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Review Mafia II (XBOX 360)

genre: action, adventure, third person shooter

Mafia 2 is a title that I wasn't entirely sure off until I played the demo and a little (first few missions) of the original game xbox version. The original is one impressive title and after playing it for a while I knew it was a game I would enjoy very much. The demo also showed promise and after having read so much praise for the awesome story I was sold. After playing the game for a few hours however it became clear that the supposedly awesome story is nothing but a tame and badly rehashed collection of scenes or stories from several famous gangster movies. And that might impress people who never seen them before but for someone like me who has seen a lot of them it simply does not cut it.If a game is mostly focused on the story then it better be damn good. If you must rehash old stories why not play around with them to keep it a little fresh. Now I can live with a bad story if the characters had some meat to them. All the great gangster movies had a number of compelling figures or were made compelling through the dialogue or little anecdotes within the main story. In Mafia 2 these figures aren't present. (But it has to be said that the voice acting in itself is pretty good and helps to remain interested.) The main story is so generic that at one point I thought that it could not be true and that some awesome twists would occur to surprise the player and make us forget how bland the characters truly are. Sadly this does not happen. Let's compare it to GTA IV. In essence the story of GTA IV for example was quite simple but it was made into a very enjoyable one because of Niko Bellic being a well rounded character that made it hard not to like him. He made you immerse in the world he lived in. Vito Scaletta is no Niko Bellic or John Marsten (Red Dead Redemption) for that matter. He had so much potential but in the end he is a very forgettable character since there is hardly any depth to him. In the cut scenes they did show he had some reservations of what he was ordered to do but only on occasion did it translate into the game play. Don't get me wrong. I liked the gameplay especially the shooter sections.It was the driving and lack of diversity that made it a rather dull experience sometimes. It was nice to be able to drive around in this big city. Only without side missions or other things to do I wished I could have skipped the driving altogether. Being able to collect playboys was a nice touch. And I would have liked to have the option to return to a location already visited or at least being able to replay the levels to collect whatever there is to be collected. I get it though,the developers wanted to keep gamers focused on the story without getting side tracked too much. And like I said had the story been worth it you would not have heard me complain. Overall I did enjoy the game for what it offered except I was hoping for so much more.     

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