Mafia II

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Mafia II
Mafia II Boxart.jpg
Developer(s) 2K Czech
Publisher(s) 2K Games
1C Company (Russia)
Feral Interactive (OS X)
Connect2Media (Mobile)
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Producer(s) Lukáš Kuře
Programmer(s) Laurent Gorga
Artist(s) Roman Hladík
Writer(s) Pavel Černohous
Matouš Ježek
Daniel Vávra
Composer(s) Matúš Široký
Adam Kuruc
Engine Illusion Engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Mobile OS
OS X
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Release date(s)
  • NA 23 August 2010
  • AUS 26 August 2010
Genre(s) Third-person shooter, action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, download, cloud computing

Mafia II is an action-adventure video game developed by 2K Czech and published by 2K Games. It was released on 23 August 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows;[1][2] a Mac OS X port was released by Feral Interactive in December 2011.[3] The game is the direct sequel to 2002's Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven.[4] Set within the fictional Empire Bay (based on New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit), the story follows a gangster and his efforts to climb through the ranks of the Mafia crime families.

The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle. Players control Vito Scaletta, a war veteran who becomes caught up with the Mafia when trying to pay back his father's debts. The player character's criminal activities may incite a response from law enforcement agencies, measured by a "wanted" system that governs the aggression of their response. Development began in 2003, soon after the release of Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. At release, Mafia II received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise particularly directed at the story.

Gameplay[edit]

The player character engaging in a gunfight with the authorities. Police awareness in the game works in a similar manner as with the previous game, although the player can now bribe after committing an offense.

The game is set in the 1940s - early 1950s era of Empire Bay, a fictional city based on New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit.[5][6] There are 30-40 vehicles in the game as well as licensed music from the era.[7]

Many firearms from the previous game return, such as the Thompson submachine gun and Colt 1911, as well as a pump-action shotgun. New World War II-era weapons like the MP 40, the M3 submachine gun, the MG 42 and the Beretta Model 38 also appear in the game

Interacting with objects in the environment involves two action buttons- a standard action and a "violent" action (for example, when stealing a car, the player may choose to either pick its lock or break the window glass), used in context-sensitive situations. A map is included as in the original Mafia game, but the checkpoint system has been completely overhauled.[8][further explanation needed] New controls include a cover system that allows the player to take cover behind objects (such as generators, walls and large crates) and shoot enemies, rather than just entering an arbitrary crouch pose behind them.

The game's cutscenes are created by the game engine in real-time. For example, if the player is riding in a car and a cut scene starts, the player will be driving the same car with the same condition (damaged or intact) and will be wearing the same clothes.[9] There are exceptions, however: Scenes, such as the opening sequence and the Empire Arms Hotel explosion, are pre-rendered video clips.

The game features three different in-game radio stations (Empire Central Radio, Empire Classic Radio and Delta Radio) with licensed music, news, and commercials. The radio stations include music from different genres including rock and roll, big band, rhythm and blues and doo-wop, with licensed songs by Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Dean Martin, Little Richard, Muddy Waters, Buddy Holly & The Crickets, Bing Crosby, Bill Haley & His Comets, The Chordettes, Bo Diddley, Ricky Nelson, Eddie Cochran, The Champs, The Drifters, The Fleetwoods, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and The Andrews Sisters.

Plot[edit]

The player as he drives through the streets of Empire Bay. Mafia II largely takes place in the early 1950s, though the first few missions were set in 1943 to 1945.

The game begins with Vito Scaletta looking through a photo album, as he begins to tell his story in voice over. He was born in Sicily in 1925 to an extremely poor family. A few years later, his family immigrates to the fictional city Empire Bay in America, but they are no better off there than they were in Sicily. As he gets older, Vito gets involved with a local criminal named Joe Barbaro, who eventually became his best friend. Vito is arrested during a botched robbery and given a choice: Go to jail or join the Army. He chooses the latter and is sent to Sicily during World War II to assist as a paratrooper in Operation Husky, before being shot and sent home on leave.

