I will not resort to a terrible Italian accent for this review-you and I both deserve better. And that’s what I felt about this game in general. I deserved to be treated nicely by any game I spend time with.
It is undeniable that Mafia II is a beautiful game, but with problems. The city is visually detailed and rich, but the faces are waxy and creepy. The soundtrack is authentic to the time periods in the game, but there’s just not enough music. The gameplay mechanics are serviceable, but are unnecessarily complicated at times. On these points alone, I would normally recommend a game. Unfortunately, there are two big problems that sink the experience for me.
First, the beautiful city they’ve created has very little to do in it. A sandbox is useless without toys, and this game has you going from point a to point b in the story line with no interesting distractions to wander off and follow. The “grand theft auto” series has spoiled me with choice, so a game that tries to fit in the same “sandbox” genre but doesn’t deliver the goods is a big disappointment. Where were the side-missions, the lists of cars to collect, the friends to entertain, the properties to buy?
Secondly, the plot itself made me feel like my character was a dim-witted thug destined for an ignominious death. Not only was his best friend stupid with urge control issues, leading the main character in a cycle of rash actions and missions to rescue his dumb ass, but at every juncture where a smarter character would make a choice to avoid trouble, your character shrugs his shoulders and goes along with disastrous ideas. He is never clever, and the end of the game is depressing and unrewarding. I want to play as the hero, not as the doomed stooge.
On the plus side, one of the collectible things in the game are vintage Playboy magazines, and boobies are nice. 5.5 out of 10.