Mafia II Updated Impressions

This mob story may have an old-fashioned setting, but its take on open-world storytelling is anything but.

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In our previous encounter with Mafia II at E3 this past June, we came away impressed with the game’s 1950s-era tale of organized crime wrapped around one man’s pursuit of the American dream. But one thing that makes this open-world action game from 2K Czech interesting is the way it takes optional missions and intertwines them with the main story structure in a way you don’t really see in games of this genre. That was the focus of a demo led by publisher 2K Games earlier today at GamesCom 2009.

The demo we checked out started with a phone call. The main character Vito receives a message from an associate of his named Giuseppe asking him to come by and pick up some less-than-legitimate papers. Vito agrees to help Giuseppe and sets off to meet him--though only after the player selects an outfit from the wardrobe and a car from his garage. On the way out of the parking lot, you witness a minor auto accident nearby. A fight erupts between the angry fellow and the woman he ran into, giving you the opportunity to walk up and defend her from this guy’s brimming rage. If you choose to help her out, you’ll jump into a fight with the guy and test the game’s melee combat. It relies on just three buttons--light attack, heavy attack, and evade--but manages to look very brutal and convincing.

This little subquest is one of the many examples of how you’re often given the opportunity to take on optional side missions while making your way from one point to another in the city during a larger story mission. That’s something that should help make the city feel much more alive--that feeling that an opportunity might randomly fall into your lap without you having to go searching for an icon on the map to trigger a mission. Another example of these side quests intertwined within the main narrative came just a moment later in the demo when we ran into a gentleman named Steve while walking up the stairs to meet Giuseppe. After exchanging pleasantries, Steve hints that a friend of his has been having some trouble selling cars due to a rival salesman cutting in on his business. Long story short, Steve wants you to mess up some cars belonging to the other guy.

Naturally, the 2K Games rep leading our demo chose to help Steve out in this scenario, further delaying the main story a bit while Vito goes off on his own business. But upon leaving the building, Vito runs into some trouble in the parking lot and gets confronted by a police officer demanding to see a permit for Vito’s gun (which Vito had just brandished to ward off some muggers). The player is given the choice to bribe the cop, show a permit if he’s got one, or just plain run away. The 2K rep went with the third option, causing a wanted icon to appear on the screen and the cop to give chase. Unlike Grand Theft Auto, you can’t just hide and let your wanted level disappear; you’ll need to alter your appearance by running into a clothing store to change clothes so that your last known appearance no longer matches your current one.

There’s actually a different wanted system for when you get in trouble behind the wheel of a car. That particular vehicle goes on record with the police, not the driver, so the easy option is to simply make your way out of the sight of the police tailing you and jump out of the car. But if you ever go back to that car (say, for example, you store it in your garage for a few days and go back to it), you’ll be wanted all over again. But if you’re attached to the vehicle you’re driving and want to make it safe to drive, there’s another option to take the car to a mechanic to have the paint job redone and the license plate swapped.

But let's get back to the mission. After losing his wanted level, Vito makes his way over to the car lot and uses some stealth tactics, such as sneaking in the shadows and taking cover behind crates, to make it in without alerting the guards. He manages to do so and immediately proceeds to toss Molotov cocktails on the cars inside. Chaos ensues as the cars explode, shelves come toppling down, and bits of the ceiling cascade onto the ground in an impressive showing of the game’s destructive environments.

And that’s just about where the demo ended. We walked away from the demo very impressed with Mafia II, thanks in large part to some of these interesting new additions to the open-world action genre and an impressive presentation that blends striking character models with great voice acting. We’re looking forward to bringing you more on this one in the near future.

Discussion

145 comments
ohwhat_24
ohwhat_24

this is game is everything i have ever wanted in a game.

unbentonslaught
unbentonslaught

@nasuang the game isn't going to come out anytime soon. But it definately looks awesome!

DKyleM
DKyleM

the first Mafia game on PS2 was awesome. I cant wait until Mafia II comes out, Its gonna be sick!!

nasuang
nasuang

what mafia II release day

sam_jona123
sam_jona123

This game is awesome i will buy anlong with my ps3 in march

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

GTA and mafia are two games with different ideas; GTA tries to be realistic as it can be while offering more explosive action, Mafia tries to be as realistic as it can be while offering a great story. Both are great games.

da2g
da2g

I LOVE BOTH OF THEM !! GTA AND MAFIA RULES :)

First-Irish-Lad
First-Irish-Lad

Mafia and GTA are different games as hard as that may seem. GTA is great for just running rampant, Mafia is a story based game. Not to say that there wasn't a good story in GTA but Mafia puts more attention to the plot. However I am sure that this game will kick Godfather 1 and 2 aside because that doesn't take that much effort.