Once home, Vito is discharged courtesy of Joe's mob connections, and learns that his dead father left his family in massive debt. Hoping to make money, Vito turns to Joe, who introduces him to Henry Tomasino, an inducted member of the Mafia (otherwise known as a made man) working for mob boss Alberto Clemente. Working under Henry, Vito is introduced to a real life of crime. Though he is able to pay his father's debt, Vito is soon arrested for illegally distributing ration stamps, and is sentenced to ten years in prison.

In prison, Vito falls in with the crowd of Leo Galante, consigliere for another mob boss, Frank Vinci. Galante is able to take nearly four years off of Vito's sentence, and he is released in 1951. Once out, Vito meets up with Joe, who now works for the last of Empire Bay's three mob bosses, Carlo Falcone. Vito starts doing odd jobs for Falcone, eventually becoming a made man in the Falcone crime family, and buying a suburban house. Vito and Joe's biggest job comes when they are sent to assassinate Clemente, who ordered Carlo's accountant's kidnapping, and influenced Vinci to turn on Falcone. The assassination does not quite go to plan; Joe's childhood friend Marty is killed by Clemente, and Joe brutally murders the mob boss after he attempts to escape.

Soon after, Vito is approached by Henry, who wants to defect from the Clemente family and work for Falcone. In order to do so, he is ordered to kill Galante at the behest of Falcone, though Vito saves his old friend by convincing Henry to let Galante simply "disappear." Soon after, a gang of Irish criminals, who had feuded with Galante in prison, burn his house to the ground in belated retaliation for a jailhouse murder by Vito. Penniless, he turns to Joe, who helps him get revenge and allows him to live in Marty's old apartment until he gets back on his feet. To help Vito get out of debt, Henry gets him and Joe involved in the drug trade, revealing that Falcone is also involved, but will want a large cut of the profits if he discovers their racket. Although the trio are successful, the Chinese discover that Henry is a federal informant and savagely kill him in the middle of a park with meat cleavers in broad daylight. Incensed, Vito and Joe seek revenge and shoot up a Chinatown restaurant, killing the Triad enforcer, Mr. Wong - but not before he reveals to them that Henry was a rat. Falcone had already taken his cut, and whatever money had been left for Mr. Wong and the Triad is gone.

Vito and Joe are both now indebted to the Jewish loan shark, Bruno, who loaned them the drug money. Very poor and deep in debt, the duo are tasked to earn most of the money by their own means, which involves petty theft throughout Empire Bay. They manage to get the money back; in the process, they murder Thomas "Tommy" Angelo, the protagonist of the first Mafia game, who has started a new life under the Witness Protection program of the FBI. Eventually, Vito learns the truth behind his father's death: he was drowned at the docks on orders of his union boss Derek Pappalardo, caporegime for Frank Vinci. Vito avenges his father by killing Derek and his men, and after rescuing Joe from a kidnapping staged by Vinci, discovers that Bruno is the very same loan shark who had loaned Vito's father so much money before his death.

It seems that all is well, but unfortunately, the incident in Chinatown has caused too much tension between Falcone and Vinci, as each believes the other is responsible. Vito is forced by Vinci's men, led by Galante (who has returned to clear things up, knowing that Vito and Joe were the ones actually responsible) and Mr. Wong's superior, to assassinate Falcone in exchange for his own life. With Joe's help, Vito succeeds in doing so, and they leave with Galante to celebrate. However, when Joe's escort makes an unexpected turn, Galante softly reveals to a dismayed Vito that Joe "wasn't part of [the] deal." The final shot in the game is a view of Empire Bay before the credits roll.

