooting back before turning it up. On Hard if you don't make use of the cover system you'll end up very dead very fast, usually within three shots from a typical pistol. The cover system is standard fare nowadays, if you've played Mass Effect 2 or Gears of War you'll be right at home. The shooting missions all take place in unique areas of the city that you normally don't have access to and the set pieces are great, but just like Mafia 1 you will spend a significant amount of time driving to and from locations, doing escort missions, drop off missions, and so on.

The amount of time spent in the car is both a blessing and a curse, as the city and music is all a fantastic experience, but it also means you get a lot of opportunities to see the quirky AI at work and some people are going to be annoyed at having to obey the speed limit or risk the police. Yes, while they've removed the requirement to stop at red lights, police will still come after you if they catch you speeding. They've added a kind of cruise control to keep your speed under control this time around if needed though. Some of the AI for the other motorists can be very strange. I had one civilian car randomly decide to slam into me on a bridge and send me plummeting to my demise, while another didn't acknowledge my existence and slammed into me and caused the police to chase me for a hit and run. On the other hand, there have been some pretty fantastic moments just watching the AI interact. One occurred while I was stopped at a red light (habit), and one car rear ended another. The victim jumped out of his car to drag the offending driver out to start pummeling him...not noticing the police car that witnessed the entire thing, who also jumped out to break up the fight and issue fines/arrests. Yes, the AI has flaws, but it's worth putting up with it's quirks to have completely unscripted moments like this occur.

So that's been a lot of praise, what went wrong?

It's mostly down to what seems to be cut or just plain held back content. The story is pretty short and there is no option for an after-the-story free roam, so you have to load up previous chapters and ignore current mission objectives to do so, which causes problems with the saving mechanics (more on that soon). Not having a free roam available is pretty hard to forgive, as this was in the original and worked great.

There is also a complete lack of side quests in Empire Bay...but the introductions and NPCs for them are suspiciously still present, and even tell you to come back later for more jobs that don't actually exist. These side missions were either outright cut due to time or held back to release as DLC packs. There are at least four NPCs that are prime candidates for future DLC that the game desperately needed to begin with, and it doesn't stop there. There are shockingly few available cars to steal and clothes to buy in game, so that makes it hard to see all of the pre-order exclusives held back. It's even to the point that one of the car models (the Hot-Rod in the Greaser pack) appears once in-game, and there is no possible way for you to store that car in your garage...even if you go to pains to get both the mission related car and it's variant out into the open world by using one car to push the other out of the mission zone. It's perfectly drivable, upgradeable, and everything else, but if you don't have the pre-order pack, too bad. Which is a real shame and feels like a really cheap move by 2K.

They also cut public transportation and melee weapons, along with all sorts of little touches (sitting down on benches or chairs, newspapers, all kinds of interactive stuff). The melee weapons are especially missed, as the fist-fights often feel very anemic and simple without them.

The save/check point system is also problematic. It's pretty much the mirror image of Mafia 1, but this is something that was a negative back then, too. They didn't need to implement quick saves, but a more thorough auto-save feature would have been a huge bonus. As it is, one of the AI drivers randomly sending you off a bridge can result in a lot of lost progress. In addition to the auto saves being sparse, which can make trying to do a free roam game difficult all by itself, reloading a previous chapter wipes your current progress. There are no save slots, so you either continue from your last auto-save, load up a previously played chapter (thus replacing the auto save), or start a new game (also replacing the auto save). This, quite frankly, sucks. It wouldn't be so bad if there was a free-roam mode unlocked after finishing the story, but add that to the skimpy amount of auto save points and no free roam mode and it's a major oversight.

I also really dislike the health regen mechanic. I realize that this was mostly a change made to try and appeal to the Halo-generation, but in a lot of ways it makes the diners almost useless. Between the regen, the free food at your home, and the auto-healing between chapters, it's very rare that you need to use the diners or food stands unless you're doing some free roam mischief. And (yes, I am harping about it) since there is no free roam mode, this is pretty glaring.

