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Mafia II 'Jimmy's Vendetta' coming September 7


Aug 31
// Nick Chester
Despite UNICO's outrage, 2K Games launched Mafia II last week without a hitch. A week later, it's announcing the release date for the first bit of downloadable content, "Jimmy's Vendetta." Out on September 7, the pack will co...

Review: Mafia II

Aug 23 // Nick Chester
Mafia II (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: 2K CzechPublisher: 2K GamesRelease date: August 24, 2010MSRP: $59.99 The son of an Italian immigrant, Vito Scaletta lives in Empire City among the poor, his family struggling to make ends meet. What’s an Italian living in America during the 40s and 50s to do besides turn to a life of crime? More specifically, Vito hooks up with the Italian American mafia, working to make a name for himself and a few dollars in the process. But Mafia II is far form a rags to riches story, instead the tale of a young criminal whose ties to the underworld never really advance past that of mobster middle management. In many ways, the entire game mirrors this narrative, just good enough to get by, yet never truly shining bright enough to quite be called "Don."At its most basic, Mafia II “makes its bones,” so to speak, by being competent in most of the areas where the core gameplay matters. It can be broken down into three categories -- shooting, driving, and melee. The gunplay is more than adequate, with decent snap-to-cover and precise hit detection to match guns that have a nice, solid kick. Car buffs will love the selection of highly-detailed classic cars scattered throughout Empire City, each of which handles as well as expected for their specific eras. Melee combat doesn’t fare so well, however, a three button, mash-a-combo system that seems shoehorned into the game simply to move along narrative in a few instances. Outside of these forced melee sections, you’ll almost never find yourself using it, and that’s fortunate -- it’s not a particularly fun or interesting diversionSo it’s a good thing that the best of what the gameplay has to offer -- the driving and the shooting -- is what you’ll be doing most of across the game’s 15 chapters. Of the two, expect to be doing more of the former than the latter. Yes, in a game about the life mobsters, you’re going to driving cars more than shooting guns. Perhaps it’s a more accurate portrayal of the mafioso lifestyle; it can’t all be high profile, heart-stopping shootouts, can it? Sometimes you just have to pick up a friend from his apartment and drive him to a restaurant, where you’ll be asked to drive to another location to pick up another guy to drive to this other place to do this thing. Unfortunately, as you would suspect, this isn’t particularly enjoyable in a videogame. Yes, there are a handful of exceptional shootouts in Mafia II, many of which take place in some damned cool instanced interiors. But the ratio of driving to actual action is obnoxiously uneven, the balance tipping dramatically towards sitting behind the wheel of a car. These aren’t high speed vehicle chases, either, although there are one or two sprinkled throughout the game. I’m talking simply driving from one place to another. And because it’s to your benefit to keep the cops off your back, you’ll want to drive almost everywhere relatively slow; there’s even a “speed limiter” function that will keep you puttering along at the legal limit. (Don’t worry about other laws like stopping at red lights; although your in-game buddy Joe loves to comment about you blowing them, the police don’t seem to care.) It needs to be made clear that despite taking place mostly in the open world of Empire City, Mafia II is not a sandbox game. Its linearity is intentional on the part of the developer, the story unfolding in a very specific manner from chapter to chapter. In a way, this is beneficial for folks who prefer to have the narrative fed to them deliberately, and it allows for the story to move at the pace in which the developer intended with no (arguably unnecessary) diversions. For some, Mafia II’s linearity may come as a welcome reprieve from the never-ending activity black holes of games like Saint’s Row 2 or Red Dead Redemption. But even given the intentions behind the game’s formal structure, it’s shockingly noticeable how little there is to do in Empire City. It’s possible to count on one hand the stuff you can do outside of triggering main story missions, and the game does nothing to compel players to experience most of these activities. To make a little extra cash you can rob stores or sell cars for scrap at the Empire City local junkyard. Here’s the thing, though -- outside of one mission towards the end of the game which may require this extra leg work, there’s no real need for in-game cash. Yes, there are things to buy -- you can get a few new outfits, upgrade personal vehicles (you can keep up to 10 in your garage), or purchase weapons and ammo. But with most missions providing plenty of free firepower and most stock cars good enough to get you by, there’s little reason to engage in any of these extracurricular money making activities.Mafia II can be completed in roughly 10 hours, with no additional gameplay content unlocked after the story is completed. Upon finishing the game, I had found two of the game’s much-publicized hidden Playboy magazines, of which there are 50 scattered throughout the game. I didn’t go out of my way to find these things, as there was no real incentive to do so. I was six hours into the game before finding my first magazine; the game never dangles the collectible carrot in your face, and I'm an adult who has seen a nude woman before, so I found no reason to start hunting for them. On top of this, there are 159 “Wanted Posters” tucked away through Empire City, but the criminal element needn’t fear -- I only found one by the time I had put down the controller for the final time. For all of its disappointments, Mafia II isn’t a completely throwaway experience by any means. The story is well told, oftentimes even gripping and strikingly emotional, despite being a pastiche of mafia tales you’re likely already familiar with from other media. The game’s dialogue is also surprisingly well-delivered, with impactful and fitting voice work throughout. 2K Czech’s Illusion Engine is also the catalyst for some gorgeous environments, notably the beautiful 1940s snowfall seen in the first half of the game. The licensed soundtrack is also a rare gem, with classic tunes evocative of the era and characters; it definitely makes all of the time you’ll be spending driving cars noticeably more bearable, sometimes even enjoyable. Folks who love a decent mafia tale -- one of family ties, betrayal, and revenge -- will want to experience the world of Mafia II. Its competent game mechanics and absorbing narrative are enough to warrant a playthrough. But in the end, the repetitive nature of the game’s sometimes mind-blowingly boring missions and lack of content will leave most gamers wanting more. The PlayStation 3 Advantage While for this review I played the game to its completion on the PlayStation 3, I spent some time with both the Xbox 360 and PC versions for comparison. It needs to be said up front that the PS3 version of Mafia II is the least visually impressive of the bunch, missing a number of subtle game effects that were pulled from the game, reportedly due to performance issues. With the right rig, you’ll get the best visual fidelity on the PC (the “PhysX” stuff, as usual, looks great), with the Xbox 360 version trailing slightly behind. But visual nitpicking aside, all of the games are functionally indistinguishable; the experience is going to be mostly the same on all three platforms. The PS3 version of Mafia II, however, features more content, due to the fact that all new copies ship with a unique code that will allow you to download a game add-on called “The Betrayal of Jimmy.” It’s this add-on content that makes purchasing Mafia II on the PS3 (if you have the option) a no-brainer.“Betrayal” is exclusive to the PS3, and features mafia goon Jimmy in well over 20 unique missions that have a more action-packed, arcade-style slant than anything found in the standalone game. You’ll be scored per mission on everything from kills (including score multipliers), speed, drifting your car, and more. There’s a story here, but it’s really secondary to the action, which makes it feel wholly different than the stock Mafia II experience. After completing the ten-hour on-disc story, “Betrayal” is a welcome addition, one that encourages players to play and explore Empire City in a way the core game refuses to. Score (Xbox 360, PC): 6.5 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.) Score (PlayStation 3): 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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It's been nearly eight years since 2K Czech, then known as Digital Illusions, released Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven for PC. It was released at a time when Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto III had turned the industry on its head,...

