34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Excellent presentation hides a so-so game.......
, August 24, 2010
This review is from: Mafia II (Video Game)
Mafia 2 is a fun 3rd-person action game. It's not a GTA clone nor is it up there with Gears of War or Uncharted as far as shooting and covering go. It does however have a great story to tell with well-staged cut-scenes and some of the best graphics I've seen on a console.
As I said before the story of Mafia 2 is excellent and VERY much carries the game. You play as Vito Scalletta, a poor Italian-American in the 1940's who, after fighting in WWII, finds himself drawn into the world of crime. Every character in Mafia 2 is well developed and well voice-acted and the story plays out very dynamically (starting in WWII Italy to a prison stretch to being a mafioso on the streets on Empire Bay) but is easy to follow.
The graphics are also excellent in Mafia 2 and really bring the world to life. Snow and leaves fall, birds and cats move around on stoops and in alleys, and people go on about their daily lives while you are on a mission. The building interiors look especially good like they were taken out of an episode of 'Mad Men'. The character models are surprisingly detailed as well.
While the presentation of Mafia 2 is a wonder to behold, the gameplay is very disappointing. The controls are shaky when you're just walking around. Driving around takes some getting used to but is fun overall, same with hand-to-hand combat. Shooting and covering however is lacking: namely you can't blind-fire from cover. Normally I wouldn't mind (I mean you can't blind-fire in Mass Effect either) but when your enemies CAN blind-fire from cover and with some of them trying to rush you, gun-fights can get frustrating.
Mafia 2 is also very linear. I don't mind that there's no side-missions (which I rarely partook in games like GTA or Red Dead Redemption) but the basic story-missions almost never have alternate paths. This is a shame because there's a couple really good stealth-missions thrown into the mix that could've benefitted from non-linear solutions. In fact I think the game needed more stealth missions because I had more fun on those than the actual gun-fight and chase missions (or at least have a stealth optional solution to most missions, I mean I ASSUME the criminal underworld doesn't want this much attention drawn to itself!).
Despite my complaints Mafia 2 is still a worth-while game. It took me about 10 hours to beat which is average for a linear action game. If you love good gangster stories like I do you'll love the narrative of Mafia 2. If you're looking for a more well-polished gaming experience best to save your money.
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