Mafia 2 is a sandbox gangster simulator set in the 40s and 50s of the XX century. Vito Scaletta has started to make a name for himself on the streets of Empire Bay as someone who can be trusted to get a job done. Together with his buddy Joe, he is working to prove himself to the Mafia, quickly escalating up the family ladder with crimes of larger reward, status and consequence… the life as a wise guy isn’t quite as untouchable as it seems.
I walked into my experience of Mafia II with no real expectations other than hearing my colleague's praise. What I walked away with after playing through the story was a sense of awe and amazement that I haven't had since Alan Wake.
Mafia II has a good plot, rude, violent and with a wonderful narrative. But Mafia II is also a good action where the adventure and the free roaming create the perfect gameplay mix all together with the fast shooting and the realism of the driving sequence.
Mafia 2 is a great, story-driven action game which offers great cut scenes and a believable game world. Its characters, graphics, music and sound are outstanding, but it lacks good AI and side missions at the same time. After ten to twelve hours of gameplay you finish the game with no possibility to deal with the game furthermore – compared to other open-world-titles like GTA IV. Anyhow, Mafia 2 is a great old-school-action game, with few faults.
Technically flawless and a lively world with attention to every detail cannot cover the fact some elements have been wasted. Still, it's a great game but with a much bigger potential. [Issue#195]
A game with real soul. The gut impact is huge, but it may leave some with a faint appetite for just a little more. [Nov 2010, p.56]
Flaws and linear nature taken into account, Mafia II is a beautiful, gripping, engaging game-and where it doesn't allow you to go is more than made up for by where it does.
Here's how to sum up Mafia II : 12 hours of repetitive, linear missions, with but a few gameplay mechanics. Shoot, drive, punch, a tiny little bit of stealth, that's it. There's nothing more to be done than to follow the unfolding of the plot, which is clearly sub-par, especially when considering how easy it is to watch a rerun of The Godfather or a season of the Sopranos instead. Replay value is nil, there's no multiplayer. You can't even roam freely in the city after the ending (what for anyway, one may ask). Combat is way to easy, cars don't provide much thrill. In the end, Mafia II is a very pretty box, but an empty one. 80% of what has been developed doesn't serve any real purpose. The rest isn't enough to make a great game. If you're a die hard fan of the 50's atmosphere (nicely rendered), and the Mafia genre, you might still enjoy it. Otherwise...