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Sep 24, 2012

Review: Mafia II

by Stephen Ashby

Can this power-hungry mob shooter dazzle us on the Mac?

Review: Mafia IIReview: Mafia IISome might say that the mafia is a topic that has been a little overused recently, but if you love The Godfather or The Sopranos you’ll be pleased to hear that the mob is now making its way to the Mac with the release of Mafia II. The game places you in the shoes of Vito Scaletta, an immigrant born in Sicily and raised in Empire Bay – the game’s version of New York. After returning from military service, Vito meets an old friend who has started working for one of the mafia families in the city, and begins to get involved in the family business. We don’t want to spoil anything, but the story is engaging, mostly thanks to the excellent voice acting and fantastically realistic graphics that make the characters look close to real.Review: Mafia II

Empire Bay is a beautiful place, too, but as you progress you’ll realise that it provides little more than a backdrop to the story. While the city is large, this isn’t like GTA; instead of being allowed to roam anywhere you want and start missions as you find them, you will instead be guided from mission to mission.

Review: Mafia IISometimes you’ll get the chance to explore a little while travelling to a mission, but you’ll soon realise there is little to do outside of the main story arc. There are a few twists and turns in the story as you get deeper into the game, but it took a little too long to get going for our liking. Some missions are fantastic, with memorable set pieces, action-packed shootouts and great cut-scenes, but there are way too many that involve driving someone to a location, watching a cut scene, then driving back.

Review: Mafia IIThe driving itself is handled well, with a wide range of cars that all feel different. Sadly, the police are quick to punish speeding in Empire Bay, forcing you to keep an eye on your speedometer in the bottom-right of the screen. It’s shame, as the driving physics make the experience good fun.

We did have a few problems with the camera, especially when our character was indoors, meaning we often ran into walls as the camera placed itself directly over Vito’s head. We also found the game was a little sluggish on our 13-inch MacBook Pro from early 2011, even on the lowest graphical settings. This was a surprise as this machine ordinarily makes light work of modern games. Make sure that you check the specifications online before purchasing.

Review: Mafia IIIn light of such issues we can’t recommend Mafia II as strongly as we’d like, but it’s still a solid title with an engaging story and impressive graphics. Just make sure you have the computing power – and endurance – to get through it.

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