As a side note, Mafia 2 does use Steamworks as it's DRM, so there is no getting around attaching it to the Steam client even if you buy retail and negates whatever used market that still exists for PC games. Steamworks enables some very comprehensive stat tracking (including an amusing stat for time spent looking at Playboys), a smooth DLC store experience (even though you'll likely end up angry at what ends up there), and achievements for the OCD to collect. I do realize that it'll be a dealbreaker for some even if it doesn't bother me at all, but that is something everybody needs to decide for themselves. If you're unsure or have never used Steam before, you can try the demo and see how it works...just make sure to delete your progress on the demo before starting a new game on the full version, as there's a progress-related bug with the save data.

Despite some (pretty major) complaints, I still enjoyed the heck out of this game and recommend it if you enjoyed the first or are just a fan of single player story-based games. I'd actually put the star rating at a 3.5 if possible, but rounded up due to genuinely enjoying the story and game despite the flaws.
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on April 3, 2011
In short, this game was fun. It has several problems - its gameplay isn't as tight as GTA, its story is VERY cliche - but if you can get it cheap it's a lot of fun. The mission structure is dumb - I understand they made it that way to tell the story, but its structure is more like a linear shooter pretending to be an open world game. In the end, the game was nothing special, but fun nonetheless.

A great plus: no matter where and how you buy it (download or disk, Amazon or Wal-Mart) you can register the CD key on Steam; this allows you to add it to your Steam library, earn Steam achievements, and re-download it from Steam as many times as you like.
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on November 17, 2011
I was pleasantly surprised by this game. Although it is an open world game, its very linear. Sure, you can steal cars and drive around for a while and pick fights with people, but that gets very old very fast.

1. Graphics are amazing. I realize this game came out a couple years ago but the graphics are every bit as good as GTA 4 if not a little better. One of the neat things is at the start of the game in Empire City its winter and you get the icey streets and snow and it looks really neat, then you go to spring later on and its a commpletely different feel. I loved the detail.

2. Compelling story. It is very compelling, well written and very interesting. Going through the story and discovering how it plays out and what happens is worthwhile and they were quite adept at creating characters we care about and are interested in. Voice acting is very good as well.

3. Cutscenes: There were too many cutscenes in my opinion, at times it was like watching a movie rather than playing a game and I found that to be annoying. That having been said, the cutscenes were compelling, interesting and did a lot to move the story forward.

4. Scenario (Small Spoiler Alert): I did like how things got changed up as part of telling the story. You start out in WWII Italy as a soldier, go to Empire City at the tail end of the war, end up in jail where you have to play out a number of scenes, then you end up in 50's Empire City, etc with somewhat different cars etc. The point is that you're playing a character's life from a given point and as the circumstances of that life changes, you get to play a little of it rather than simply being told Vito fought in the war or Vito went to jail. You experience that and frankly this is one of the more brilliant aspects of the game and is something GTA actually could learn from.

Another neat thing was how the music changes with the times. I kinda liked that so instead of always hearing the same songs and stuff, in the 40's you get 40's music and war updates and 50's its more 50's oriented, etc. Really helped create the mood. Mood is very well done. One of the reasons I suspect the 40's were dark, snowy, cold, bitter to create that feeling of war, poverty, hopelessness, etc. 50's get much sunnier and cleaner as there's more of a feeling of prosperity and hope, etc. My point is that there are aspects of this game that are very well thought out that do immerse you in the feeling of this person's life. That having been said, its such a beautiful world that is wasted by limiting your interaction with it to just the linear story.

1. This is not GTA 4. Meaning there is 1 story and you go through it in a linear fashion and thats it. There's no side missions, no side quests, no little things you can do here or there. It's a track that goes A to Z. I say this is unfortunate because the world of Empire City is so nicely detailed and has so much potential, that to have additional ways to earn and spend money and really immerse yourself into the city would have been nice.

2. Faces: I know I said graphics are amazing and they are. The faces are amazing too especially since this was a couple years ago. That having been said, all the girls look the same to me. Its as if they created 1 or 2 faces for females and then just copied it out.

3. Interactivity: There's not a whole lot of interaction in this world with various objects. Sure you can run over signs and light poles and into cars and the cars do start to show damage fairly quickly and eventually stop working which is a nice feature like GTA 4, but other than stores, repair shops, etc, there's just not a lot of places to go and your options for interacting with strangers on the street amounts to picking fights with them. I said this before but this is such a beautiful and interesting world, it would have been nice to be able to interact with it more on my own terms.

