Mafia II

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Mafia II
Mafia II Boxart.jpg
Developer(s)2K Czech
Publisher(s)2K Games
Director(s)Jack Scalici
Producer(s)Lukáš Kuře
Denby Grace
Designer(s)
  • Pavel Brzák
  • Josef Vašek
  • Jiří Matouš
  • Jiří Řezáč
  • Daniel Vávra
Programmer(s)
  • Laurent Gorga
  • Michal Janáček
  • Dan Doležel
Artist(s)Roman Hladík
Writer(s)Daniel Vávra
Composer(s)
  • Matúš Široký
  • Adam Kuruc
SeriesMafia
Platform(s)
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • NA: 24 August 2010
  • AU: 26 August 2010
  • EU: 27 August 2010
Mac OS X
  • WW: 1 December 2011
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • WW: 19 May 2020
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

Mafia II is an action-adventure video game developed by 2K Czech and published by 2K Games. It was released in August 2010 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows;[1][2] Mafia II: Director's Cut was released by Feral Interactive in December 2011.[3] The game is the sequel to 2002's Mafia[4] and the second game in the Mafia series. Set within the fictional Empire Bay (based on New York City, as well as aspects of Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit) in 1945 and later 1951, the game's storyline follows Sicillian mobster and war veteran Vito Scaletta as he becomes involved in a power struggle among the Mafia crime families of the city while attempting to pay back his father's debts and secure a better lifestyle for himself.

The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle. 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 the first Mafia game. At release, Mafia II received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise particularly directed at the story, though the linear open world design was criticized. Its successor, Mafia III, was released in 2016. A remastered version of the game, entitled Mafia II: Definitive Edition, was developed by Hangar 13 and released by 2K on 19 May 2020.

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. However running from the authorities will still result in them shooting the player.

The game is set in the 1940s–early 1950s era of Empire Bay, a fictional city based on New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit.[5][6][7][8][9] There are 50 vehicles in the game as well as licensed music from the era.[10] Depending on the weather during the course of the game, vehicles are handled differently. For example, during the early chapters in winter, vehicles are more likely to slip on the road due to the ice.

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, 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.[11][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. This feature provides tactical support against enemies and has become a crucial technique of the genre.

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.[12] 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, Ritchie Valens, Bo Diddley, Ricky Nelson, Eddie Cochran, The Champs, The Drifters, The Fleetwoods, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Nat King Cole, The Chords, and The Andrews Sisters.

Synopsis[edit]

The player character driving through the streets of Empire Bay. Mafia II largely takes place in the early 1950s, with the first few chapters set in 1943 to 1945.

Setting[edit]

Set nearly a decade after the first game, Mafia II takes place between two distinct time periods — the mid-1940s, and the early 1950s — within the fictional U.S. city of Empire Bay; the game's main story also includes an unnamed town within Sicily during the earlier time period. The city is situated on the United States' eastern coastline and divided by a river, and consists of several districts, including wealthy suburbs, slums and tenement blocks for the city's different immigrant races, including Irish, African-American, Chinese, and Italian, and large-scale industrial complexes, with the city supported by a large port, a railroad station, a major prison outside its city limits, several parks, and a collection of shopping malls and supermarkets.

The game's main story sees the city divided between a number of criminal outfits, including three mafia families—the Falcone family, Vinci family, and Clemente family—a Chinese Triad outfit, the Irish Mob, and several street gangs. The city's design, including the architectural styles, cultures, public transportation and landmarks, are influenced from real-life American cities, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, from within the two respective time periods used in the game. Two of the game's DLC packs, "The Betrayal of Jimmy" and "Jimmy's Vendetta," also take place in the early 1950s, but in a diffrent canon, as new gangs now rule over Empire Bay, while the third DLC, "Joe's Adventures", set during the events of the main storyline, bridges the gap between the two time periods.

Plot[edit]

In 1943, Sicilian immigrant Vito Scaletta is arrested during a robbery and opts to join the United States Army to avoid jail. He is captured by the Italians during Operation Husky but watches in awe as his would-be executioners surrender to the Allies on the orders of a local Mafia boss. After returning home to Empire Bay in early 1945 due to an injury he sustained, Vito reunites with his childhood friend Joe Barbaro, who supplies him with counterfeit discharge papers, and learns that his late father left his family in debt to a loan shark. He briefly works for his father's former employer Derek Pappalardo, who then recommends him to Clemente family caporegime Luca Gurino and made man Henry Tommasino due to his own connections with Joe. While he secures enough money to pay off his father's debt, Vito is arrested for the theft and sale of ration stamps and sentenced to prison, and the money goes to his mother's funeral.

