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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 23 August 2010
Table of Contents: Page Index
Mafia-II Video Game Performance
Mafia II Initial Impressions
Mafia II Interesting Characters
Mafia II Gameplay Details
NVIDIA APEX PhysX Enhancements
NVIDIA 3D-Vision Effects
Graphics Detail: Polygons
Testing and Results
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Mafia II Interesting Characters

Mafia II is full of personalità (that's personality, in Italian). Characters keep the story interesting, and instigate the player into making decisions. 2K Games has also been keen to integrate an adult theme into Mafia II, which adds spice to the storyline. While this game lacks a 'Hot Coffee' mod (as far as I know), there's no shortage of sexual innuendo or graphic depiction. In the image below, Vito is offered a "piece of pie" from one of Joey's girlfriends.

Mafia2_Vito-Scaletta.jpg

Vito Scaletta Welcomes New Friendship

Vito Scaletta is the games central character, which you control throughout Mafia II. You'll be allowed to dress Vito up in more than a dozen period-appropriate outfits, and occasionally exchange the trench coat for prison blue's, utility jumpsuits, or even Joe's Hawaiian shirt. Vito can carry as much weapons and ammunition as he find, but his dialog indicates a more peaceful temperament.

Mafia2_Joey_Intro.jpg

Joey Barbaro Never Quite Grew Up

Joe Barbaro is Vito's childhood friend, and possibly the only friendship either of them have. Mafia II paints Joey as the man-child street thug of Empire Bay, and his abuse begins with alcohol and ends with women. In most chapters Joe will provide critical introductions to mob bosses such as Henry Tomasino and Eddie Scarpa, although you're never quite sure what he's done to land in their good graces.

Mafia2_Interesting_Characters.jpg

Steve and Derek Pappalardo - Birds of a Feather

Each of the major characters has their own particular charm, and what they lack manners they make up for with earnings potential. Vito's father worked down at the docks for capo Federico "Fat Derek" Pappalardo, who had a fun-in with the hot-headed enforcer named Stephen "Steve" Coyne while Vito was fighting the war. Upon his return home, Derek provides him with work... until the truth comes out.

Luca Gurino is another personality wrought with conflict. His well-mannered tone and polished appearance is a solid disguise for his more violent side, reminding you of what it might take to succeed as a crime family capo. Sometimes that means double-crossing your loyal team, and frame them for crimes so they can cool off in prison.

Mafia2_Exciting_Nightlife.jpg

Eddie Scarpa Accepts a Bordello Mouth Hug After Dark

There are countless bosses to keep track of in Mafia II, and the names begin to confuse even the most patient story-board gamers. Eddie Scarpa helps Vito earn money after his six-year stay in the clink, which was cut short thanks to consigliere Leo Galante. Frank Vinci and Alberto Clemente each head their own crime family and compete for money in the Empire Bay underworld, a twisted arrangement that keeps everyone down the ranks employed in a bloody war.

Mafia2_Arms_Dealer.jpg

Harry's Normandy Invasion - Not All War Stories Are Exciting

Some of the characters you'll meet aren't at all what they seem, while others live up to their stereo type. Mike Bruski is a rough-neck junkyard owner with a penchant for pushing Joe's buttons. He's great for helping you earn extra cash, and his junkyard offers an endless supply of income (more on that later). Then their are the completely harmless helpers, such gun shop owner and WWII vet Nathaniel Harold "Harry" Marsden III. Harry looks mean and has every weapon ever fired or thrown, but his war story involves a late-night trip to the whore house where pokes out his eye on a branch as he climbed the fence.



 