4. You might mess around and drive for a bit which could chew up a couple hours before you realize its time to get going on the story. As I said, its very linear so playing through the story gets you around 15-20 hours. In my case a little more because of exploration and replaying chapters as needed to complete them. If there had been side things to do, I'm certain this game could have gotten up to 50-100 hours in gameplay. For a $30-$60 game, 20 hours is on the short side. Since I paid $7.50 for my download from Amazon, I feel like I got a great deal and the game was well worth it.

5. The ending. This thing just came out of no where and was frankly pretty unsatisfying. I finished the mission and before I knew it, credits were rolling. I was like wait, what just happened? It seemed like there were probably a few more missions left in the main story line to bring about some form of closure. I mean what happens to this guy? I have no idea.

You can totally see that this game was built to be something more. As others have pointed out, there are a number of NPCs who seem to have been setup to give side missions, and there are references to "more jobs" from them, but no jobs are ever forthcoming. I can only conclude that for whatever reason, and there are a lot of possibilities, all of these additional features that may have been planned on were never put in and the game was shipped as a more linear story. If they decide to do a Mafia 3, I hope they learn from this and let the developers have time to create a game with all the parts actually working in it rather than stripping out anything that's not related to the primary story.
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on October 11, 2013
If I had a better computer I would probably write a better review. The characters and gameplay are good, and it starts out in a unexpected way for a nice twist. However, if you don't have the hardware to run it, it'll just turn out slow and time consuming. While for most games above normal computing performances come out choppy, this game is nice and smooth. I like the story line and shooting style. If you liked the original Mafia game you may like this if you can run it. Overall the game is good, with interesting characters and a decent story line. Just make sure that you can run it properly first. Other than that, it shipped and delivered on time in perfect condition at a decent price.
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on January 4, 2014
If you want a good-looking roaming game, this is it.

The view is great without any tweaking. (In fact, I bought this game due to being house bound for a long time; it had the best scenery so I originally purchased on that point alone.) The game engine does this without requiring a lot of hardware; you may need to scale down the display resolution, but you can achieve much better results on a budget computer compared to most open world games. And the city is amazing. You can play the game, or roam around and play by your own rules, or even just take a jog or a drive and enjoy looking around and interacting. The music is also very enjoyable.

So far, five stars. The problem is the social aspect of the game play. Of course, this is another game where the main character of the story is on the wrong side of the law, but it's sheer ignorance on the developer's end to implement so much of the American 40s and 50s without capturing some of the basic values of that era. The level of profanity, lack of politeness, and postmodern outlook of the game totally clash with the classic styles and outfits. That's pure fantasy, especially since it's not limited to the gangsters but painted onto the whole society, and makes the game unrealistic. It also makes it less appropriate for kids, which is not the smartest or most profitable development decision. And it limits game play possibilities. You can free roam, but officially only engage in rather thuggish behavior, unless you get creative. There are some fun characters, but they could have done so much better.

But the lack of taste and inaccuracies are in common with most of these type games, so this one still shines. if you have a little creativity, the free roam is a blast and you can play it countless ways according to your mood, all with super graphics on any computer.
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on April 7, 2015
First off you have to make an account on steam before you can play this game then I tried to play offline and it wouldn't let me so I don't like a product that tells me when and where I can play a game I purchased. Once in the game it's a decent game good graphics speed is good etc. kinda cool, The tie in to the previous mafia is great it'll have you LYAO! I really enjoy this game BUT I don't like the whole "play on my site or else" attitude.
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on August 29, 2010
I've been waiting for Mafia 2 since a couple years ago when I first heard of it. I'm not a shooting games guy, but I played the first Mafia several years ago and it's still one of my favorite games. Mafia II uses a very similar formula to the first one overall and, although they took away some things from the first game that I liked a lot, they added some other and it's a freaking game!!! They put a lot of attention to details all over the place. Still, I understand why some people might not like it, there's a lot of driving, and sometimes you have to do not-so-exciting stuff like loading crates on a truck. If you're on the fence I'd suggest you to download the demo and try it out or keep reading, I'll go into more detail without giving any of the story away.

