Review: Mafia II

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I had originally played this on Onlive, I gave it the 30 minute trial. I don’t exactly remember it starting how it did. I seemed to be going through many more story points then before, but I bet I skipped them in the interest of time the first time around.

I was really pleasantly surprised. I got this game after all the holiday game download sale hooplah. I had seen it on Steam, Onlive, Amazon – all had it on major sale, but saw them come and go. However, upon checking up on it on Amazon, the price of the download was back up to $19.99 but the physical media was $6.24 – that and our month trial of Prime thanks to my wife’s new Kindle Fire I was able to get it for a steal considering what it has turned out to be.

You’ve got the mafia, sure – you knew that. It’s back in time, Empire City (NY) and it’s pulling me into the story. So far I’ve done quite a bit of running around. I’ve stolen a car from a “moulinyan” neighborhood (more about that later) and I’m just about to do some roughing up for a union boss. They put a bit of a moral twist on the quest for money, so the protagonist doesn’t seem so bad. He’s doing the best he can for the situation, type of thing.

There’s the promise of some real success, but you’re given the realization that it may not be easy and the money doesn’t come without a price. It all weaves into what’s best for his family, himself, and his options. So it is also a bit bigoted. You can’t change history, but it doesn’t mean you can drop moulinyan back into the lexicon. The other characters have their strong opinions as well. It was just a bit of a shock to see it so up front in a game and it’s one thing to have something out front but this was sneaky. I’m not sure most people would know what it means, but if you’re calling someone a slur in another language it’s still a slur. Now I’ll get off my soapbox and accept the argument that it’s for atmosphere. I’m sure they throw them around in Scarface too, but I wanted to put that out there.

The dialog so far is fairly well written, and the graphics were well done. I remember bench-marking this a video card or two ago and the box says 2010 so it was quite a feat for it’s time. Suffice it to say it does much better on my current configuration then last time I bench-marked it. It uses PhysX for some added flair and even the driving (so far on icy/snowy roads) is pretty impressive. I think I saw more wrong with Driver San Fran’s graphics then this game.

It is complete, well made with polish. That is something you don’t always get lately. Sure, there are some small things like your buddy who is following you always magically appearing in front of you when you go outside / inside. The mouths aren’t quite synced, the cover system is easily blocked by rogue objects, the plow truck always has it’s blade scraping the ground, and I’m still not sure what the cops get bent out of shape. Even with all that the game itself is solid and even a bit more challenging then your average crime mission game.

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