Review A few hours into Mafia II and it finally happens. It's the summer of 1951 and you've just been released from an eight-year stretch in Sing Sing. You're cruising around the wide, pristine streets of Empire Bay - the game's fictional amalgam of New York, Chicago and San Fransico – when all of a sudden you hear the unmistakable pow of saxophones and horns in the intro for Ain't That a Kick in the Head.
The Poirot convention was a little empty this year
It comes as no surprise. In the few hours you've been playing it, Mafia II has already covered every other conceivable cliché: your character Vito Scalleta has sworn not to end up a chump like his father, working himself into an early grave for peanuts. He's already committed petty crimes to pay back the loan shark threatening his sister and mother. He's even slit the throat of the prison hardman, and served up a beating to the Sisters who "picked the wrong ass to drill" in the showers.
So, even though Dean Martin's go-to Mafia anthem wasn't recorded until 1960, it doesn't seem out of place when played anachronistically on your car radio.
Shots rang out
To be fair to 2K Games, it is also a poetic licence most will forgive. Few gamers will buy Mafia II expecting historical accuracy - and even fewer will expect it to come cliché free. Most will buy the game solely for the chance to play as Hollywood's version of a wiseguy, and in that, at least, Mafia II delivers.
Next page: Oh my Godfather
This obsession with....
...sandbox games is getting jarring.
Give me a game that either tells a good story or allows you to construct a good story in your head around the bare bones of the game.
Having to shoot 150 birds to get an achievement isn't always the best way to lengthen a game.
it's one of the reasons I loved Max Payne II so much - short, sweet and to the point, but it's like reading a graphic novel. I'll come back and play it every 6 months or so and enjoy it every time.
I'm enjoying Mafia II so far - don't let the obsession with having 1001 pointless tasks take away from the fact that the game tells an engrossing story.
It's not perfect, but it's much better than these "It's not GTA!" reviews make it out to be.
indiana jones on ps3
hear hear, those 2 games are the way to go. Excellent writing and characterisation, stunning visuals and a fair dash of comedy chucked into the mix. Speilberg couldn't have done it better
for ultimate sandbox.....
play fallout 3. you can play it for days not even doing main missions. you really can do what you want on it. and once completed play it again as a baddie :)
Either of the uncharted games for a good story and decent controls system.
The 2nd one got nice visuals too.
Those empty, pointless, but pretty parts of the city are probably for DLC missions. I'm guessing they made a full sandbox game, then pulled out all the side-quests in order to sell them separately. Otherwise, why would they have bothered to model such large navigable-but-unused parts of the city? (Instead of, say, putting a lake there). It might become a proper sandbox game after its price again in add-ons. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
That said, they really did do a great job with the ambiance -- it really felt like the times/places in question, for a variety of reasons: The music, especially (and the news reports that play from time to time on the radio, describing things like the progress of the war), as well as the clothing, the buildings, the voice acting, the slowness of the cars, etc.