LONG REVIEW (Read the short one first):
The driving is amazing, the cars get smashed, parts of them fly out, the trunk and hood unlatch when you hit'em, etc. They even get dirty!!! The other thing I love is that you're not invincible inside the car, you're vulnerable to gunshots and crashes, you can actually get killed in one crash if it's hard enough. I read some reviewers who don't like this and prefer the style of GTA and other games where you can flip around, jump and crash and nothing happens to your health. I respect that but to me, the risk of getting killed or shot raises the stakes and makes it more exciting. It's way more exciting to know that if you crash at high speed you can die than to just drive around smashing everything off the way with no consequences, this is especially true in car chases. The only thing I don't like about the driving in Mafia II is that they simplified it from the first one. There's no clutch or manual transmission, and I miss to be able to shoot out of the window while driving, it was hard to manage but i'm sure that shooting while driving in real life is not easy either :)

I'll start with fist fighting, it's fast and fun, the dodging could be more difficult but it's pretty good.
As I said before, i'm not a big shooter game fan, but the gunfights are exciting, the cover system works great, if you're taking cover but you're too close to the edge, you can still get hurt. The guns feel pretty robust and heavy. The enemies are smart sometimes and dumb other times, overall it works pretty good though, they'll flank you if you stay in cover for too long so it's not just shooting as they get out of cover all the time. The music of course is amazing and it makes it feel like you're in an action movie. I would like however if you could hide the HUD so you can't know where the bad guys are all the time (like in the first one) --(UPDATE: If you set the level to hard the baddies won't appear in your HUD (the cops will though))--.

The feeling of being in Empire Bay is astonishing, there's detail everywhere. They did a great job of putting it together, the sound, the people, the cars. Everything is done in great detail, if people have a car accident they'll get out of the car and yell at each other, when it's snowy you can see some people slipping and falling on the ground, there's some people waiting for the bus or the train, people on the phones, etc. You can almost smell the city. I know some people would like to have some side missions but I enjoy and appreciate the more focused approach of this one, (although I will try Jimmy's Vendetta pack which is supposed to be more open missions).

To compare it to the first Mafia game, this one is way better in terms of the city feeling (which of course has a lot to do with the technical limitations of 8 years ago). I must say though, I liked to use the public transportation on the first Mafia and in this one you can't do that, but it's a little detail in the middle of the great job they did with all the other details.

They do a good job in making the missions different, there's stealthy missions, shootouts, bombs, etc. They're really fun. The cut scenes are very well done which, being a film buff myself, I appreciate. The whole game feels like a big movie you're part of. Yes, there's a lot of driving and some parts that are not so exciting, but all that adds realism and flavor to the whole experience. I found myself playing several hours before realizing it was 3am. If you liked the first one you're gonna like this one, if you didn't play it or didn't like it download the demo, here's the official link: [...]
Hope it helps.
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on May 5, 2011
I've read the negative reviews on this game and all I can say here is - DO NO0T BUY THIS GAME IF YOU HAVE AN OLD PC, otherwise this game is absolutely fantastic.


1. Fantastic work on the environment, guns, cars especially... great job on damages (even scratches can be seen), explosions in case a gas tank gets hit... so cool.
2. NO STUPID TIMED CHALLENGES, thank God, except a few racing challenges (like to warn Leo, or get Henry to the doctor) and they're not so tough.
3. NO IDIOTIC "MUST BE STEALTH MISSIONS"... there're a few, but stelth is either optional or easy rail type that any 7 year old can pass, which is GREAT and adds more sense of realism.
4. Game Modes "Easy" "Medium" and "Hard" are so fairly designed - if you have a slower PC chose "easy" and you will avoid a lot of frustration.
5. Sound Track, Music, and slang of those days...


Poor story line. Not too many side/optional challenges. I wish Vito could have a few more ways to make money, not just Mike's junk yard (pulling jobs, sell cool, fully tuned stolen cars); also things like buying some exclusive cars, that can only be purchased, houses, brothels... or... promote a nice cute beginning film actress... whatever... the other words add a bit more business strategy to the game, that would fit standards of those days...

