Review: Mafia II

By Nick Rudenno

  • Good storyline
  • Not fast enough between missions
  • Tonnes of action

Over recent years Rockstar games have set the bar pretty high when it comes to open-world sandbox games. So it’s a given that most gamers will have the same kneejerk reaction, tapping away on their keyboards proclaiming that another GTA clone has stepped up to the plate. Mafia 2 is not one of those games.

This game is much more about the story and less about pushing the boundaries of the sandbox. If you enjoy a good narrative then this game is for you. If you’re someone who skips through cut-scenes, beware, skipping a cut-scene really breaks down the flow of the game and will leave your gun-toting anti-hero bewildered. Being someone who usually skips through cut-scenes to get straight to the action I found the first few minutes with the game really confusing. Why am I an American soldier fighting in the middle of Italy? Did I pick up the wrong game? I quickly realised that not only was Mafia’s story a good one, but also an integral part of the experience and not something to just skip through.

It’s not just an afterthought to tie pieces of mindless action together, it leads you through the experience and really keeps you guessing. I don’t want to give too much away in fear of ruining the various twists and turns of the story, but needless to say it’s your pretty standard mafia fare. Starting out as an errand boy you slowly climb your way to the top rubbing out anyone who stand in the way.

Story aside, there is still plenty of mindless tommy gun action to enjoy. These sequences work really well. Shooting and punching your way through bad guys is really fun and tommy guns never get old. The cover system, for the most part, is pretty intuitive and lends itself to some really gritty and intense gunfights. Tied together with some great car chases the action really delivers, but I was always left wanting that little bit more. There are long periods of down time spent driving around, running errands or dolling out cigarettes and I often felt the need to rush through these sections in the hope of more action around the corner.  The missions usually end with you driving home to sleep and this gets old really quickly and doesn’t encourage you to explore the city in your own time. Don’t get me wrong, the city looks great, but lacks the ability to really draw you into the world. Messing with the cops is good fun though.

There is a lot to enjoy here, get ready for a solid story and a heap of narrative but don’t expect a thriving sandbox to play in and the lack of multiplayer will turn some people away. Overall it’s a really polished game and if you like a good story, this game is for you.

Pros: Great story and characters, great action and gunplay
Cons: Feels a bit linear for a sandbox game.

3.8 Shacks out of 5