Development[edit]

Preliminary work on Mafia II began in 2004; the work on the script began in 2003. Originally intended for a PlayStation 2 and Xbox release, the game was moved to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2005, following difficulties with the developer of the game engine. It was officially revealed in August 2007 at the Leipzig Games Convention. A playable version of the game was achieved in 2007 or 2008.[10]

A promotional trailer was released for the game in August 2007. A second trailer was released on the Spike VGA show on 14 December 2008.[11] An extended version of the trailer was released on 15 January with an extra 30 seconds of cut scene footage.[12] The first gameplay footage debuted on GameSpot on 17 April 2009 as part of an interview with Mafia II's producer, Denby Grace.[13] The video shows driving and gunplay aspects to gameplay as well as portraying the physics engine. A third trailer was uploaded to the website on 28 May 2009. From 1 June 2009, four short videos are to be added to the Mafia II website. The first of these is called "The Art of Persuasion" and features the song "Mercy, Mr Percy" by the female singer Varetta Dillard. Another video was released featuring footage from the mission "The Buzzsaw". The video reveals the fate of "The Fat Man" who appeared in the earlier trailers.[14] On 27 March 2010, a new trailer was released showcasing the PhysX-based cloth and physics system used in the game.[15]

On 3 August 2010, Sheridyn Fisher, the face of Playboy Swim 2010, became the official ambassador for Mafia II. Sheridyn's involvement with Mafia II highlights the agreement between 2K Games and Playboy magazine to use 50 of their vintage covers and Centerfolds in Mafia II as part of the in-game collectibles integration.[16] A demo for the game was released on 10 August 2010 on Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.[17]

Release[edit]

Pre-order bonuses[edit]

On 26 May 2010 four content packs were offered as pre-order bonuses in America and European countries, each one available through different retailers. The Vegas Pack containing two additional cars and suits for Vito and the War Hero Pack containing two military-style vehicles and suits was available from GameStop and EBGames. The Renegade Pack containing two sports cars and two jackets was available from Amazon and the Greaser Pack featuring two hot-rods and two suits were available to Best Buy customers.[18] These pre-order packs are available for purchase as game add-ons on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Steam. On 26 May 2010 a collector's edition was announced for Mafia II.[19]

PlayStation 3 version[edit]

The PlayStation 3 version became subject to controversy on 2K's Mafia II forums when 2K's interactive marketing manager Elizabeth Tobey stated that the PlayStation 3 version would be missing certain graphical details that were present in the Windows and Xbox 360 versions including three dimensional grass, pools of blood forming under dead bodies and realistic cloth physics.[20] These details were said to be present in earlier builds of the game, but had to be removed to increase the game's frame rate.

Upon release, the PlayStation 3 version received the same or higher review scores than the Xbox 360 version from Destructoid and Nowgamer (sites that review the game on multiple platforms rather than the normal practice of reviewing a single platform) due to additional content.[21][22] Metacritic gave both versions the same score of 74/100,[23][24] while GameRankings has the Xbox 360 version 4 points ahead of the PlayStation 3 version based on more reviews.[25][26]

Downloadable content[edit]

Three downloadable content (DLC) packs have been announced for the game. The first, titled The Betrayal of Jimmy is a PlayStation 3 exclusive episode that was a free download upon release to users who purchase the game new. This was announced by Sony on 15 June 2010 at E3 2010.[27] The DLC revolves around a gun-for-hire named Jimmy, in an alternate storyline separate from the main game's canon. Missions are structured in a non-linear manner like Grand Theft Auto, and includes a score attack feature in which players earn points for doing certain actions.

The second installment of downloadable content, Jimmy's Vendetta, was released on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Steam on 7 September 2010.[28] The mission pack picks up on the events of the first DLC, as Jimmy exacts revenge on those who framed him. Joe's Adventures, the third and final DLC was released on 23 November 2010. Joe's Adventures focuses on the events that occur in Empire Bay during the years that Vito is imprisoned in the main Mafia II storyline, putting the player in control of his best friend Joe and seeing his perspective. The DLC combines standard missions with score-based, open world missions. It is estimated to provide eight hours of gameplay.[29]

The Russian software publisher 1C Company officially announced a compilation package entitled Mafia II: Extended Edition for the Russian market. It includes the base game, four DLC packs (Vegas Pack, Renegade Pack, Greaser Pack, and War Hero Pack), and The Betrayal of Jimmy as well as Jimmy's Vendetta and Joe's Adventures. It was released on December 3, 2010 for the PC. The same package is released for Western markets as Mafia II: Director's Cut on PC, Mac OS X[3] and their respective budget labels on consoles.[30]