Jock9
Jock9

Sounds good, especially the side missions that you can do with ease. Hope its better than Godfather 2, athough it will have a challenge with GTA 4, the battle for crime simulators begins...

darkdredude
darkdredude

The whole concept sounds awsome, I hope its better the GTA and Godfather 2

Alex_09
Alex_09

One important thing I really hope they fix is the health of the enemies. I remember putting 3 clips into a guy once, and the shotguns were almost useless if you weren't a meter away.

rockdawg
rockdawg

Unbelieveable...a sequel of sorts that could be a ton better than the original, which was fantastic. Very cool.

Bradlei
Bradlei

I loved 1st one! Can't wait 4 this, does sound better than gta, Hopefully they don't stuff it up or rush it out.

darksamuri92
darksamuri92

oh yeah. this is definitley going in the collection

gnarvster
gnarvster

I loved the first mafia, especially because of the immersive world, both regarding the story and the physical environment. I actually ended up using the game's free ride in my master's thesis. I was under the impression no mafia2 would be developed - things were kinda shady at first, and rumors floated around development had been stopped. I'm glad it's back and I'm looking forward to this game, early 2010. http://mrgnome.wordpress.com

8smokes
8smokes

I like how this is very realistic. That should make the game a lot better/immersive.

emacdaddy08
emacdaddy08

Man, I'm getting this day one, it looks and sounds like the Mafia sim I've always wanted.

chshak
chshak

man i cant wait :)

mihirpuch2006
mihirpuch2006

I hav jus one line to say-This game will rock.............

Mr_Fujiv1
Mr_Fujiv1

its a shame they haven't included online play but then again i would rather a better story to play through.

Mar28jw
Mar28jw

wiseguy ehhh,bara bee bara boom"capish

steventyler2
steventyler2

i cant wait till i get it it looks briiliant

deatheaterjahan
deatheaterjahan

yeah once again i'm sure mafia II will gets the job done but TBA is sadly isn't it !!

gamerminds
gamerminds

OH man cool cool. Classic Gangsters. hehe lol

gip89wb
gip89wb

i loved the 1st 1 and cant wait 4 this 1

teithshun
teithshun

i just loved the story of the first mafia game. i am sure that this will have one of the best stories,best graphics, unique gameplay.

PSplayer09
PSplayer09

i'll either play the demo, rent it, or wait for reviews. if its good , i'll buy.

HCL2
HCL2

but have noticed that car will explode very fast(see the video). Perhaps this will make the game bad ???!!!

jiffygiggle
jiffygiggle

Mafia Movies Rule!!! Mafia Games WILL Rule!!!

BigDaddy973
BigDaddy973

I just wish it has a system to Godfather 2's racket running mechanic, I loved taking over rackets and stuff. And this game would be even better if it had something like that, a way to get your family up the ranks.

st0ner0
st0ner0

Its looking pretty good the now. I like the old style gangster and mafia type movies, so this should be pretty awsome!

OutlawFour
OutlawFour

Was a massive fan of the first, and this one is going to be epic in it's own right from what I've heard so far. I can't wait, but I don't mind delays if it means the final product is going to be better. Would rather that than it rushed out as a quick cash grab.

chinchillables2
chinchillables2

I always like Mafia style games for some reason... Even loved the Gangster Mafia style suit you can get on Resident Evil 4 with the Tommy Gun!

evilwoody
evilwoody

gamespot is happy with the demo, this makes me happy. Can't wait to get a piece of the action myself :)

evildog51
evildog51

looks soo cool. hope they do a demo

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I cant even begin to tell how big the original was, i think it was my favorite game of all time! The story was superb, so mature than movies! the gameplay, graphics, sounds, atmosphere was way above anything released at that time. Of course I am talking about PC version, the console version were shadow of the game, but i dont think that will be the case for this one.

pofolk459
pofolk459

The first one was one of the best games i played back in the day i had it for xbox but they didnt make it backwards compatible for xbox 360 so i couldnt play and ive been wanting to so bad this game look like its gone be way better than the first and i cant wait it just sucks that it was delayed was really excited when i thought it was coming out this fall

JoeBeetle1
JoeBeetle1

This game does what The God Father game(s) couldn't do, original, polish, and quality gaming with some nice twist (hope this remains the same once released). First game was a little slow at times but overal it was great fun outside the GTA format! Still love GTA, just different in it's own class. The LONG wait should prove worthy, we hope!

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I hope Mafia II doesn't keep getting delayed. I've been looking forward to this for a while.

gizmo12345
gizmo12345

This is the game i have most wanted for a while, theres nothing im looking forward to more (game wise)