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Hands-on with (much) more of Mafia II

The Buzzsaw began with Vito answering a phone in Joe’s apartment – Joe was gone – and being ordered to meet Joe and their friend Henry Tomasino at a nearby restaurant. Vito seems to begin a lot of missions half-asleep and in his underwear, so before we left, we looked in Joe’s hall closet and grabbed a “casual” suit with an overcoat and fedora. As we left the apartment, we caught sight of one of Joe’s lady friends getting into a fender-bender with some irate guy in a leather jacket, who proceeded to scream at her and kick her car. Vito of course had to intervene, which cued another fistfight. This one ended in a context-sensitive beatdown, as Vito slammed the bastard up against his own car to knock him out. With the thug unconscious and Joe’s girl safe, we stole the thug’s car, driving harmlessly over his prone form for good measure.

At the restaurant, we were introduced to Luca, a slimy little bastard who wanted Vito, Joe and Henry to take out a rival gangster who’d been the target of previous botched assassination attempts, and had surrounded himself with guards. To give them a leg up, Vito was ordered to go pick up a German MG-42 machinegun, the “buzzsaw” of the title. After paying a visit to the arms dealer who’d acquired the gun (a one-eyed vet who talked Vito’s ear off when he found out about Vito’s time in the service), we took a moment to buy a magnum (which was added as a “layer” to our handgun inventory, rather than replacing any of the pistols we were carrying), and then hauled the MG-42 crate out to the back of a waiting van.

After a short drive, we were treated to a cutscene during which Joe, Henry and Vito set up shop in an apartment across the street from a warehouse and waited for the target to show up. This took long enough that Vito got a little careless, and as he chatted with Henry about Henry’s emigration from Sicily to escape Mussolini, one of the target’s goons spotted him from the street.

The goon’s reaction wasn’t immediate, but once the target finally arrived, the guards knew where to direct their fire. As it turned out, that didn’t do them much good; the second we were given control, Vito busted out the buzzsaw and started raining down hot lead from the windowsill turret. The gun rapidly cut down the target’s henchmen, and even the ones that tried to take cover behind their cars were killed when we concentrated fire on their gas tanks for a couple seconds, turning their “cover” into bombs.

Sadly, we had to ditch the MG-42 and chase the target across the street (backed up by Henry and Joe), where he and his bodyguards had taken shelter in a warehouse filled with liquor. After a lengthy series of (literally) explosive shootouts across several floors, during which the target’s Irish-accented thugs set a few fires to try and stop us, we finally cornered the target, and Henry stepped forward to execute him. Instead, Henry took a shot from a revolver the target was holding and fell over, leaving Vito and Joe to pepper the fat bastard with a hail of bullets.

Henry survived, but only just. As Joe carried him through the fire the thugs had set, Vito cleared the way down to a waiting car, at which point we had to race against a timer (and a small storm of pursuing police cruisers) to get Henry to the house of El Greco, a doctor willing to do under-the-table work for the Mob.

Incidentally, we had a chance to replay The Buzzsaw on a 3D-enabled PC with three monitors set up for a panoramic surround view. The depth of field took some getting used to – more than once, I forgot to breathe – but it added a surprising level of immersiveness to the game. If you’ve got the deep pockets for it, this is definitely the best way we’ve seen to play the game.


Above: Mobsters in a warehouse. Not shown: Cool 3D effects

With that chapter over, it was on to Balls & Beans, set later in the game, after Vito has his own apartment. After another call from Joe, we headed over to The Maltese Falcon, a swank restaurant that serves as the headquarters for mob boss Carlo Falcone. This time, Vito was tasked with finding out the whereabouts of Falcone’s accountant, Harvey Beans, who’d disappeared along with enforcer Tony Balls. Falcone suspected foul play on the part of Luca – the guy who gave Vito the Buzzsaw mission – and ordered Vito to follow him and, if he was to blame, to kill him.

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