The Good, The Bad and The Italian – Mafia II PC Review

 The feel of Mafia II is that of a more uplifting, Hollywood-style Godfather with Elvis Presley for a soundtrack and GTA San Andreas as the obvious main inspiration. Add countless bribes, some joyful car crashing and messing about with the open environment and you have the gist of it. Entertain it will, but don’t expect this one to smitten.

The gentlemen were puzzled as the social services rejected their applications for childminders.


Lately released and violently anticipated, Mafia II had me becoming Vito Scaletta, a poor boy from Sicily whose family migrated to the fictional city of Empire Bay in search of financial stability, but found themselves in the same state of poverty they knew from Italy. Over the years, Vito transforms from poor boy to bad boy as his involvement in mob-related activity takes over. Other than such deliciously cliché stereotypes about the Italian mafia activity, this title manifests some interesting plot aspects, but does little to please enthusiasts of more storytelling oriented masterpieces such as Psychonauts or Half Life 2, gems which manage to tell a story behind their technical value. Furthermore, despite being placed in a 1940s – 50s time period, Mafia II seems to ignore the potential of this setting, staying away from historical context or references. Entertain it will, but don’t expect this game to smitten.

     The technical side of the game is relatively more pleasing: the game runs smoothly on pc gear which is hardly top-notch and the graphics look surprisingly more than good on an integrated graphics card. This allows to speculate that on a beefy pc most pc gamers dream of and some possess, the gaming and visual experience must be quite stunning. As in this type of fast-paced titles, the action is quick and exciting – but the repetition and concentration of it means exciting gradually becomes less exciting, less exciting a bit repetitive, and so on. Mafia’s typical campaign consists of driving to one of the many locations on the free-roam map, then following through a task that could be anything from assassinating a target or protecting one but always involves using a gun and a tough head; add countless bribes, a few RPG elements, some joyful car crashing and messing about with the open environment and you have the gist of it.

     Though Mafia II is not a title of purely one genre, the above average, well designed shooting system which is the most recurring device during campaign establishes it as an FPS more so than anything else. Thanks to the designers sensibly sticking to standard controls and moves, playability is one hundred percent awkwardness free – sinking into the game is quick and effortless. The only drawback is that for some, the urge to pause the game may be as fast as the urge to play it. Without a doubt, Mafia II offers hours on hours of light-hearted fun. Meanwhile, variety is sparse, as could be the checkpoints for some players and lack of attachment to characters means not everyone will be tempted to stay in front of a computer for longer.

     I don’t want anyone to think that I didn’t like Mafia II. The game is plain fun. Individual characters, though of little substance, make a pretty adorable bunch altogether. And if I can have some good time with an Italian Mafioso (however wrong that may sound), what more should I ask for? Still, something about Mafia II made me a bit unenthusiastic and no, it wasn’t the blokey feel of the game as I have played games targeted at men before and thoroughly enjoyed them. I think this particular title is just a bit of a letdown only because it didn’t stand up to the large hype; it’s the re-heated Panini everyone expected to be a duck rillete. Try with caution.

Catgamer is the author of the Catgamer blog. Read the original at

Author: Catgamer

All I can say is that I’m a compulsive cynic, talker, reader, self-confessed writer and gamer. Until recently, one of the 1% of the Western population without a Facebook (now there’s 0.99% of them. Sorry, guys.) - follow me there shall you feel the urge. Because I always found it difficult to stay serious for a period longer than 10 minutes, my columns will concern games, but not only that, and there will be plenty of occasions to go offtopic – which is another thing I love to do. Join me in meowing about games.