Mafia 2 Preview

Written by Joe Martin

December 19, 2009 | 10:13

Tags: #gangster #godfather #mafia #mafia-2 #mafia-2-preview #sandbox

Companies: #2k-games #game

Mobs Rule

Organised or not though, crime is still crime and 2K isn’t dancing around the issue or focusing too much on the over-romanticised exploits of murderers and thugs in Mafia 2. Players should, like Vita himself, be under no illusions that they are a good mobster or that such a thing might exist.

Whatever else the cast of Mafia 2 might be they are criminals first and 2K is going to make sure that players realise this by delving more directly into the horrendous nature of day-to-day life as a made man. It’s not all unmarked bills in unsealed envelope, you know? Sometimes you have to kill people who’ve done nothing wrong. Probably a lot of them.

Executions and assaults play a huge role in Mafia 2, with your small crew of crimelords slowly expanding their protection rackets and shady deals across the city through a campaign of terror that sees full use of the extravagant detail the world has been created with. There are assassinations, robberies and direct attacks on rival families littered along the storyline.

*Mafia 2 Preview A Game We Can't Refuse
Hardcore dentistry

The actual plot promises to be monstrously long, by the way. The script of Mafia 2 is apparently almost twice as long as the already lengthy first game, with over two hours of just in-game cutscenes promised. We’re still not sure how we feel about these claims admittedly, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that 2K Czech can bring more to the series than awkwardly long silences and needless padding.

Either way, the world is flush with details that help breathe life into it, and there’s plenty of WWII weapons that are flooding Mafia 2’s market and enabling your campaign of violence. There’s around 50 unique vehicles to get to grips with too, while Barson City itself comprises both interior and exterior spaces and appears populated and realistic at all times.

Claims like that are a dime a dozen in the wake of the Grand Theft Auto series admittedly, but at least the 1950s setting will give Mafia 2 an edge when it comes to the character of the city. Not that it’s hard to top GTA IV’s fuzzily-lit, brown architecture.

*Mafia 2 Preview A Game We Can't Refuse
Sneaky sneaky, shooty shooty

At the same time though 2K Czech has taken the time to update Mafia 2’s control and combat system, taking cues from Assassin’s Creed and making nearly all interaction context-sensitive through the use of low profile and high profile buttons. A new cover system has been added too, because no third-person shooter can be without the option to crouch automatically ever since Gears of War. Like the adventures of Marcus Fenix, successful firefights in Mafia 2 are won through flanking your foes and firing from the safety of solid cover.

None of these features are enough to get us really excited at the moment as it’s hard to not find a game in the last four years that hasn’t been enhanced by a new cover system and tougher, grittier take on whatever original epic it is spawned from. Gritty sequels and the option to crouch like Marcus Fenix in an urban sandbox are becoming staples of the industry.

Mafia 2 does have one very important thing going for it though and that’s the theme that the title is established on. As we said in the opening, quality mobster games are relatively few and far between and good ones are even more rare – especially when the original game sadly passed most gamers by. Mafia 2 is high-risk, so we’d be willing to bet that 2K Czech has a few surprises up its collective sleeve. We can’t wait to find out what they are in the coming months.

Mafia 2 will be published by 2K Games and will be available on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 early next year, but you can discuss it in the forums until then.
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