Mafia II Impressions - Exclusive First Preview

The sequel to the cult-classic 2002 open-world crime drama game will offer a huge open world, a deeper story, and much more brutal gunplay. Join us for the first preview.

Fans of the 2002 PC game Mafia agree that the game never got its due. It was an open-world mob drama with third-person action, driving, an outstanding soundtrack, and a memorable story (and a not-as-fondly-memorable frustrating car race that was later corrected with a patch). But 2K Czech and 2K Games are gearing up for Mafia II, a sequel to the unappreciated crime drama with a new look, enhanced engine, better driving, deadlier shootouts, and a brand-new story. We had a chance to see the game up close and personal, and we have much to report.

Mafia II will offer shootouts, car chases, and the story of one person's quest to become a made man.

First of all, Mafia II is being developed from the ground up as a cross-platform sequel simultaneously on all three platforms (PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3). You may remember the not-that-great Xbox and PlayStation 2 ports of the original Mafia--that won't be the story with the sequel, which is being worked on by a sizable team of some 120 developers at 2K Czech. The developers have been upgrading the game's basic technology, the Illusion Engine, for some three years. The game will take place in an open world some 10 square miles in size (twice as big as the world in the first Mafia) and will stream the world's geometry in real time. Consequently, you should see no loading screens while playing, even when entering any of the game's more than 100 interactive indoor areas, such as diners, auto garages, and swanky high-rises, all of which will be packed with destructible environments.

Although the original game took place in 1920s America (better known as the Roaring Twenties), the sequel will take place within a 10-year time span between the 1940s and 1950s. This new time period will set the table for faster-paced action on all fronts, now that better guns will be available, and far better cars. The autos of the '20s were utility vehicles that struggled at speeds of 30 miles per hour or better, whereas the 1950s ushered in the era of high-performance muscle cars that were built for speed and racing. In addition, the game will have a more lenient, more realistic way of handling incursions with the law. Instead of chasing you to the ends of the earth on a minor traffic violation, the police in Mafia II will be "fat cops" who may tire of chasing you after a few blocks if all you've done is commit a traffic infraction, but they will definitely call for help if you've been gunning down civilians willy-nilly. You probably also won't want to be pulled over for a traffic ticket if you have some wise guy's body in your car's trunk. Then again, the story of Mafia II is one man's 10-year odyssey, from humble beginnings under the thumb of his hardworking but unsuccessful father to entering a criminal syndicate and eventually becoming a made man, so later on in the game, the police will be on the take and will actually help you on your way.

Mafia II's shootouts will be fast, loud, and lethal.

The demonstration version that we saw took place partway through the game during a mafia mission. Vito, the game's main character, has come up through the ranks with his childhood buddy Joe, a violent hothead who will play the mouthy Joe Pesci to the DeNiro-like straight man Vito. As a newly made man, Vito's mission is to drive downtown with Joe and the teenage driver Marty to a fabulously decadent mob party in the penthouse of a downtown high-rise, disguise themselves as a cleaning crew, infiltrate the party, plant a bomb in the boardroom to assassinate a rival gang boss, and get out alive. This entire briefing takes place in real time, narrated by Joe as you make your drive, after which you arrive in the building's parking lot and tell young Marty to stay put.

We watched as Vito and Marty hit the elevator to meet their inside man, change into their disguises, and then head up to the posh penthouse. The joint was a highly detailed, fully stocked piano bar with a handful of mobsters in expensive suits cracking wise as we walked through the party to head to the boardroom, which lay behind the bar's wall of frosted glass. After we were waved into the boardroom on the pretense of cleaning a stain off of the carpet, the game switched to a brief cinematic sequence during which Joe armed the bomb underneath the table and then waved us out the window to a window washer's platform, where the two were to make their escape.

Unfortunately, the bomb went off early, nearly killing the boys and giving the rival mob boss, who through blind luck happened to be taking a bathroom break, a chance to escape. At this point, the cinematic sequence ended, and Vito and Joe had to leap over the ruins of the luxurious mahogany conference table and chase down the mob boss through a crowd of angry, gun-toting gangsters and take him down. This was also about the point where Mafia II stopped being a standard, walk-around-and-bump-into-people open-world game and became a heavy-duty third-person shooter.

