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The game does still involve a lot of driving, which pretty much cannot be avoided in games like this, but the need to adhere to traffic laws (some of them anyways) combined with ruthless cops and even the ability to automatically put your car into a speed limited mode, means that you actually respect the driving segments more, rather than just blast around smashing everything in your way.

Visually, Mafia II is incredibly beautiful at times. Even the demo did not do justice to how great this game looks at times. Seeing the city in winter, with snow falling and melting off of cars as you drive them as well as warm afternoon or rainy days will not fail to impress. On that note, the framerate can be inconsistent, and will do strange things like speed up to ridiculously high rates when you face the wall or floor but for the most part, remains smooth and fully playable and so really doesn’t detract from the game.

To compliment the visuals in Mafia II, the sound work and soundtrack is a marvel. Voice acting is top notch, a ton of work has been put in to the most minuscule details ranging from the sound of individual weapons to ambient sounds and more. The music that you will hear on the radio was carefully selected and changes as the years go on, moving from the sounds of the 40’s right into the more upbeat rise of the 50’s tooty frooty attitude.

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Conclusion:

Mafia II lives up to the greatness of the original in many ways, and provides gamers with a story driven experience that is quite different to what is usually released these days. While I enjoyed the combat, the city, the visuals, the characters and the progression of the story, I find myself being unable to forgive the game for falling flat on some key parts of the story so badly that it made me forget about how much fun I had, and left a bitter taste in my mouth.

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Scoring:

Gameplay: 8.5

Solid cover combat system, good controls and driving mechanics.

Presentation: 9.0

The game looks really great, characters don’t always look the same, the city is a marvel to behold and some great lighting and additional touches keep it very easy on the eyes.

Sound: 9.0

Outstanding sound, voice acting and soundtrack. Really one of the shining elements in the game.

Value: 8.0

Mafia II will take you around 12 hours to finish, and also includes collectibles to keep things going, but offers no real reason to play more than once.

Overall: 8.5 (not an average)

I feel conflicted when I think back to my experience with Mafia II. The story, combat, missions, setting and characters come together to make a great experience, but once all is said and done, I feel like a few elements let me down in ways that I wish I could take back.

[Reviewed on Xbox 360]

Last Updated: September 1, 2010

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Mafia II
8.5

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