|Mafia-II Video Game Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Games|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 23 August 2010|
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Mafia II Initial Impressions
Mafia II takes place in Empire Bay, a fictitious city modeled around New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. 2K Czech's proprietary Illusion Engine allows gamers to explore Empire Bay's 10-square-mile outdoor environment, which uses fine textures to detail everything from blades of grass to working showers and refrigerators. Weather patterns of all sorts and time-of-day are part of the experience, and have benefits in the game. Gravity is very similar to real-world, and although jumping is unavailable players can still climb atop obstacles.
The story begins in war-torn Italy during WWII, placing you behind a M1 Garand rifle for the first chapter. Playing as Vito Scaletta, you're returned home for a month of recuperation after receiving injuries, and your old pal Joe Barbaro welcomes you back to Empire Bay. You left this city after being arrested for a burglary with Joe (Joey), and learn that he's grown out of petty crimes and now rubs elbows with the mob.
In Mafia II, players experience a decade of time between 1945 and 1955. Era-appropriate music and commercials fill the airwaves, and heavy lead-sleds rule the road. Vito gets around this large city either on foot, or by vehicle, and cops are always looking for a reason to put you in silver bracelets. While food and sleep aren't a necessity for gameplay, they'll keep your health meter full and save the game.
Mafia II plays like a lot like Grand Theft Auto, which means that real-world rules apply to this fantasy life. The speed limit is posted for a reason, and drawing a gun in public will get you noticed. Since driving is a primary activity, players should be preparred to experience vehicle physics most likely unfamiliar to their lifetime. Bias-ply tires pre-date radial technology and offer poor traction in foul weather conditions, while brakes responded quite the opposite of anti-lock.
Money is what makes Empire Bay go round, and there are several ways to earn or obtain it. The wrecking yard is always looking for scrap metal to help fuel the war effort, while cash registers are good for a quick payday and the attention of nearby law enforcement. The various characters of Mafia II offers Vito various money-making opportunities, depending on the chapter, and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.