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Mafia II has a new vid and an epic song list


Aug 23
// Matthew Razak
We're coming into the home stretch for Mafia II as the game lands this week, but that doesn't mean we don't have anything new to show off to you. The video above should wet your whistle for the next few days before you pick ...
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Strauss Zelnick, the Chairman of Take-Two, has responded to UNICO's accusations of racism in Mafia II and their demands that the game be blocked from release. Here is his official statement: "Mafia II tells a compelling story...

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[Update: Take-Two Chairman Strauss Zelnick has issued an official response.] UNICO National, an Italian American service organization, is looking to put a stop to the release of Take-Two's forthcoming third-person action titl...

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See the tools of the trade in Mafia II


Aug 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
We've seen plenty of Mafia II over the past year and it's finally coming out next week. 2K is still pumping out new stuff to show for the game as you can tell by these two new videos here. The videos, along with two addition...
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Mafia II is all up in your Facebook, Pandora playlist


Aug 12
// Nick Chester
2K Games has discovered social media and wants to make sure you don’t miss the fact that Mafia II is coming out later this month. The publisher has announced not only a Facebook game, “Mafia II Hit List,” bu...
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Mafia II launch party with mobsters, girls, booze


Aug 09
// Nick Chester
2K Games' drops Mafia II on August 24, and our friends over at Gamertag Radio are throwing parties in New York City and Miami to help celebrate. On August 22, the part kicks off at the Grand Central in Miami, with DJ Sharpsou...