In 1951, Vito is released early after befriending Leo Galante, the consigliere of Don Frank Vinci. Reuniting with Joe, the pair work their way up the ranks of the Falcone family, led by Don Carlo Falcone and his underboss Eddie Scarpa, ultimately becoming made men and securing a better lifestyle, after Vito completes a job that involves killing Luca. Not long after, learning that the Clementes are conducting drug operations, against the traditions of the Commission, Carlo orders Vito and Joe to assassinate Don Alberto Clemente. Following the hit, Henry approaches the Falcones to join them and is tasked to kill Leo. Although Vito is able to warn Leo and help him escape the city, the Falcones nevertheless welcome Henry into the family and Vito's fortunes improve after this.

To rebuild his house following a firebombing from the Irish mob, Vito joins Joe and Henry to profit from the sale of heroin bought from the city's Triads. However, after the Triads publicly execute Henry, Vito and Joe kill Triad enforcer Zhe Yun Wong in retaliation, despite his claims that Henry was a federal informant. In debt to loan shark Bruno Levine, whose money funded the heroin deal, the pair take on jobs to pay off the debt, including the assassination of retired mobster Tommy Angelo. Vito also kills Derek after learning he ordered his father's murder. When the Vinci family kidnaps Joe, Vito rushes to save him, soon learning their actions have sparked a massive gang war in Empire Bay.

After paying off his debt to Bruno, revealed to be the same loan shark his father was in debt to, Vito is called by Carlo to the planetarium for a meeting. On the way there, Vito is picked up by Leo and Triad boss Mr. Chu, who reveal that he and Joe are targeted by all major crime bosses in the city for the problems they caused, including Carlo; however, due to Vito saving his life, Leo promises to return the favour if he kills Carlo, which should end the gang war. At the planetarium, Vito discovers that Carlo ordered Joe to kill him, but the latter refuses and sides with Vito instead, helping him kill Carlo. Afterwards, Vito leaves with Leo to celebrate, while Joe is driven off in a separate car, leading Vito to ask where he is being taken. Leo reveals that their deal didn't cover Joe, much to Vito's shock, who watches helplessly as his friend is taken away to whatever fate awaits him.

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.[13] Mafia II was expected to release in late 2009, but was delayed until its release in August 2010.

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.[14] An extended version of the trailer was released on 15 January with an extra 30 seconds of cut scene footage.[15] The first gameplay footage debuted on GameSpot on 17 April 2009 as part of an interview with Mafia II's producer, Denby Grace.[16] 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.[17] On 27 March 2010, a new trailer was released showcasing the PhysX-based cloth and physics system used in the game.[18]

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.[19] A demo for the game was released on 10 August 2010 on Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.[20]

Release[edit]

Mafia II was released on 24 August 2010 in North America, 26 August in Australia, and 27 August internationally.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25][26]

Downloadable content[edit]

There are three downloadable content (DLC) packs for the game:

The Betrayal of Jimmy is the first DLC pack and was initially exclusive to PlayStation 3 where it was a free download upon release to users who purchased the base game. This was announced by Sony on 15 June 2010 at E3 2010.[27] Set in Empire Bay in the early 1950s, but in a different canon from that of the main game, the DLC follows a gun-for-hire named Jimmy as he works for both the Irish Mob and Gravina crime family to undermine rival gangs, before being set up by his employers and arrested. Missions are structured in a non-linear manner like Grand Theft Auto, and include a score attack feature in which players earn points for doing certain actions; both features would return in the second and third DLC.

Jimmy's Vendetta is the second installment of downloadable content. It was released on PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace, and Steam on 7 September 2010.[28] The DLC picks up from the events of "The Betrayal of Jimmy", as Jimmy escapes from prison and exacts revenge on the Irish Mob, the Gravina family, and everyone else who framed him.

