Mafia II

Jan 4, 2008

GTA’s success means gangster chic will never fade, yet there are few games that place you in the trilby hat and spats of yer actual mobster, rather than an Uzi-toting modern wannabe. Fewer still that offer anything more than pun-heavy stereotyping.

Above: Speakeasy ambiance at work

2002’s Mafia is the one game that did it right. It’s a controversial classic, revered by its fans but overlooked by gamingdom at large. Expect a similar blend of third-person action, vehicle hijacking and period storytelling in the sequel, but with an engine that, if early screenshots are to be believed, will hit cinematic high notes few other games reach. It looks incredible: cities are detailed and realistically lit, while characters have unnervingly authentic facial expressions.

With a stronger vein of humour, heightened brutality and a jump from the 1930s to the less buttoned-down ’40s and ’50s (good news for anyone who felt Mafia’s vintage automobiles were lacking in horsepower), this should be more Goodfellas than Godfather.

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