Thoughts on Jimmy's Vendetta
Posted on 17th Sep 2010 at 11:06 by Richard Swinburne with 14 comments
I don't know what I really expected, but I think my thick, rose-tinted glasses for the original Mafia created a blind faith that Mafia 2's DLC might offer...something. I'd read it was designed to be more 'Open World', with mission selection instead of the exclusively linear, point-to-point play that Mafia 2's singleplayer forced on you.
I didn't come away thinking Mafia 2 should have been a more open world 'GTA in the 50s' though, because what it needed more than that was a better story. Although Empire Bay was clearly designed with open world in mind, 2K must have dropped it from single player at some point. Jimmy's Vendetta restores the open world, but it'll still leave you feeling disappointed and wanting more because it suffers from many of the same flaws as the original.
You see, Jimmy is even less likeable and relateable than Vito or Joe. He looks like Terry Tibbs, but with the appeal of Teri Hatcher (that link's SFW but not SF-stomach) and the attitude of Mad Max.
Despite being set in Empire Bay, the story is not related to the main single player campaign. After a prison riot and a few fights (because you didn't have enough of that already in the jail part of the singleplayer campaign, right?) Jimmy, his aviator glasses and his perfectly chromed noggin bust out and start looking for revenge against his ex-employers. That's as thick as the story gets. There's additional info at the start of each mission, but it feels like some sort of thinly-veiled excuse for the mayhem he's about to create.
The open world means you can take missions on as you wish, even replaying them to try and get a better score.
What? Score? Yes. The whole game is laden achievements and a Capcom-esque A-Crap ranking system, with points for completion time and additional kudos for making Jimmy drive faster and drift around corners. There's no points for getting air though, sadly. <Correction 18th September 2010: Apparently there is points for getting air, although I never saw them, despite launching my car over several others.>
The kudos part I actually like - it's an encouragement to go nuts, but at the expense of rousing the cops. In the main single player I spent half the time driving around like a grandma as there's no incentive to get places faster. In fact, co-passengers would complain to "take your foot of the gas" if you went too fast. Now Jimmy drops the "lets see what this baby can do" line when you put your
The positive stops there though, because actual missions get mind-numbingly tedious very quickly.
Go here, shoot this.
Go here, steal that.
Drive from here to there.
Every mission is astonishingly shallow and short, usually having a single objective that can be done in about five minutes.
At first I thought it was a simplified tutorial, but then I realised that's all there is. There's about as much thought gone into missions as has gone in to character development, and it nullifies the point of it being open world because nothing ever changes in the missions, apart from how much you piss off the cops.
If you do piss off the cops though, they don't forget once the mission ends. This adds another level of fun and frustration, as you're forced to evade them and make it to a clothing shop to change and finally lose them. This one upside should have been in the main game, although with some better missions would have actually made the DLC worth playing.
I'd got about half way through and my save game corrupted (hurrah for the console-style, single slot save system) but I've no intention of bothering to do it all again and finish it, let alone replay missions to get a better score.