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

8:30 PM on 08.06.2010 // Ben Perlee

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 of a game gets the attention...and the sales.

Mafia II is playing this business game, and surprisingly, this exclusive DLC is for the PlayStation 3. Even better, it's free for those who buy the game new, so those looking to get this content with a used copy are going to be out of luck (they'll be charged $9.99). Called “The Betrayal of Jimmy,” this pack of over 25 missions is external to the world of Vito, based upon the bald badass Jimmy, who will also be seen in the post-launch downloadable content coming for all consoles, “Jimmy's Vendetta.”

Meanwhile, “The Betrayal of Jimmy” is aimed to address some of the early complaints that people may have with the disc-based content, and considering it's free, it's pretty appealing. Having spent about an hour with this new bit of content, I can say this is certainly something you might want to take into account when choosing your platform for Mafia II.

Hit the jump for more.

"Jimmy's Vendetta" Mafia II DLC (PlayStation 3)
Developer: 2K Czech
Publisher: 2K Games
To 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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Ben Perlee,
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