Comments 

 
# Nvidia Sponsored?KuzzenJoe 2010-08-23 11:14
"For best results in Mafia II, players are suggested to use NVIDIA GeForce products to properly process PhysX features and produce high-enough frame rate performance to enjoy 3D Vision". Nice to see an editorial follow the Nvidia-supplied script to the "T". Too bad Nvidia intentionally cripples Phys-x on CPUs and blocks Phys-x with ATI cards. But no worries - my HD 5970 runs just fine with Phys-X running on a seperate 9600GT, and it can display across three screens without needing another matching card. But of course, you would not know any of that from reading this article.
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# RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Olin Coles 2010-08-23 11:31
@KuzzenJoe: After seeing our benchmark results you somehow think I was biased for recommending GeForce video cards with Mafia-2? I know there will be ATI fanboys, but ignoring facts goes beyond favoritism. But you go ahead and play Mafia-2 with your $700 Radeon 5970 and watch a $200 GeForce GTX 460 eat it up with PhysX enabled.
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# RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Adam 2010-09-09 13:55
strange. my hd 4850 plays it just fine and it cost me £50. your move
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# RE: RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Olin Coles 2010-09-09 14:01
Who's move? Nobody said it wouldn't play fine with other cards. They just won't enjoy APEX PhysX with the extra post-processing unless it's a more recent GeForce video card.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: Nvidia Sponsored?Adam 2010-09-09 15:50
yours and as a matter of fact im enjoying the apex effects quite well with a previous gen mid range ATI card thank you.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceRealNeil 2010-08-23 12:13
It's cost seems a little too high for a game that can be completed in less than 5 Hours.
I like all of the old styled cars though.
The Phys-X eye candy might be worth buying a pair of GTX 460 1GB cards in a SLI configuration. (just to try it out)
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-23 12:18
To be fair, I do explain that all of the cinema scenes were skipped my first time through because of the fast-approaching deadline. If you watch them all, and actually try to hunt down posters or Playboy magazines, you'll spend a lot more time in the game.

Also, I really suggest Mafia-2 with 3D-Vision. The combination of APEX PhysX and 3D-Vision take this game to a whole new level.
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceRealNeil 2010-08-23 14:06
Thanks for the further explanation as to the time in game. As to 3D-vision I'll reserve judgement and adaptation until I can Actually see it with my own eyes and try it out a little. Phys-X is real doable for a decent price if you opt for the GTX-460 1GB cards in SLI, or so I'm being told by a few of my friends that have bought the overclocked ones from NewEgg recently. They're quite happy with that setup and now I want it too.
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# Who CaresGlen 2010-08-23 12:33
I don't have to worry about requirements anymore. Going to play this game tomorrow on my Netbook, far below the minimum thanks to OnLive.(Oh yeah and I'm going to get any free game(probably Just Cause 2) with a purchase OnLive) So $25 for this game and $25 for Just Cause 2.
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# RE: Who CaresAP 2010-08-25 09:43
Not at all blatent advertising for OnLive.
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# RE: RE: Who CaresOlin Coles 2010-08-25 09:45
Let's see if there's a reply in defense, otherwise I'll remove the comment.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceMartha Jones 2010-08-23 12:37
@KuzzenJoe, it is not nvidia's fault if ATI refuses to support CUDA and PhysX in their prodicts. nvidia has stated that ATI is welcome to support both, but ATI says they won't support a format which they have no control over and which is spearheaded by their competitor.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceGoodsir 2010-08-29 08:37
Why is the GTX480's framerate cut so much when PhysX is turned on, but the GTX460's framerate is hardly affected?
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 08:41
Aside from different GPU's (GF104 vs GF100), there isn't a clear explaination. Each video card was tested more than seven times per test, and all of the results were verified a second time through.
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 10:21
Probably used CPU physX =P
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 11:21
What? This game doesn't have a setting to pick between GPU and CPU PhysX. If the GPU support PhysX (GeForce) then it uses GPU, if it doesn't (Radeon) it does what it can with CPU.
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# RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 13:10
There actually was an issue back in the Demo version of Mafia 2 that the PhysX update, when installed could make your card's PhysX capabilities on a forced disable.

You should check it for yourself by running the game again, except with the "Show PhysX visual indicator" option enabled in your Nvidia Control panel. It's there under the 3D settings menu, next to View and Help.

If it says PhysX > CPU, then it's processing PhysX effects via the CPU, if PhysX > GPU, then it's utilizing the GPU to produce physX effects.
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# RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceOlin Coles 2010-08-29 13:28
The demo version wasn't used for this review; it's the full retail version of the game.
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# RE: RE: RE: Mafia-II Video Game PerformanceK 2010-08-29 13:32
Aye. However, there's always the possibility. And it's probably no effort just to doublecheck. ;)
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# wtfTeflon 2010-09-13 19:13
Moin! This is a strange benchmark!!! My Gtx 260 and phenom II x4 (@3ghz) can handle the game at the highest settings (1920x1080). getting a frame rate around 35. physx on high.
greetings from germany,
Tef
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# problem with physxdiaeko 2011-07-20 08:34
the brand of my graphic card is intel and physx only supports nvidia
what should I do to run the game without physx?
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# RE: problem with physxOlin Coles 2011-07-20 10:38
You will have very poor performance without a 3D graphics accelerator. You can still disable PhysX in the games video options, if you want to try. I suggest reducing all setting to their minimum.
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