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Mafia II

Mafia II

Action-adventure game developed by 2K Czech

Mafia II is a 2010 action-adventure game developed by 2K Czech and published by 2K Games. It was released in August for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The game is a sequel to 2002's Mafia and the second installment in the Mafia series. Set within the fictional city of Empire Bay (based on New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit) during the mid-1940s and 1951, the story follows Vito Scaletta, a young Sicillian-American mobster and war veteran, who becomes caught in a power struggle among the city's Mafia crime families while attempting to pay back his father's debts and secure a better lifestyle.

The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on-foot or by vehicle. The player character's criminal activities may incite a response from law enforcement agencies, measured by a "wanted" system that governs the aggression of their response. Development began in 2003, soon after the release of the first Mafia game. At release, Mafia II received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise particularly directed at the story, gameplay and characters but the restrictive world design and lack of features from other sandbox games was criticized.

Gameplay

The game is set in the 1940s–early 1950s era of Empire Bay, a fictional city based on New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit. There are 50 vehicles in the game as well as licensed music from the era. Depending on the weather during the course of the game, vehicles handle differently. For example, during the early chapters in winter, vehicles are more likely to slip on the road due to the ice.

Many firearms from the previous game return, such as the Thompson submachine gun and Colt 1911, as well as a pump-action shotgun. New World War II–era weapons, the MG 42 and the Beretta Model 38, also appear in the game.

Interacting with objects in the environment involves two action buttons: a standard action and a "violent" action (for example, when stealing a car, the player may choose to either pick its lock or break the window glass), used in context-sensitive situations. A map is included as in the original Mafia game, but the checkpoint system has been completely overhauled. New controls include a cover system that allows the player to take cover behind objects (such as generators, walls and large crates) and shoot enemies, rather than just entering an arbitrary crouch pose behind them. This feature provides tactical support against enemies and has become a crucial technique of the genre.

The game's cutscenes are created by the game engine in real-time. For example, if the player is riding in a car and a cutscene starts, the player will be driving the same car with the same condition (damaged or intact) and will be wearing the same clothes. There are exceptions, however, such as the opening sequence and the cutscene that depicts the Empire Arms Hotel explosion in Chapter 10, which are pre-rendered video clips.

The game features three different in-game radio stations (Empire Central Radio, Empire Classic Radio and Delta Radio) with licensed music, news, and commercials. The radio stations include music from different genres including rock and roll, big band, rhythm and blues and doo-wop, with licensed songs by Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Dean Martin, Little Richard, Muddy Waters and others.

Plot

In 1943, Sicilian immigrant Vito Scaletta is arrested during a robbery and opts to join the United States Army to avoid prison, being enlisted in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment as a jeep driver. Vito first experiences the power of the Mafia when an operation in Sicily goes awry, and Don Calò arrives and orders the Italian soldiers to stand down.

In February 1945, Vito returns home on leave to Empire Bay and reunites with his childhood friend and partner-in-crime Joe Barbaro, who has joined the Clemente crime family in his absence. Joe supplies Vito with counterfeit discharge papers so that he would not have to return to the war. Learning that his late father left the family in debt to a loan shark, Vito seeks work with his father's former employer, Derek Pappalardo, who has ties with the Mafia. Later, he carries out several jobs alongside Joe and Henry Tomasino, a Clemente made man, securing enough money to pay off his father's debt. However, Vito is arrested again, this time for the theft and sale of ration stamps, and sentenced to ten years in prison. During his time in jail, Vito befriends Leo Galante, the consigliere of Don Frank Vinci, but learns that his mother died and all the money he had obtained is spent on her funeral.

In April 1951, Vito is released early thanks to his connections to Leo. Reuniting with Joe, the pair work their way up the ranks of the Falcone family, led by Don Carlo Falcone and his underboss Eddie Scarpa. Vito and Joe eventually become made men within Falcone's organization, allowing them to secure a better lifestyle. Learning that the Clementes are conducting drug operations, against the traditions of the Commission, Carlo orders the pair to assassinate Don Alberto Clemente. Following the hit, Henry approaches Eddie through Vito in search of new employment and is ordered to kill Leo. Although Vito warns Leo and helps him escape the city, the Falcones nonetheless welcome Henry into the family.

Vito finds his life falling into turmoil after his sister Francesca distances herself from him because of his mobster lifestyle, and his house is destroyed in a firebombing by the Irish Mob. To rebuild his fortunes, Vito joins Joe and Henry to profit from the sale of heroin bought from the city's Triads. However, Carlo, who is also conducting drug operations behind the Commission's back, learns about this and demands a cut of their profits. When Vito and Joe go meet with Henry to discuss the matter, they witness the Triads publicly executing him and escaping with their money. The pair pursue them, but fail to retrieve the money, and learn that Henry was supposedly a federal informant. In debt to loan shark Bruno Levine, whose money they borrowed for the heroin deal, Vito and Joe take on jobs to pay off the debt, including the assassination of retired mobster Tommy Angelo. During this time, Vito also discovers that Derek ordered his father's death and kills him in revenge. When the Vinci family kidnaps and tortures Joe, Vito saves him, but the pair learn that their actions have sparked a war between the Mafia and the Triads.