Mobile version[edit]

A version of Mafia II was also released for mobile phones and smartphones by Connect2Media.[31][32] The game is set in Empire Bay in 1938, and features Marco Rusetto, nephew of Vincenzo, Salieri's gunsmith, who is seeking revenge against Tommy after the fall of Salieri family, and him finding work in the Falcone family with the help of Don Falcone and Henry Tomasino.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 76%[33]
(X360) 76%[25]
(PS3) 75%[26]
Metacritic (PC) 77/100[35]
(PS3) 75/100[24]
(X360) 74/100[23]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com B[34]
Edge 6/10[36]
Eurogamer 4/10[37]
Game Informer 9.0/10[38]
GamePro 3.5/5 stars[43]
GameSpot 8.5/10[46]
GamesTM 8/10[45]
IGN 7.0/10[39]
Official Xbox Magazine 7/10[47]
PC Gamer UK 78%[41]
X-Play 4/5 stars[49]

Mafia II received mostly positive reviews from critics.[23][24][35] Greg Miller of IGN gave the game 7/10, calling it "a solid little game that'll give you a fun ride – just don't expect the world."[39] Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot gave it 8.5 and stated: "Mafia II's exciting action and uncompromising mob story make for an impressive and violent adventure."[46] Matt Bertz of Game Informer gave it a 9.0/10, writing that "in an era when video games are moving away from relying on cinematics for storytelling, Mafia II draws on the rich mobster film history to weave a gripping drama about family, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and pragmatism."[38]

The most negative review came from John Teti of Eurogamer who gave the game a 4/10 and wrote that "Mafia II gets the last word by destroying the myth that the mafia is interesting at all. It contends that the mob world is a hell of boredom populated by aggressively stupid automatons. These drones wake up each morning, carry out a series of repetitious tasks, and return home."[37] Zero Punctuation's Ben Croshaw called the game "generic", and noted the main characters' similarities with the main characters of Grand Theft Auto IV, but criticised the lack of features prevalent in other sandbox games. He also criticised the mundane parts of the game, such as driving, making the game feel "unnecessarily padded".[50]

The game was also criticised by fans of the series for omitting a significant amount of content in the final build of the game, with some being released (albeit altered to a certain extent) as downloadable content. Melee weapons, which were present in the previous game, such as a baseball bat and brass knuckles, were found to be stored in the game's archives, and was also announced by producer Denby Grace in a developer podcast,[51] but were left unused.[52] Jack Scalici, 2K Director of creative production, later denied their existence from the game, stating that they were only "a test bed for a work-in-progress melee weapon combat system", and has never been added in the game. Mafia II also lacked the "Freeride" sandbox mode, which was also a point of criticism among fans. Similar functionality, however, can be added through third-party modifications.[53] The Betrayal of Jimmy was also claimed to be a sandbox add-on included with new copies of the game for PlayStation 3. The map's size was also put into question,[54] contrary to claims made by 2K Games that Empire Bay took up 10 square miles.

Controversies[edit]

Sonia Alfano, a member of the European Parliament and president of Italy's association for the families of Mafia victims, called for the game to be banned.[55] Alfano's father Beppe was murdered by the Mafia in 1993. Take-Two Interactive quickly responded to the issue, stating that the game's depiction of the American Mafia was no different from organized crime films such as The Godfather. They also responded to allegations of racism from Unico National, who claimed that the game portrayed Italian-Americans unfairly and "indoctrinating" the youth into the violent stereotype.[56] Mafia II has the most profanity in a video game, particularly the word "fuck", which is spoken over 200 times, beating previous record holder, The House of the Dead: Overkill.[57]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b "Feral Interactive: Mafia II: Director's Cut release announcement". 
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  5. ^ Ivan, Tom (19 October 2008). "First Mafia 2 details roll in". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 4 November 2008. 
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  39. ^ a b Greg Miller (7 July 2010). "Mafia II Review - PlayStation 3 Review at IGN". Uk.ps3.ign.com. Retrieved 24 August 2010. [dead link]
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External links[edit]