Ive read mixed reviews about mafia II, therefore waited until a drop in price before rushing out to buy it.
So, is it as bad as some make out? I would have to say a big NO! However, right from the onset you do have to realise this is not a remake of the first game. There are several references throughout but its a different city, with different characters and set around 20 years later.
So, the bad points.
Its not long enough; missions and subsequently the game is over far too quickly. This leaves you with the feeling the game was rushed towards the end.
To begin with, you find yourself thrust straight into playing an early part of his life, which is a little pointless. Its not long enough to work as training and therefore could have been taken care of quite easily with a cut scene. God knows one more at the beginning would not have made that much difference, Though I felt like it had been added at the last minute to bulk-out the game play.
Next the controls; There are simply too many keys to remember; it feels like Ive stepped back 10 years and is just bad design. And on the subject of controls; one of my favourite things in the original game was to drive using a game pad, configured to my own taste. However, in Mafia II there is simply no scope for game controllers configuration. Come-on guys, I was playing PC games back in the late 90s that allowed you to configure your joypad.
Too many cut scenes early in the game. At the very beginning the cut scenes take up more time than game play. Though all other faults pale when it comes to the one complaint that Ive read time and time again. No free ride option. This sucks!
Good points; and yes there are many.
I have to begin with the city. The city is one of the most atmospheric Ive ever seen, especially early in the game during the winter missions. The amount of time and effort that has gone into this boggles the mind. Unlike the old Mafia, there is very little repetition, you actually feel like you are driving around an east Coats US city of the 40s and 50s. I just want to load the game and simply explore. Oh wait, I cant as there is no free ride.
The cars. I am a huge fan of old American cars and Mafia has never let me down. Weve moved from the 20s and 30s into the 40s and 50s and with it comes some of Detroits finest.
I also have to mention the diversity. This is something the designers have obviously paid a great deal of attention too. As you move from the more affluent side of the city into the poorer and more industrial areas there appears to be a shift in the type of traffic you see. Now this is a really nice touch as the lack of variation was a complaint I often read levelled against the original game. Another aspect of driving which impressed me is the various speeds at which different vehicles are travelling. This is further enhanced by speed variations within the city and freeway systems. Something else which appeals is that there are radios to be found in the cars.
You can choose your own station to listen to as you drive; music is period but varied and does change as you progress through the games timeline. There are some throwbacks to the original game but the move is towards music of the 40s and 50s. Though Im not a fan of Rock and Roll, it does make for an authentic backdrop. In addition to which are the DJs banter and radio commercials all add to the atmosphere of the game.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable game. Its not bug or irritation free, but there are some genuinely nice features and surprises along the way.