They think you're funny, like a clown. Here to amuse them. Prove them wrong when Mafia II ships later this year.

The idea behind Mafia II's gunplay is to make it much more of a shooter and much less of a tacked-on, auto-aiming minigame. The gunplay that we saw was fast-paced and deadly. Even though you'll be carrying weapons that are conventional to the '40s and '50s, such as various handguns, rifles, and Tommy guns, from what we saw, your fights won't be the kind of arcade-style, drawn-out firefights that you may have seen in other games--you know, where you take a few hits and then casually make a run for the nearest health pack. Yes, the game will have a full-on cover system that will let you attach yourself to nearby walls and other objects, and even blind-fire around cover. Yes, enemies will also smartly use cover themselves, taking shelter behind walls and even kicking over tables to hide behind. But a few well-placed shots will do you in completely, and a well-placed bullet in the head will also take out your enemies, who will be hard-nosed mobsters but still human.

The chase through the penthouse was short but thrilling, thanks to a command performance from Mafia II's most impressive supporting cast member: the environments. Bottles and shot glasses shattered loudly when bullets began flying, small furniture got chewed up by gunfire, and after a stray bullet grazed a pipeline, the building's sprinkler systems poured torrents of water into the hallways, obstructing our view in some places. We watched as Vito and Joe ground their way through armed gangsters that stood between the two men and the elevator. At some points, the two played a deadly game of cat and mouse as both men alternately dropped behind cover and sprayed off a few shots to entrenched enemies. At another point, Joe bum-rushed a thug who wasn't fast enough to react (or smart enough to stand away from the building's windows); the poor sap was brutally beaten, picked up by the lapels of his pinstripe suit, and hurled clean through the glass to plummet to his death below. Apparently, Mafia II will also have a new melee combat system, but the details on this are being kept under wraps for the time being.

Once Vito and Joe finally made it to the ground floor, they leapt into their getaway car to pursue the fleeing mob boss in a high-speed chase. Some of Mafia II's car chases will be two-man jobs that will require you, as Vito, to put the pedal to the metal while Joe pops his head and his gun out of the passenger window and opens fire. The gunplay will occur only if you can bring your car in close enough, so in this particular chase, Vito had to bring the car in nice and tight after the fleeing mob boss before Joe could open fire. As it turns out, the component parts of Mafia II's cars will be fully modeled (they won't be just a gigantic brick on wheels), so if you happen to land a lucky shot on a car's engine block, it'll go up in a spectacular explosion.

Washing windows is one thing, nearly getting blown to bits is another.

From all appearances, Mafia II looks like it should offer everything that the original game did but more of it, and all of it better. The huge, interactive world, improved driving, improved gunplay, and deeper plot should pull in anyone who enjoys virtually stealing cars, or filling bad guys full of lead, or well-developed stories along the lines of excellent gangster movies such as Goodfellas. The game is scheduled to launch this year simultaneously on the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PS3.

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Discussion

421 comments
major_mayhem_01
major_mayhem_01

Release is this month (August 24-USA/August 27-International)! The DEMO plays really well on my comp and I hope the release is the same! I just wish that Mafia 2 has a better story line than the original. IE: The main character doesn't make idiotic mistakes like letting hookers go to come back later and screw up everything...lol.

leezer4000
leezer4000

the only thing i dont like the sound of is u've to drive in a certain fashion so your partner will shoot sounds frustrating to me

anudeep989
anudeep989

when is this game's exact release date ?

Faerie_Fire
Faerie_Fire

The first Mafia was Incredibly Good...It was almost Perfection as other say correctly. Yeah it's far better than any Grand Theft Auto or GTA "likes" game. It was Intense and realistic. If you tried to run at high speed they tried to give you a ticket... not shoot you down like a bird. I expecting this game from the time I Finished the first one...