Hands-on: 'The Betrayal of Jimmy' in Mafia II

Aug 06 // Ben Perlee
"Jimmy's Vendetta" Mafia II DLC (PlayStation 3)Developer: 2K CzechPublisher: 2K GamesTo be released: August 24, 2010 One of the details about Mafia II is that while the game takes place in an open world, it is, in fact, not an open-world sandbox title at all. Players can drive around and perform a few other external missions with Vito and crew, but that's not what the game is about. Plot and narrative are what's important, so when approaching this extra content, 2K Czech wanted to create something that would fulfill the “side mission” elements of the game. In “The Betrayal of Jimmy,” players will play as the bald mafia assassin Jimmy, fulfilling assignments from his bosses. Different factions have risen up in Empire Bay, such as Chinese mobsters and upstart biker gangs, and this is usurping the city's natural order. It's Jimmy's job to right all of that. It takes place somewhere in the middle of Vito's narrative around 1950, but there will be little to no crossover in the characters and actions. To an extent, it's designed to highlight Empire Bay and its role in the game. With over 25 missions, many of which can be done out of order, this is a much more open version of Mafia II's Empire Bay. Missions are also score-based and designed to evoke an arcade experience, and leaderboards will be in place for each of these missions. Once I had the controller in hand, I played a variety of different game modes. The first I was shown was practically a shooting gallery mission in which Jimmy has to work through a squad of enemy mobsters with different points for head and body shots, rack up combos in accordance with a combo timer, and then avoid more mobsters in a getaway car. Driving elements will often be the second part of missions, with either cops or mobsters chasing you across town. Besides the shooting gallery gameplay, there will also be drifting and driving mechanics that will offer points for how stylishly, dangerously or quickly missions can be completed. Another mission shown was one in which players would have to steal a car and get it back to a car dealership. Thing was, the car has explosives on it, so do too much damage and you'd go up in flames. It's a delicate balance, and many of these missions are much more difficult than the on-disc missions. What is most interesting about these actions is that they add something that is not in the main game. Instead of more of the same old gameplay, “The Betrayal of Jimmy” helps flesh out the universe of the game, and it helps fill a void that the developers recognize, or are at least willing to acknowledge. I don't necessarily think it's going to be something people will rush out and buy a PlayStation 3 for, but it is certainly an extra incentive for those who will have the choice between this and the Xbox 360 or PC versions. Besides, a free bit of content -- especially when it's so substantial -- is always a plus. Keep an eye out for it when Mafia II launches August 24.
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Exclusive downloadable content seems to be the hot trend right now for Microsoft and Sony. If they can't get an exclusive contract from a third party, then they finagle some exclusive bit of content to make sure their version...

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New Mafia II trailer brings the Dean Martin


Aug 03
// Nick Chester
1950s New York seems like a miserable place to live. Drive-by shootings. Exploding buildings. Crooked cops. Is anyone safe? When it's set to Dean Martin's "Ain't That A Kick In The Head?", though, it seems a bit more palatab...
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2K details forthcoming Mafia II demo


Jul 22
// Nick Chester
Earlier we reported that the demo for 2K Games' Mafia II would be hitting Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, via an advertisement in a British gaming mag. Now, 2K has confirmed the demo for a PC release, as well as dropping more det...

