Our grandparents' time was simpler and purer, they say. Families ate together at the table, neighbors chatted pleasantly over white picket fences and town sheriffs whistled down the street, making sure every boy and girl was home before curfew.
Bullshit, we say. After playing the upcoming Mafia II and experiencing the virtual life of a post-WWII criminal firsthand, we know just how seedy and sinful life during the 1940s-1950s could be. Here are seven less-than-wholesome activities enjoyed during a single hour and a single mission.
During a single mission of Mafia II, we…
1. Lusted after women
Our hands-on demo opened in the apartment of the game's main protagonist, Vito Scaletta. He begins Mafia II as a recently returned soldier, but quickly embarks on a mafia-tinged life of crime with his old buddy, Joe Barbaro.
His bachelor pad safehouse clearly reflects both of these masculine professions. We were able to explore several rooms – a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom – and all were plastered with era-appropriate pornography. Sexy pinup girls hung on every wall and nudie magazines were piled in every corner (as reported earlier this week, publisher 2K has struck a deal for actual Playboy covers to appear in the game).
You won't be admiring only the printed page in Mafia II, either… at least not if the woman's underwear left behind on Vito's bed is any indication.
2. Wasted water
We were also impressed at how many little things the player can interact with in Vito's home. We people watched through the windows. We flipped lights on and off. We left faucets running in the kitchen and bathroom, then tested the strength of the shower. We headed to the wardrobe and changed the character's outfit from a casual undershirt-and-boxers to a suave trench-and-fedora. We picked up the phone, though the game told us we had no one to call yet. We even found the fridge, finished a sandwich and then drank ten beers in a row. As you can probably guess, our next activity was more-than-slightly fueled by alcohol.
3. Beat an old man for fun
Drunk and bleary-eyed, we stumbled out of the apartment and into the piercing bright sunlight. The developer of Mafia II, 2K Czech, has done a great job recreating what a city might feel like during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The buildings, signs and vehicles all appear exactly as you'd see them in a faded photograph, but now in full, living, breathing color.
Like we said, though, we were drunk. So when an elderly pedestrian wandered by – no doubt on his way to a malt shop or phonograph store – we shoved him to the sidewalk. Surprisingly, he decided to fight back and we got a quick taste of the hand-to-hand combat. Very similar to GTA IV's, though you can choose between a light attack and heavy attack, in addition to a dodge maneuver. We landed a few quick punches, threw the haymaker, then kicked the coot until he stayed down.
4. Aggravated police
Naturally, this rash behavior forced us into a battle with the nearby cops. Luckily, the tried-and-true trick of waiting for police to exit their car and then stealing said car definitely works in Mafia II. We were soon cruising through the game's setting, Empire City – a fictional melding of New York and San Francisco – with both the siren and radio blaring.
While the police chase didn't feel too different from the police chases in any other sandbox game, all the stuff around us did. The map displayed dozens of places to visit, including bars, diners, clothing stores and – perhaps most interestingly and alarmingly – gas stations. Sure enough, our car had a slowly emptying tank gauge, and when we pulled into a station, we had to watch a 10-second scene of some dude filling 'er up. This aspect of Mafia II could be a problem…
The radio stations, meanwhile, were completely immersive during the short time we listened to them. We heard songs by artists popular at the time, like Ritchie Valens and Perry Bradford, as well as a commercial jingle advertising ketchup to housewives.
Eventually, the cops nabbed us. A quick bribe, though, and we were back on our way.