The Vito's wadrobe is poor. And those suits... the suits are always with hats on........ looks so ugly, especially in summer days.

Other thoughts - There is a lot of driving in this game, but no crazy stunt driving where cars would jump over the shops, or crushed through the second floor restaurant and out on the other side... blah blah blah...
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on November 23, 2012
It's uncanny seeing how American this game is which was made by a group of Czech developers. It is very authentically American, reminding me a lot of the city of Pittsburgh with the freeways surrounding the city and the Italian flags on townhomes. When you drive, you will hear familiar tunes that you haven't heard in years and can't quite name.

The detail is phenomenal. Walk into a bar and it really looks like a bar that you might have a drink in. It isn't a rush job like how GTA 4's interior's felt. It feels like the developers spent a significant amount of time crafting it, and it really shows. It feels like an American bar. Same for the other stores. You actually see other customers in these places doing their own thing.

The game was so realistic that I found myself actually following the rules. The world was so authentic that I felt that it would be wrong to wage destruction on the citizens. So I stop at stoplights and I follow the speed limit. When I broke the speed limit, the cops pulled me over and I paid a fine. In the beginning, you see the protagonist Vito praying with his mother. How many games do this?

Contrast this with GTA which is cynical to the core of it, down to like skipping out of a hospital completely healed up and still holding guns after murdering dozens of people on the street. GTA 4 is a game which I just cannot get myself to finish.

I'm careful with my car because it costs money to repair the car. So I follow the rules of the world. There are more rules that are followed. I actually honk my horn at rude drivers. One driver side-swiped me and I got out in a fit of road rage. HOW DARE HE SIDE-SWIPE MY VIRTUAL CAR. Then I pulled out my gun but he shot me first.

All of this makes for an incredibly immersive game world, because you really do have to act like a good citizen, much more so than other games.

The games graphics are pretty good. They are on a whole better than GTA or Assassin's Creed graphics, while giving better detail in the character faces and animations, and populating the streets with a healthy number of people (more than you see in real life, actually). The PhysX makes for nice little touches that make the game more immersive like better flowing clothes.

The AI is extremely good. For instance, in one mission, I'm sneaking around a building. I go in a room and I leave the door open. The guard sees the open door and walks in the room. I die.

So next time around, I have to remember to keep doors closed while sneaking. Even stealth games like Splinter Cell don't have AI behavior this advanced. and speaking of doors, the game world makes me actually want to be a good citizen and close the door of my car or of the store I just exited.

Another nice thing is that the game levels don't lead you around by the nose. They let you discover things yourself. For instance, in a level where I'm tasked with stealing some stamps they tell you about getting the key and opening a safe.

What they don't tell you is that there's an alarm system tied to the safe. You have to discover this for yourself and disable it yourself.

Might take multiple playthroughs, but is pretty neat. You have to really plan it out for yourself. There's no "hit A, B, and C" which I feel a lot of games end up doing.

Now, there is a fair amount of tedium in this game, from driving around the freeways. I like this as it makes you feel like a regular guy driving his car around to the job -- like real life. You also get a chance to listen to the radio while doing this. Game reviewers and Call of Duty-heads don't really like it, but to me it just adds some more to the immersion.

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on July 21, 2011
Where to begin?
The story was ok...a bit choppy, and you don't really get to feel connected with any of the characters.
The gameplay is ok as well (overall).
PROS: The graphics are outstanding (lighting, shadows, movement, etc.) The cars are great; I even like that mid-game the car period changes and you get a new set of cars. The gun types, the shooting, and all involved with the guns are great. The physics are pretty neat (much better than the first game).
CONS: There are no motorcycles...that would have been a great addition. There aren't too many times where you can use all the gun types, there are really only a few mainstream weapons and those are the ones used for most missions. You can't deviate from the main story at all, and you can't go back to a region to get side-quest items. I know it's not GTA, but it would be nice to get more accomplishments, instead of having to re-do whole missions. The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, and blatantly opens itself up for a sequel.
Other thoughts: Not happy about the way the game funnels you to do what it's programmed for (not truly an open world as in GTA). Was it worth the $10? Sure, but not more than that.
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