After paying off his debt to Bruno, revealed to be the same loan shark his father was indebted to, Vito is called by Carlo to the planetarium for a meeting. On the way there, Leo picks him up and chastises him for the problems he caused, before revealing that Carlo wants to kill Vito for vouching for Henry. However, grateful to Vito for saving his life, Leo has arranged for him to be spared by the Commission and the Triads as long as he kills their common enemy: Carlo. At the planetarium, Vito discovers that Carlo offered to make Joe a caporegime if he killed him, but the latter sides with Vito and helps him kill Carlo. Afterward, Vito leaves with Leo to celebrate, while Joe is driven off in a separate car. When Vito asks where Joe is being taken, Leo reveals that the latter was not part of their deal, leaving Vito to watch helplessly as his friend is taken away to whatever fate awaits him.

Development

Preliminary work on Mafia II began in 2004; the work on the script began in 2003. Originally intended for a PlayStation 2 and Xbox release, the game was moved to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2005, following difficulties with the developer of the game engine. It was officially revealed in August 2007 at the Leipzig Games Convention. A playable version of the game was achieved in 2007 or 2008. Mafia II was expected to release in late 2009, but was delayed until its release in August 2010.

2K Czech wrote a new engine for the game which was named the “Illusion engine”. The new engine was the successor to the IS' LS3D engine which was used to make Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven.

A promotional trailer was released for the game in August 2007. A second trailer was released on the Spike VGA show on 14 December 2008. An extended version of the trailer was released on 15 January with an extra 30 seconds of cut scene footage. The first gameplay footage debuted on GameSpot on 17 April 2009 as part of an interview with Mafia II's producer, Denby Grace. The video shows driving and gunplay aspects to gameplay as well as portraying the physics engine. A third trailer was uploaded to the website on 28 May 2009. From 1 June 2009, four short videos are to be added to the Mafia II website. The first of these is called "The Art of Persuasion" and features the song "Mercy, Mr Percy" by the female singer Varetta Dillard. Another video was released featuring footage from the mission "The Buzzsaw". The video reveals the fate of "The Fat Man" who appeared in the earlier trailers. On 27 March 2010, a new trailer was released showcasing the PhysX-based cloth and physics system used in the game.

On 3 August 2010, Sheridyn Fisher, the face of Playboy Swim 2010, became the official ambassador for Mafia II. Sheridyn's involvement with Mafia II highlights the agreement between 2K Games and Playboy magazine to use 50 of their vintage covers and Centerfolds in Mafia II as part of the in-game collectibles integration. A demo for the game was released on 10 August 2010 on Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network.

Release

Mafia II was released on 24 August 2010 in North America, 26 August in Australia, and 27 August internationally.

On 22 August 2015, digital sales of the PC version of Mafia II were suspended on Steam and other digital retailers for unexplained reasons. The game was restored to Steam on 1 June 2016.

Reception

Mafia II received "generally favorable reviews" for the Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 versions, and "mixed or average reviews" for the Xbox 360 version and Definitive Edition remaster from critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Greg Miller of IGN gave the game 7/10, calling it "a solid little game that'll give you a fun ride – just don't expect the world." Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot gave it 8.5 and stated: "Mafia II's exciting action and uncompromising mob story make for an impressive and violent adventure." Matt Bertz of Game Informer gave it a 9.0/10, writing that "in an era when video games are moving away from relying on cinematics for storytelling, Mafia II draws on the rich mobster film history to weave a gripping drama about family, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and pragmatism."

The most negative review came from John Teti of Eurogamer who gave the game a 4/10 and wrote that "Mafia II gets the last word by destroying the myth that the mafia is interesting at all. It contends that the mob world is a hell of boredom populated by aggressively stupid automatons. These drones wake up each morning, carry out a series of repetitious tasks, and return home." Zero Punctuation's Ben Croshaw called the game "generic", and noted the main characters' similarities with the main characters of Grand Theft Auto IV, but criticised the lack of features prevalent in other sandbox games. He also criticised the mundane parts of the game, such as driving, making the game feel "unnecessarily padded".

Mafia II has the most profanity in a video game, particularly the word fuck, which is spoken 397 times, beating previous record holder, The House of the Dead: Overkill.

Timeline

August 27, 2010

Mafia II was released internationally

August 26, 2010

Mafia II was released in Australia

August 24, 2010

Mafia II was released in North America

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