In the original: I was avoiding cops on my way to a lighthouse to dump a car with a body in the trunk, I was chasing down a don before he boarded a plane, I was planting a bomb underneath a car, and I was getting into a shootout in the night time rain at a farm. And those were just a handful of memorable missions. Looking back, there just seemed to be more exciting stuff in the first game. Granted, there were also great missions in Mafia 2 like the window washing sequence, to shooting a machine gun out of a window from a loft upstairs, trying to take out a greedy fat guy, to the awesome stealth missions, but they were few and far between.
I liked how stealing cars and taking them to your garage evolved from Mafia. Customizing the cars was a great addition, but I wish, after collecting cars, they’d be able to be seen parked individually, like Jay Leno’s garage found in the original game. It could have been viewed as a sort of trophy room, instead of just flipping through cars with a press of a button. I understand it’s meant to be a bit streamlined, but seeing a whole slew of cars that you’ve amassed during missions, gives a sense of progression and achievement.
One last thought, and one that I actually didn’t mind in first few chapters, but started to grate at me later on, is the lack of side quests in this open world. Though the missions were mostly entertaining, I felt after I beat the game, there needed to be more things to do to keep me invested. The gun shops, clothing stores, food joints and bars that litter the city are a nice distraction, but once the main story is finished, there’s really no reason to go back to the game unless you want to go through a second time and collect all the Playboy magazines. There were no cars to collect, no bar fights to get into that showcase the fighting system, no additional hits to take part in. These could have all been side distractions that can keep players busy for weeks. I felt like it was a missed opportunity
All in all, while I still felt the world to be a living and breathing one, I felt Vito didn’t have much else to do, which lessened my attachment a bit to the character.
Well that lasted way longer than I thought, but don’t get me wrong, Mafia 2 is still a good game, with awesome music I might add, but after playing it all the way through, it falls short of greatness. Maybe nostalgia is setting in, but I just didn’t find it as engaging as the original Mafia. There were many moments of brillance for sure, but in the end, things just didn’t seem to come together like I would have hoped.
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