Xploziv2k9
Xploziv2k9

Woah. What do we have here! This game looks great!!! This is mine.

theis123456
theis123456

AWSOME.... MY GOOODDDDDD, i gonna to have this game in one or an oter way. This is the game i have being wating for wole my life, thanks good you made the game thanks. I wil olso wonder if there be shops in the game????/hores

Jiimbo28
Jiimbo28

yeah Im hearing all types of rumors on the games release. Im hearing October 31st October 5th and gametrailers says June 30th 2009. Im going with October 31st until taketwo announces it otherwise .

dominicangta4
dominicangta4

nahh gta4 will always be better just hope this one is better than the first one becouse the first one sucked

Gamingguy87
Gamingguy87

Mafia is my favorite pc game of all time and it sounds like Mafia 2 might just take it's place.

fiefypants
fiefypants

The more i hear about this game, the more it sounds like it is going to be GTA IV v2.0 , I seriously hope that is not the case. The City of Lost Heaven is probably still my fave PC game of all time I just hope this squeal does the MAFIA name justice. but from all the trailers and screenshots it looks like MAFIA II has GTA IV beat. I will be buying this game the second it becomes available for purchase.... on the PC platform of course.

Bahrein
Bahrein

The game is going to be great.I have red somewhere that its going to be released in 5th october this year

mafiadon112
mafiadon112

This game is going be a great game it will be the best game of the year

Zimbodavid
Zimbodavid

Hope this go's well. I need to play as the ice cold Mafia again.

sivasiba2
sivasiba2

u can see they are hyped about the game as in all previews...But in the review u will see Incomplete crashes Glitches just like every other game(God Father 2) like different people are playing DEMOs.....

recvx_freak
recvx_freak

WTF IS TAKING THEM SO LONG??? NOT ONLY HAS IT BEEN 8 F@@@@@@ YEARS SINCE THE FIRST PART WAS LAUNCHED BUT ITS BEEN AN YEAR SINCE THEY ARE SHOWING THE RELEASE DATE AS TBA

L0n3W01F
L0n3W01F

The first one was a classic, i really got my hopes high with this one.

metalliod
metalliod

Hope this one's much better then the first one.

usmanwah
usmanwah

I hope the gameplay on the pc is as smooth as is seen in the videos. us pc gamers r in great need of a good looking game that runs smooth. games run fine on consoles but they aren`t good looking to be honest

mmarchak
mmarchak

@samsung5e: Couldn't agree with you more. seems like people are freaking brainless, comparing the "mafia franchise" to gta, calling gta s**t? what "mafia franchise"? there is no "mafia franchise", there was only one mafia game (circa 2002) and now a second one which won't even be released for another 6 months. And yes i will admit, i remember playing mafia when it first came out 7 years ago, and it was one of my favorites, but i would not go as far as saying that the grand theft autos are "s**t" compared to mafia, because it is not, by a long-shot. Jesus, people are truly freaking braindead.p.s. totally looking forward to mafia 2, lets hope it lives up to the hype.

starmanuk50
starmanuk50

mafia 1 is one of the best games i ever played, it had everything almost to perfection. It was graphically believable,the hit cover system was great,the story was outstanding,believable characters,immersive gameplay. It was ahead of its time. now mafia 2 looks so sweet. i have high hopes for this, it looks simply georgious. hope it lives up to its predecessor.

BloodMist
BloodMist

It better not be...man, this game better not be dumbed down in any way, the gunplay in the first was so realistic it was absurd.The storyline, on par with the Godfather films...they better not skimp.Don't become a new Monolith, for god sakes.For the record, Mafia makes GTA look like a pile of puke.PC version, not console versions.That's a fact.

ondskan
ondskan

Please oh pleeeaaase don't let the PC version be a console port!

EiRoGGe
EiRoGGe

Mafia is my favorite game of all time, so I'm eagerly waiting on this one. :-) Hope they don't mess up the atmosphere.

