Every now and again we’ll look at game titles and we kick that off with the release of the Sandbox title Mafia II.
Obviously, when heard of this title my mind immediately went to The Godfather meets Grand Theft Auto and whilst it’s a slightly different type of Mafia we are dealing with here, the expectations are met – partially by the city you roam and also the mission based story you go through.
It isn’t New York City, but at the same time it is. Our leading character is a young Italian immigrant who comes back early from the war and finds himself only too happy to take up the life of crime in order to pay off the family debts and make some cash on the side.
From here you pretty much follow a straight track as the story guides you from one mission to the next. Sometimes you are doing small errands, other times you are in full on gang shoot outs. The story is what makes Mafia II thrive as well as it does and thankfully, it’s a half decent story (although not breaking any narrative new ground as far as gangsters go) as the rest of the game seems like a hollow waste.
There is a whole city to explore, but very little to do in it other than admire the view. The detail is very nice and the landscape can look quite stunning, but after wandering, driving around realising there is very little to do other than pick up some new threads or visit the odd bar you begin to wonder what the point was. If you follow the story and nothing else you can be done in 8-10 hours. That’s not too shabby a playtime – but some side missions and other distractions would have been nice. Yes there are some collectables you can chase after, and perhaps some forthcoming downloadable content but for the time being this pretty looking and enjoyable story pales in comparison to other sandbox titles. Sadly the Godfather of these is still GTA.