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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 Gameplay Details

Driving is central to Mafia II, and requires as much skill as shooting. Real-world physics, combined with WWII-era vehicles makes driving a terrific challenge in Mafia II. When you first begin playing, only certain vehicles exist on the market... and by market I mean the streets from which you pluck them. Later into the game, roadsters such as the Shubert Frigate (hitting 110MPH below) can become the ultimate getaway car. Be careful of your speed, because the posted speed limit isn't just another part of the scenery: police will arrest you for excessive speed.


With so much street to travel and so many places to go, fuel is a real-world need that finds its way into the game. You can go forever without food, providing you don't need to restore health, but you'll be stuck on the side of the road without fuel. Adding fuel to the vehicle (or burning it off) changes the vehicles weight, which is a real-world dynamic I wouldn't have expected to find in a game, and you can see the vehicle sink as it's being filled. It's not so painful though, since you can fill an entire vehicle's tank for the cost of just one of today's gallons. Gas stations are also a good place for quick pay days... if you're willing to risk being shot or arrested.


Since so much of what you'll do in Empire Bay runs opposite the law, it becomes necessary to avoid police by any means necessary. Police in Mafia II identify you two ways: by the attire you're wearing, or the license plates on the car you're driving. Ducking into a clothing shop to buy new or change into existing clothes is a great way to dodge identification and arrest. Finding an auto body shop serves several purposes: it allows you to change and customize license plates, while also being the place for engine tuning upgrades, paint jobs, and high-performance custom wheels/tires. Once you become more adept with driving at high speeds, these upgrades become a necessity.


2K Games has integrated sexual themes directly into Mafia II, and extends these adult features well beyond dolled-up characters serving as eye candy. Players are rewarded for locating up to fifty Playboy Magazine's scattered around Empire Bay, which deposits the centerfold into your collection. Additionally, players willing to endure the 'hard' difficulty setting can collect pinup girl posters.

Paintings and posters are also added into your artwork collection as you progress through the game. These items depict Vito and/or his associates during a particular chapter of the story.


Wanted posters are an added feature to Mafia II, and eagle-eyed players can locate up to 159 such posters throughout Empire Bay. Most posters are hidden behind buildings or blend into walls or surround scenery, so keep your eyes open as you travel on foot. One particularly interesting fact about all of the Wanted posters is that everyone depicted has a Czech name, such as Vaclav Kral or Marek Kovak. This is likely a by-product of being developed by 2K Czech Games.


I'd like to offer a few Mafia II gameplay tips, and share some cheats as well. The first tip is two-handed driving, which uses the left hand for accelerator (W), brake (S) and hand brake (Space), while the right hand uses arrow keys for left and right steering. Driving this way is far easier than using standards WADS layout, and makes quick dual braking (S + Space) more natural. Honking the horn (E) is an excellent way to make computer-driven vehicles immediately steer out of the way as you drive. Next is dodging police: ditch a wanted vehicle just by circling around a corner and exiting (F), or if you're wanted just circling the block on foot (or in a car) to easily ditch police. Finally, there's the cash cow junkyard. Driving vehicles into the compactor earns you up to $500 each deposit, but driving a vehicle there means walking back long distances into the city. Thankfully, Mafia II has positioned a vehicle (and sometimes two) not far from the compactor... and it regenerates after a few minutes of walking away and returning... allowing the patient player to build-up funds.



# 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,
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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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