The difference an era makes in Mafia II

Jul 20 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Mafia II (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [All versions previewed])Developer: 2K CzechPublisher: 2K GamesTo be released: USA - August 24, 2010, PAL - August 27, 2010 2K showed off two levels set after the 1950s reflecting the peace and prosperity the country was experiencing with the war long over. Things were looking up for all -- even for the main protagonists Vito Scaletta and Joe Barbaro. They've gone through a lot over the previous years and it all finally pays off as the anti-heroes are on their way to becoming "Made Men." The first mission in the 1950s era sees Vito needing to sneak into a factory -- Solid Snake-style -- in order to save some fellow mobsters being tortured by a rival gang. It's a fun level, but the mission I enjoyed the most saw Vito and Joe needing to take out the Clemente gang's don. The Clementes want to attack your gang so you need to strike before they do. Joe and Vito proceed to sneak their way into a hotel where the Clemente gang is holding a meeting. In a moment of pure luck, the two are able to get into the meeting room where the Clemente leaders are soon to convene. Joe plants a bomb while Vito cuts a small hole in one of the room's windows in order to feed wire from the bomb to the outside. Once done, they go to the roof and use a window cleaning platform to lower themselves down to the meeting room floor and connect the wire to the detonator from the outside. The bomb goes off and the pair inspect the aftermath only to see the Clemente don survive. They then chase after the don, ending the demo. I really enjoy what 2K Czech is trying to do with the different eras. The overall atmosphere pre-1950s is very dark and depressing whereas the 1950s are very uplifting. Everything from the music to the missions are just more enjoyable after the war based on what I've played. On the subject about the different eras, one common issue I've seen pop up with Mafia II is that the cars handle poorly. From a atmosphere perspective, it kind of makes sense. Mafia II begins during the final year of World War II. American citizens are getting by with the bare minimum as the country is busy pumping out materials and important resources for the war effort. So what's left are big, boxy cars that don't handle so great. While they're annoying, this isn't a game breaker. Then the 1950s roll around and that's when the cars become awesome. With the war over, the factories that were producing planes and tanks are now producing motor vehicles. Cars actually move fast and handle better, the polar opposite from the era before. The change is so significant that I feel it could really rattle players. You start off with vehicles that handle like they belong in The Flintstones but then the 1950s arrive bringing with it cars that handle like the DeLorean from Back to the Future. I don't really have an issue with the car stuff personally as it helps with the immersion. 2K Czech really wants to pull the player into the atmosphere as much as it can. Cars were crap during war time in real life, so they're going to handle poorly in the game pre-1950s. On that note, however, the uncanny valley issue I saw last time was still present. All the character's eyes during the cutscenes are like those creepy dolls that open and close their eyes when shaken. It's a jarring distraction that kicked me out of the immersion a number of times. It's especially annoying as the voice work is absolutely stellar. All in all, I'm really looking forward to Mafia II. I had fun with the game and like that the focus is more on the story rather than being set loose on a big sandbox with a bunch of annoying distractions and sidequests. Oh, and one last thing: Cops will chase you if you're speeding. That's just dumb.
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From E3 2009, to this past GDC and everything in between -- Destructoid has seen a lot of 2K's Mafia II over the last year. We got to check out the mobster drama once again recently and this latest taste has made up my mind o...

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PS3 version of Mafia II getting free content on release


Jul 16
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Mafia II isn't even out yet but looks like we're already talking about the game's post-launch downloadable content. Granted, 2K's hand may have been forced as the Trophies for the DLC were revealed early yesterday. So here's ...
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PS3-exclusive Mafia II content is 'Jimmy's Vendetta'


Jul 13
// Nick Chester
While 2K Games and Sony would only say that Mafia II would be getting exclusive content on the PlayStation 3, a trophy list for extra bits of game have shed some light on what we can expect. Called "Jimmy's Vendetta" the down...
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Mafia II might be in 3D on consoles someday


Jul 05
// Conrad Zimmerman
The much-anticipated Mafia II will finally be making its way to stores in August and will be available in 3D on PCs. Consoles won't be getting that extra "D" however, though 2K says it may yet happen. Speaking to CVG, 2K...
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Mafia 2 no longer features multiple endings


Jun 30
// Conrad Zimmerman
Mafia II was all set to have several ways the story could conclude. In an interview with IncGamers, Senior Producer Denby Grace has confirmed that the game will now have just one ending.  Grace explained that the re...
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Dtoid HQ receives a Mafia II branded briefcase


Jun 27
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Destructoid HQ gets plenty of weird, cool and sometimes stupid pieces of swag to promote whatever game that needs promoting. The latest package to be thrown at our door (Goddamn FedEx guy ... ) came from 2K Games and this is...
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E3 10: Mafia II is on the floor, in your homes soon


Jun 16
// Matthew Razak
While Mafia II might be landing in a bit over a month, that doesn't mean they don't want to show it off at E3, and so they have. Above you can check out a solid chunk of Mafia II gameplay. It's looking pretty good as far as ...
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E3 10: Mafia II to have exclusive content on PS3


Jun 15
// Matthew Razak
It's not just Microsoft paying for exclusive content for games. Sony has joined the party as well. Mafia II will feature exclusive content for the PS3 at launch. We're talking maps and weapons and stuff. I wish I could tell you more, but they were totally vague on that. You get more stuff on the PS3 is basically the story here. Rejoice.
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E3 10: Mafia II makes you a made man


Jun 13
// Matthew Razak
Can't quite get enough of sandbox games set during different times in American history? 2K Games has got you covered. If modern day gangsters or cowboys doesn't tickle your fancy then maybe mafia dons and machine guns will. ...

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