Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 4th Sep 2010 18:32 UTC
Games I pay the cab driver, pick up my suitcase, and step outside. The background's filled with the notes from Dean Martin's rendition of "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!", and as I walk away from the cab the sounds of the city drive away the memories from the war, back in Sicily. It's February 8, 1945, Empire Bay, and the war is drawing to a close. Welcome to Mafia II.
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Comment by Anacardo
by Anacardo on Mon 6th Sep 2010 16:44 UTC
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I partially agree with the review, especially when you consider the amount of detail poured into the game, the references to other forms of entertainment or art (architecture in primis). At the same time, being a great fan of the first game, I sadly have to say that the sequel is almost a complete trainwreck.
There are two (huge) main problems in the game: story and gameplay.
Story is not really a work of art, it's good, but filled in with cliches, underdeveloped and unbalanced. The first was a lot simpler, and yet more refined, And it's sadly not only that, the first game was directed by Daniel Vavra (who also wrote the story) while this one is not, and it shows. Direction is sketchy and repetitive, and while you play along the less than 10 hours of gameplay, your screen will turn black every 5 minutes, and the story will be interrupted by countless of "2 hours later..." "6 hours later..." "two days later..." "4 years later..." imagine if you had a movie in which they interrupt all the action to tell you how much time has passed. The first game had a lot more clever direction, and there was a lot less disconnection between the storytelling and teh actual gameplay. Which brings me to the second issue: gameplay. Lackluster at its best. Again, not only the first game was way better than the sequel, but Mafia II doesn't really stand out among modern games. You do two things in game: drive and shoot. You can sneak a bit as well, but in the end the missions in which you'll do are so few, that it doesn't really count. Driving is generally fun, and the environment is really great, but it's not enough to fill in half of the gameplay. The fighting as well is a mixed bag. Guns are great and the destructible environments are awesome, but they're too seldom apart, there are no melee weapons and the hand combat is one of the lamest and most boring things ever seen. But the worst part is how all this is mixed together. For some obscure reason, it was decided at some point during the production process that, in order to make the game more fast-paced, most of the side missions were cut, and instead of having you phisically doing something, it was better to have a cutscene. Early alphas of the game show the missing gameplay, and you actually wonder the reason of the removal since the result of it is a very disconnected experience. Now whenever you refuel, you enter a building, or do something that the devs decided it was out of place, the screen goes black. Which means that other than driving and shooting, most of the times you're watching cutscenes. The last big issue is the length of the game. You can beat the thing on the hardest setting (difficulty hard + driving simulation) in 10 hours or even a bit less, and with no free roaming when you finish it there's basically no replay value. If you think of all the details and love put into the environment, the cars, and the character models, you can't really say it's put to good use. Sure, there's a lot of DLCs planned, one already released as an exclusive for PS3 and another due tomorrow, but these are not free and you just wonder why 2k released a half finished and rushed game for full price.

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