CCarbone23
CCarbone23

Mafia I, was not so great. However, Mafia II does look promising. Hopefully it will be like the Killzone situation, the first one was not so great but the second one was pretty amazing. I do want to play this, but I am still a pit skeptical. Hope it turns out good. [For the record, Mafia I had nothing on the GTA franchise]

samsung5e
samsung5e

metalkid9, I couldn't agree with you more. This is a Hyped up game RIGHT NOW so people will say ridiculous things like Mafia was better than GTA. Last time I checked..... GTA outsold Mafia by a Landslide & continued their franchise to make Millions where as the 1st Mafia game actually sucked. Well see just how good Mafia 2 is when it releases. I'm looking forward to it just like everyone else, but I'm still skeptical until I play it. Besides, the 1st thing I did in Mafia was try to get in a car, but the car was locked, & the message on the screen was, "The Door Is Locked" so I shot the door right off the car. Walked up to the doorless car & tried to get in again, but the message on the screen said..... "The Door Is Locked" So you know this will be the 1st thing I try in Mafia 2

gypsygib
gypsygib

This game looks awesome!

metalkid9
metalkid9

its funny how people get so hyped that they will say any other game is crap. well i guess you cant expect much from kids these days. or people are just too emotional these days and let go of their brain to process what the heck they are saying

metalkid9
metalkid9

@483paul, can you explain to me what was so sloppy about gta games? I'm very interested to know that

metalkid9
metalkid9

why do people think that people are comparing mafia to godfather. no one is comparing it to godfather. whats wrong with people these days?

-Hells_Gate-
-Hells_Gate-

Mafia was one of teh best games I have ever played.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

I had this on Xbox and loved it even while it had its problems.

483paul
483paul

I loved Mafia. I tried playing GTA but found it sloppy compared to Mafia. I have yet to play GTA 4 which looks promising. But Mafia was an outstanding game.

Gruff-182
Gruff-182

Anyone who played the original PC Mafia, knows how special it really was. Though I do love GTA, it can never touch what Mafia did. Godfather should even be compared, it has nothing on it.

kvan33
kvan33

This genre is played out.

hoscba
hoscba

I really want to get this game NOW! I loved the first one (PC version) and I think I will love the second! YAY!!

L0n3W01F
L0n3W01F

Definitely looks very promising, cant wait. *Puts in buy list*

Redhunt_86
Redhunt_86

anyone still remember the 'Speed' tribute mini-game? Dang, was that one of the most difficult challenges ever or what. Killing 'speedy gonzales' was dang easy though.

AudioSoldier
AudioSoldier

I'm assuming it'll be like the original Mafia in the respect that you'll drive around the city only when driving to a mission, instead of just wandering around aimlessly and blowing things up like in GTA?

sensei_hEnRY
sensei_hEnRY

i'll get this game, looks really promising

Arrancar6
Arrancar6

This game looks great now. Lets hope 2K doesn't f&$#ing kill it

fiefypants
fiefypants

the more i hear about this game the more it sounds like it is gonna be GTA IV copy only in a different time period, it's a shame too cause the thing that i liked about the first one was that it was so unique... oh well hope the cutscenes look better than GTA IV they all seemed blurry

cj_wvl
cj_wvl

My most-anticipated game in 2009!

jayd02
jayd02

ok duke 51 u must not know to much about american history in the 1920's everybody had money and was rich having fun, and the 1930's was when he had a depression so everybody was trying to hide away their money and not worry about anything else, the 1940's maybe good but the 1950's is a perfect time for this type of game

Duke_51
Duke_51

What's with the 1950's setting? How 'bout some more 20's, 30's, maybe even 40's? The 50's just didn't seem as... gritty.

dennishachey
dennishachey

cant wate to get it for the ps3 to get the platnum from it

antipunt1
antipunt1

The most noticeable thing for me during my playthrough of Mafia (this year 2009) was not the game. It was the fanbase. Seriously, it surprised the bejeezus outta me, these people refuse to admit that -anything- was bad about the game at all. It's got to be the nostalgia-goggles