Mean Streets: Mafia II Review
I love Mafia movies. If you told me you would be watching Goodfellas at your house, you should expect me to show up on your doorstep with a bowl of pasta. As much as I love Mafia stories, I haven’t played, or for that matter found, a really good Mafia game. Mafia II has changed that.
Mafia II tells the story of Italian American WWII vet Vito Scaletta and the rise and fall of his Mafia career. The story is pitch perfect in it’s tone, mood and pacing. Long, well-written dialogue scenes are followed by gritty gun fights which set the tone for a realistic Mafia tale. This game is more Goodfellas then it is the Godfather as it’s set in small scale operations and shows how the mob really operates. Also the way the missions play out is pitch perfect. When things are going smoothly, the missions play out nice and easy and when they go downhill the pace gets frantic and fast paced.
Empire Bay is one of the greatest game settings I’ve ever seen. I would put it up with Rapture as the city is astounding it it’s detail and integration. Slum areas and nice neighborhoods give the city and identity, instead of being just one big bland city. People look different in different neighborhoods and the music ties it all together. The radio blasts the sounds of Bobby Darin, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, The Cadillacs and many more, giving the city an authentic feel. Music changes as the years go by and really make you feel that your in a certain time and place.
Gunplay is astounding too but in a different way. Instead of having all powerful weapons, you have effective, realistic weapons which are all different, unlike other games. Machine guns riddle down people while shotguns blow them against the wall. The weapons handle perfectly and add to the overall experience.
Now a few things keep this game from being perfect. The checkpoint system is atrocious and the distance between checkpoints is very annoying. I once had to start a mission all over again that I had completed and gotten the achievement for the mission and had quit. However since the checkpoint does not coincide with the end of the mission, I had to start the whole mission over again. This and smaller annoyances keep this game from perfection.
Pure and simple this game is a masterpiece. It is the culmination of excellent writing, great gameplay and a wonderful enviorment. Any gamer would be proud to have this game as part of their collecetion. This game is up there with Mean Streets and Goodfellas as one of the greatest Mafia tales ever told. This game is a work of art.
About the Author - Matthew Byrd
Matthew is a senior at Jones College Prep. He regularly writes about Movies, Politics, Sports, and Video Games at his blog byrdsplace.tumblr.com and records podcasts for libraryofgames.org and does a film podcast called "The Final Cut Film Podcast" with fellow LoGer Taylor Bayless.