Mafia II E3 Impressions

June 19, 2010 Written by Josh Fernandes

Mafia II is back with a whole new experience. Instead of being set in 1930’s Lost Heaven City, Mafia II is set in 1950’s Empire Bay. The main protagonist has also changed from Tommy Angelo to Vito Scarletta. However, the game will retain the “minor” and “serious” crimes, strong attention to story telling, and robust physics engine.

I did one mission in Mafia II. First, I was given the objective to meet up with some associates across town. I ran across the street, busted in the window of a parked car, and took off. The cars took a little to get use to because they were a little more sluggish and hard to handle. Man, I wouldn’t want to live in a time before power steering. On my way to my destination, I decided to crash into oncoming traffic just for the fun of it. When I did, Vito got hurt and nearly died. In Mafia II, car accidents will injure Vito. My car wasn’t so lucky, so I had to get out to find a new ride.

I ran up to a pedestrian and punched him in the face. Then the camera zoomed in close to Vito and some button commands popped up for punching and blocking. I was in a fighting mini game with this random pedestrian. A police man saw us fighting and yelled at us to stop. Instead of just shooting at me, like in any other open world game, the police man just broke up our fight. I was able to just walk away. Getting in a fist fight was considered a minor offence so that was why the police man didn’t arrest me. Speeding is also considered a minor offence. For criminal offences, like shooting people, you will get a wanted level.

When I finally arrived at my destination, I went up to one of the apartments to do some shooting at a few bad guys and parked cars outside. Then I ran downstairs and across the street to the warehouse where there was a guy I was suppose to kill. Here is where I had to use cover. Vito doesn’t take many bullets before he gets hurt and I actually died once during the demo. Mafia II contains a cover mechanic where you can crouch behind walls, barriers, crates, and anything else that appears to be big enough for you to hide behind. The cover adapts to the shape of your cover, so if walk from behind a high box of crates to a shorter box, Vito will crouch down lower so you won’t get hit. Popping in and out of cover could be a little sluggish and transferring from one side of cover wasn’t as smooth as I would like.

The gun-play is what you would expect. I had access to a pistol, shotgun, and tommy gun. I had two friendly NPCs with me and they were very capable of taking out bad guys. Sometimes enemies require quite a few bullets to be taken down, but most of them go down without much effort.

By far the best aspect of the game is the storytelling. The narration and character dialogue were top notch. The game actually got me to gasp aloud while playing. This caused several people around me to give me strange looks. Overall, what I saw of Mafia II was very fun and I look forward to its release in North America on August 24th of this year.