When I first got Mafia II into my grubby little hands I was skeptical that the game may not live up to my expectations. A skeptic no more! Mafia II took my expectations and expanded on them! However, a few flaws did hold Mafia II back from being a true classic for the masses.

The year is 1945 and you are Vito Scaletta, a young Sicilian who traveled to America with his family in search of the American dream. However, the city of Empire Bay wasn’t all that Vito thought it would be, having witnessed poverty first hand you want to make something of yourself, you want to be somebody, and you want it no matter what the cost. Vito has been placed in the army to fight against Mussolini’s regime in Italy, against his will. He was placed there for robbing a jewelry store with best friend Joe Barbaro and has returned to Empire Bay after being shot. You soon find out that Joe works for…some people…and he calls in a few favors to get you out of the service. Vito and Joe then begin their mission to go after the good life…and the experience is unforgettable.

"Giving porky his lunch..."

Mafia II’s story is superb with great writing and plot twists that seem to be straight from the big screen. The voice acting is top-notch, and Empire Bay is a beautiful place to be. Mafia II is a great place to get lost for a while and be a made man and the game allows you to fully immerse yourself into the shoes of Vito Scaletta. You will experience the all time highs of being in the mafia and you will hit rock bottom and wonder if it was all worth it.

2K Czech did their homework to make sure that Mafia II was an authentic Mafia experience. From the ritual of becoming a made man, to the secrecy of being part of a family. If you are a mafia buff, you will notice why certain things are said, why people act certain ways, and why things are done a certain way. It is a fictional history lesson…that is gory, fun, and will be remembered for a while.

"Empire Bay, I heard it is great this time of year!"

Mafia II controls like you would expect any third person experience to. Basic shooting, fighting, and driving mechanics make the game easy to pick up and while it does nothing new, it does what it is supposed to. You’ll find yourself in some pretty tense firefights, which can get frustrating at times if you are playing on the hardest difficulty. However the challenge isn’t really the games fault…Mafia II is hard and sometimes unforgiving but it is rewarding, especially when you start raking in the money and are driving around in convertibles in the best suits you can find in Empire Bay.

"You ain't getting my F***ing suit dirty, oh...you wanna play rough eh, I got 2 extra minutes...I'm meeting your mother at my place at 4:30!"

My biggest beef with Mafia II is the open world is kind of a tease. While you have this huge map to explore, you really can’t do anything. There are no side quests, and the people you meet throughout the game that you think you can revisit for side missions just tell you that they have no work right now. So honestly, why have them there in the first place. Mafia is very linear and forces you to go from chapter to chapter, you can even explore the game after you are done. While this may be a huge drawback for some, it doesn’t take away from the story and the immersion that Mafia II has to offer.

THE BREAKDOWN

Gameplay– 8/10

– Mafia II is solid and controls like you would expect it too.

Graphics– 8.5/10

– Empire bay is beautiful, the character models are fantastic and everything from cars to the muzzle flash of your Tommy Gun looks authentic. A few places in the game have recycled models, and texture pop ins. Nothing too bad, but it is still noticeable and if your picky like us…bothersome.

Sound– 10/10

– The cars, the guns, the voices, the soundtrack, the environment all sound fantastic. Simply superb work from 2K Czech.

Replayability– 5/10

– If you a completionist, you can go back a second time and try to get all the collectibles or try Hard difficulty. If you are not a completionist, Mafia II is a One Trick Pony.

Presentation– 8/10

– Slick and easy to access, great menus, and a great in-game interface.

THE JUDGES FINAL RULING

8.9/10

– Mafia is a one trick pony, the open world is there but doesn’t do much. However, a superb story, and superb acting and gameplay make up for the flaws. Mafia II is a fantastic game and has a great story to tell, and you will have a hell of a lot of fun watching it unfold.

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