Joe's Adventures is the third and final DLC and was released on 23 November 2010. It bridges the gap between the two time periods in the main storyline, and follows Joe Barbaro in 1950 as he works his way up the ranks of the Falcone family and foils a hostile takeover by the family's underboss, setting the stage for Vito's release from prison in 1951. The DLC combines standard missions with score-based, open world missions. It is estimated to provide eight hours of gameplay.[29]

Alternative editions[edit]

Mafia II: Collector's Edition is a steelbook which includes four items: Made Man Pack (two classic luxury automobiles and two “made man” suits, including a vintage tuxedo), Art Book (photo album-style about the design process of the game), CD of the Orchestral Soundtrack (recorded by the Prague FILMHarmonic Orchestra), and a Map of Empire Bay. Mafia II: Digital Deluxe Edition is effectively the same as the physical edition, inclusive of the Made Man Pack, as well as digitalized versions of the soundtrack, art book and map.[30]

Mafia II: Special Extended Edition is a compilation package published by 1C Company for the Russian market. It includes the base game, the three DLC packs (The Betrayal of Jimmy, Jimmy's Vendetta and Joe's Adventures), and four style packs (Vegas Pack, Renegade Pack, Greaser Pack, and War Hero Pack). It was released on 3 December 2010 for Windows. The same package was released on 1 December 2011 for Western markets as Mafia II: Director's Cut on Windows, OS X[3] and their respective budget labels on consoles.[31] As of July 2015, this full edition of the game is unavailable on Steam in Western countries.[32] However, The Made Man Pack, previously only available in the Digital Deluxe Edition, is now available as DLC on Xbox Live.

Mobile version[edit]

A version of Mafia II was developed for mobile phones and smartphones by Twistbox Games and Oasys Mobile, and was published by Connect2Media.[33][34] Set in Empire Bay (referred to as "Empire City") in 1938, the game bridges the gap between Mafia and Mafia II, and follows Marco Rusetto, a soldato in the now fallen Salieri family and the nephew of gunsmith Vincenzo, who travels to Empire Bay and finds work for the Falcone family as he searches for Tommy Angelo to exact revenge on him for betraying and causing the Salieri family's downfall. The game includes two possible endings, and the canonical one sees Marco being set up and subsequently killed, having been unable to track down Tommy.

Definitive Edition[edit]

A remastered version of Mafia II with updated graphics titled Mafia II: Definitive Edition was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows on 19 May 2020.[35] Owners of the original Steam version will have their copy of the game updated to Definitive Edition at no additional cost.[36] The Definitive Edition, which includes all the original DLC, was developed by Hangar 13 (the developers of Mafia III), with D3T Limited remastering the artwork.[35] The Definitive Edition will also be included in the Mafia: Trilogy collection to be released later in 2020, which additionally includes a remake of the first Mafia game and an updated version of Mafia III.[35]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
MetacriticPC: 77/100[37]
PS3: 75/100[38]
X360: 74/100[39]
(Definitive Editions)
PC: 72/100[40]
PS4: 56/100[41]
XONE: 66/100[42]
Review scores
PublicationScore
1Up.comB[43]
Edge6/10[44]
Eurogamer4/10[45]
Game Informer9.0/10[46]
GamePro3.5/5 stars[47]
GameSpot8.5/10[48]
GamesTM8/10[49]
GameTrailers7.7/10[50]
IGN7.0/10[51]
OXM (US)7/10[52]
PC Gamer (UK)78%[53]
X-Play4/5 stars[54]

Mafia II received generally positive reviews from critics.[37][38][39] 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."[51] 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."[48] 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."[46]

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."[45] 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".[55]

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.[56] 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" youth into violent stereotypes.[57] Mafia II has the most profanity in a video game, particularly the word fuck, which is spoken 397 times, beating previous record holder, The House of the Dead: Overkill.[58] On 22 August 2015, digital sales of the PC version of Mafia II were suspended on Steam and other digital retailers for unexplained reasons. The game was restored to Steam on 1 June 2016.[59]

Sequel[edit]

On 28 July 2015, 2K Games announced the sequel Mafia III.[60] The game, which was released on 7 October 2016, takes place in the city of "New Bordeaux", based on New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1968 during the Vietnam War, seventeen years after the events in Mafia II. The protagonist, Lincoln Clay, is a black Vietnam Veteran, with the game developers straying away from the traditional Italian mob characters from the first two Mafia games. Vito Scaletta, now older than in Mafia II, has a role in the game, and other references are made back to Mafia II.[61]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]