Today, I downloaded and played the new release of one of my favorite PC games – Mafia II (a timed demo available free on Steam). But man oh man!…I must say that developers have done a real shitty job. They have pulled out all that the game was good for, and introduced new mechanics which are really not that great.
I am very disappointed since I was waiting for this game to be released for ages now (the game’s already been delayed a lot). Here are some in-depth details on why the game called Mafia II sucks :-
Mafia franchise is always meant to be dark, gritty and serious business. The graphics in Mafia II have a little cartoonish feel to them. I cannot really explain this, but overall the world is too bright and happy, which is not how things should be in a game where cops are chasing criminals and everybody carries a gun under the hood (I hope you know what I mean!).
The textures are sharp but overall the graphics lack depth and seriousness.The original Mafia game looked much better at its time making it an instant hit with gamers. This version looks lame and is definitely not a trendsetter (which I was expecting).
With the introduction of Nvidia PhysX technology, most of the games are losing the performance and frame rates in exchange for a few extra bits of smoke and particles (I mean, new technology is meant to make games perform better and not screw them). So is the case with Mafia II. PhysX can make this game crawl during graphically intense scenes. Also, this technology is not available for people using ATI cards, which again sucks big time (so much for a free market).
I could have lived with worse graphics if they had given me better gameplay to go with it. This is the aspect that sucks out everything that was left of the Mafia game.
The Mafia II demo begins in a safehouse where you get your first mission. The first thing you realize is that your character gets in your way of navigating the interior of the room. This is really awkward, as this is supposed to be a third person shooter game. The interface should be very streamlined and not feel like a hybrid between a FPS (first person shooter) and a TPS (third person shooter). Things do get a bit normal in the outdoor environment.
The next thing that comes to mind is the driving. The driving aspect is so clunky that every car seems to lose control at the corners of a road (I have been playing games for the last 15 years, so I know how it is). The hijacking mechanic for the cars is also stupid. Why the heck does the player hit the windshield two times before breaking it? If he is so weak then he is not fit to be a made man! ( I would rather not have this glass breaking thing at all – What happened to the basic Grand Theft Auto style?? ). Due to this effect, I preferred walking on foot rather than taking pains to steal a car that didn’t even drive properly. LOL!
Another showstopper is the aiming cursor, which is more of an obstruction rather than an aid, while shooting guns. Its so freaking big that it covers half of the screen. Ideally, a game that is supposed to be next-gen, should have crisp targeting mechanics. Another thumbs down here.
And, what’s up with my player’s health ? He can’t even handle 2 gunshots to his body ?? I mean, I can see that developers wanted to make this game realistic but it really sucks the fun out of the game. What good is a game full of crime, if I have to die at every corner (either because of the smallest car crash or stupid cops shooting at me every time). And did I mention that all the cops in this game are shooting champions 🙂 They will shoot you dead even when you are in a car driving at full speed. They are the real Mafia here!
The next spoiler is the hand-to-hand combat. In order to fight with someone on the street, you have to lock-on to him/her before you can engage in combat. WTF…Lock on? WHY? Stupidity ensues when the target starts running away from you. You can chase the target but not engage him again (the only option left for you is shoot your target in the head). Bleh!
The list for gameplay issues is endless and I am not going to list them all here.
With every company concentrating on development of console games, I will say that this is another sacrifice of a great game that used to be a classic. I had high hopes for this title that just got shattered badly.
With the game’s release date on August 27, 2010, I don’t think that the developers have enough time on their hands to straighten out all these creases (and anyway, they are not going to read this rant).
Just play the demo yourself and check it out!