In Mafia II we play with Vito Scaletta, a soldier who was removed from World War II due to a wound he suffered during combat against the Nazis in Italy. In the first moments of gameplay, we take control of Vito in his operation, where we can see the cruelty of war and also where he sees for the first time the power that a Dom (the name given to the head of a mafia) has on the population.
After his injury and time in the hospital, he returns to the fictitious city of Empire Bay, which I thought was inspired in New York. Once there, Vito meets Joe Barbaro, his friend since childhood and accomplice in the crimes he committed in his time. The two talk about the city and what has changed in the time he has been away, and soon after Vito returns home to see his mother and sister who live alone in a small flat in the suburbs of the city since his father died.
As said above, Vito has been removed from the war and not dismissed, this means that he will have to go back there at some point because it is not over yet. Talking to his family he says that he doesn’t want to go back at all and his friend Joe, who is involved with one of the three strongest mafias in town, says that he will help him by forging a document so that he doesn’t have to go back. Everything seems to be going well until Vito finds out that before his father passed away he made a huge debt for his mother and sister to pay, and this has made them go through difficulties and constant threats.
Vito decides to help his family to pay off the debt by working, but an honest and legalized job pays extremely poorly and it would take him years to collect the money to pay the debt. Revolted with the difficulty he seeks his friend Joe to know if the tasks of the Mafia would earn him more money and that’s when the game begins for real.
Mafia 2 had its definitive edition developed by Hangar 13 and 2k games. The game presents a remarkable evolution in gameplay if compared to the first title. Now you can interact more with the world and hand to hand combat had a slight improvement, which made it more cinematic and with a more strategic approach, focusing on observing the opponent’s movements.
The combat with weapons I found that kept the same high level of quality that Mafia always presented in the franchise, I mean, the weapons are super balanced and have a very large and cool difference between them. As for the variation in the arsenal, it still remains small, but this does not hinder in any way and not even came to be a point that I wanted to criticize, because even though there are few weapons available, they are so well made that made me question whether there was really a need to have several.
The vehicles are still hard and skidding more than they should, but this is not something negative but positive in my eyes, because the cars of that time were like that and the immersion that this gave me was great. You will have three different radio stations that play very nice music of the time and news.
As for the controls and the mapping of commands on the control, I must say that I have not played the original Mafia I back in 2002, only the Mafia I Remake 2020, then I found similar commands, except the act of reloading the gun and the cover, but nothing that bothered or hindered the gameplay, within seconds you already recorded in the head.
The game follows the open-world style only linear. You have a huge world but that is explored only while you go to the main mission. In the case, I could stop a few times to explore the world even being in the main mission, but it was a mission that I noticed that the character was not in a hurry to reach the goal, then went to perform some achievements, then came back and did the mission. But the marking on the map indicating the main mission was there all the time.
Mafia II to my eyes, even today in 2021, has very well done graphics and not aged badly. I even played the Xbox 360 version at the time of it and I found the graphics and the character movement amazing. It was amazing the degree of reality of the game and the quality of direction and execution of missions. Playing this definitive edition on the Xbox One s I noticed that there were good improvements compared to the Xbox 360 version. More particles and reflections can be seen now and something that I noticed that improved, even more, was the hair of the characters and cars that are much more detailed.
The missions have a very nice degree of art direction. Each mission has a series of things happening that are eye-popping, what I want to highlight here are the shootouts and the destruction of scenery that are SURREAL. The effect that has a wall to take a shot or an enemy is very beautiful to see, and the landscape changing during the frenetic shooting is very amazing.
The city is also very beautiful and well done. With a high degree of detail both outside and inside. You feel that you are in that city and that everyone there is living a life.
Take a look at some screenshots I took during my gameplay.
No game can be completely perfect, and Mafia II does not escape this. During our gameplay, I came across things that made me very angry, like, for example, the problem with the checkpoint.
I lost count of how many times I died at the end of a long mission and had to redo it from scratch because the game had no checkpoint in the middle of the mission, even after a CG, the game would not save and if you die, had to return stretches grids. This didn’t take the shine off the game but it made me quite irritated at times.
If there is something that made me angry, to the point of wanting to stop playing for a moment to calm down were the NPCs in the game … AHHHHHHH THAT HATE. I was so angry that I started to count during the gameplay the times that I repeated missions or was hindered by NPCs in the game, which were more than 10. How so hindered you ask? The NPCs simply during an escape or chase, put their cars in front of you to get in your way, and this is not something from the game script, because there are times that do it and there are times that do not.
Something that the NPCs also do is crash their car into yours and the police start to chase you instead of them, and the shameless do that in the main missions and put a battalion of police behind you and my goodness, I have never seen so many police in one game. It comes to be stressful to the absurd amount, every street you walk on the game has a car or police patrolling, and yes they also disrupt the main missions, because many of the times you need to drive fast to reach a goal, then you stumble upon a police car and then an army is formed behind you and is not something of the script, because sometimes they are not there when you repeat the mission or are in a different location.
The game also has enemies that can hit you crossing the cover wall and this made me die countless times. The game has invisible walls, one of them made me repeat the same mission 3 times. The game has moments that finishes a CG and when you come back to the game, Vito is already dead on the floor because it seems that the enemies were mined of SSD and loaded first in the scenario that you. Fps drops, rare, but it has, and in moments without any action.
Something that also bothered us from start to finish is the subtitles. They are minuscule and a colour that makes them very difficult to read. I needed to stay close to the TV the whole game to be able to read the dialogues and even then I had difficulty.
TO THE DLCS
In total there are 3 DLCs, they are The Betrayal of Jimmy, Joe’s Adventure and Jimmy’s Vendetta. I did not finalize any of them, just gave a little play to check and found that they are pretty cool for those who want to know some events or just stay a little longer in the universe of Mafia II.
Mafia II is an incredible game and sensational, with excellent gameplay, a story very, very good. I would like to magnify here the character Joe, which is one of the best characters of the gaming world that I’ve seen, as this guy made me laugh during the campaign, he is incredibly well developed.
The graphics are sensational and even being an older game, it can be played nowadays without looking dated.
As for the flaws I mentioned, they just annoy but do not take the shine of the game in any way. You can overlook them because of how epic this game is.
I’m a big fan of Quentin Tarantino’s movies, and if someone asked me what a game made by the acclaimed film director would be like, I would recommend playing Mafia 2 because it’s extremely similar to his work, even in the blood and exaggeration.
It was an incredible experience with an epic conclusion to the story, I recommend everyone who likes the genre of gangsters, mafia, action and adventure, give this magnificent work a chance.