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Mafia 2: Joe's Adventures - The biggest and best DLC since Grand Theft Auto IV?

Released on the 23rd of November for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, Joe’s Adventures looks to be a great example of the way DLC really should be done. Less a side-story, more the missing part of Mafia 2’s main story, it follows Vito’s best friend Joe through his exploits in Empire Bay during the years of his buddy’s absence.

It brings new areas, new game mechanics, and eight new hours of gameplay, making it the biggest and most complete DLC offering since Rockstar gave Liberty City two new episodes. Also, what I’ve played so far is great. Read on, and I’ll tell you why.


It’s almost a whole new game

Forget your preconceptions of narrative DLC. Joe’s Adventures isn’t just a few more missions or a couple of hours of side-story. It’s an eight-hour epic that dovetails seamlessly into the original Mafia II’s storyline while providing a game around two-thirds the length of its predecessor. Think of it as Mafia 2.5.

Remember Mafia 2 protagonist Vito’s lengthy jail term? And remember how Joe was doing pretty damn well for himself upon Vito’s release? This is the story of everything the big guy did in between, filling in the gaps from the ‘40s through to the ‘50s. In terms of scale, we’re talking about an experience at least on a par with Rockstar’s two add-on episodes for Grand Theft Auto IV. So almost a sequel, but not quite. And for the far-less-than-a-sequel price of just 800 MS Points on 360 and £6.29 on PC (PS3 price unconfirmed, but expect something similar).


It’s way more than more of the same

Don’t go thinking that you’re just looking at a bunch of reskinned off-cuts from the original game in Joe’s Adventures. There’s significant new content here. Aside from the full-scale campaign, Joe’s Adventures also opens up a whole new area of the city, with brand new locations vastly expanding the countryside area in the north east.

The part we’ve seen – the snowbound lake area in the trailer – is right up to the stunningly evocative standards of atmosphere and place we experienced in the original game. One of Mafia 2’s greatest strengths is the immense vibrancy and feeling of life in its environments, and the wintry wilderness really is one of the prettiest and most expressive areas in Empire Bay so far. It even feels cold. 

There are also new cars, new music (brilliant news, given how much geeking out we did over Mafia 2’s fantastic and exhaustive period radio stations), new clothes (Joe’s style was always a bit more ‘bold’ than Vito’s). And speaking of Joe himself…


Joe does things his own way

He isn’t just a chubbier Vito. Joe is very much his own man, and this is very much his own game. For a start, he comes packing his own melee moves, and proves far handier than Vito in terms of the old punchy-smashy. Where a punch from Vito would usually lead to a drawn-out punch exchange, Joe’s bull-in-a-china-shop approach to life allows him to rush down mooks with a mighty combo pounding without so much as breaking a sweat. And as you’d expect given Mafia II’s substantial viscerality, it’s bloody satisfying to unleash.

Also, there are now proper stealth missions. Mafia 2 dabbled with stealth a little, but only for brief periods before it all inevitably went the way of the blam. Joe however, despite his bulk, gets the sneaking right. Infiltrating the icy enemy hideout was a genuinely satisfying creep-and-kill experience, our carefully chosen paths between cover and gangster line-of-sight rewarded with plenty of opportunities for satisfying environmental offings. No weedy sleeper holds for Joe. He’s all about snapping necks and sending bodies to freeze with the fishes.

Similarly, Joe’s bigger personality seems to have lead to some bigger and brasher set-pieces. This is still Mafia 2, of course, with all its classy believability and smooth, beautifully-realised ‘40s cool, but when Joe goes loud, he does so in a more epic and cinematic way than his more straight-laced best friend.

Where Vito got into car chases, Joe has car chases over breaking frozen lakes, skidding across ice flows to slam his prey into the perishing deep. When he chases down a rat, it’s via road, on foot, over and under train, and culminating in a potential truck smash (emergent events depending). This is Mafia 2’s class and excitement cranked up to accommodate a louder, ballsier hero with some cool new tricks, and I’m very, very excited indeed at the thought of getting back into its world to live the life again. Also, did I mention…


There are new vintage boobs

 

Yep. More of this.

12th Nov, 2010

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13 comments

  • JADENkOTOR - November 14, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    I actually won Mafia II in one of your weekend giveaways and never got to thank GR, so thank you. You probably should put a SPOILER at the beginning cause you got pretty detailed in there. Anyway, 8 more hours of a great story for only 800 MSP... c'mon, that is a fucking deal. I can only pray that this catches on with other devs and a new trend of cheap, quality DLC begins.
  • aaronbuhagiar - November 14, 2010 5:13 a.m.

    I give this game 7 out of 10 because theres no free mode
  • sleepy92ismypsn - November 12, 2010 7:10 p.m.

    I haven't played Mafia 2 but I think the best DLC since TBoGT would be Undead Nightmare for Red Dead.
  • frmonth - November 12, 2010 7:08 p.m.

    Yeah I'm in the same boat as EsotericFerret
  • zicolofoo - November 12, 2010 6:49 p.m.

    good news!!
  • alphaman - November 12, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    Biggest? Shivering Isles perhaps...?
  • grappler51 - November 12, 2010 4:22 p.m.

    $10 for 8 hours of gameplay sounds great. Gives me another reason to finally pick up Mafia 2.
  • Woodsey - November 12, 2010 2:51 p.m.

    "Joe’s Adventures looks to be a great example of the way DLC really should be done. Less a side-story, more the missing part of Mafia 2’s main story," Since you're clearly so excited for it it's probably best to not give such a horrific first impression with that sentence xD No one wants to pay for missing parts of a previous game. I know what you were getting at but it doesn't sound great. Anyway, should be good - I'm a little confused about how it took them 5 years to make a game that lasts 10-15 hours and now the DLC lasts 8. Really enjoyed Mafia 2, but it didn't fulfill it's potential. Oh, and it's a linear open-world game, it's not meant to be a sandbox, before the inevitable comments start piling in. The developers made that perfectly clear in every interview and developer diary they made - it doesn't want to be GTA.
  • yoyoguy - November 12, 2010 12:48 p.m.

    i cant wait
  • GR_DavidHoughton - November 12, 2010 12:23 p.m.

    EsotericFerret: Don't worry too much about the sandbox thing. I see Mafia II as more of a linear action game with a huge, beautifully-realised film set built around it. Played in that context, it works brilliantly well. And the story is excellent.
  • EsotericFerret - November 12, 2010 12:15 p.m.

    I passed on the game when it came out just because there was so many other games out that I was playing, plus the whole it's a sandbox game without anything to do in the sandbox problem. But with the main game coming down in price and DLC like this coming out, I may just pick it up some time in the future.
  • Eaxis - November 12, 2010 11:17 a.m.

    This is a good way to get me back into Mafia 2.
  • Xobi - November 12, 2010 9:39 a.m.

    looks good

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

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