on Facebook is about to get more visual with the upcoming launch of Mafia Wars
2. The direct sequel is a first for games studio Zynga, which hopes to impress
fans of the original empire-building crime RPG with a brand new story – and more
The game begins with you leaving prison after serving a
lengthy sentence. As a reward for keeping your mouth shut and serving time for
the greater good of your crime family, you’ll get a helping hand building an
empire of your own at your home turf in Las Vegas. 2D cut scenes set the stage
for your upcoming rise to power with cigar-smoking men and a sexed up sidekick
named Zoe. She’ll be your go-to girl when you start off, helping you with hints
and assistance as the game opens up.
The most noticeable difference for fans of the original Mafia Wars will be
Mafia Wars 2’s new look. The sequel makes use of an isometric perspective,
similar to other Zynga “ville” titles – and it seems to work well in Mafia Wars
2; it’s much more rewarding and satisfying to see your home turf grow now, as
you add more buildings. Of course, you’ll start out by building the most basic units,
like banks and “grow houses,” but as you progress you’ll be able to turn your
barren batch of land into a bustling neighborhood of sin with giant casinos.
There are also new PvP arenas to explore, like the Bone Yard. Here, you can
challenge other Mafia Wars 2 players to duels or “asynchronous” battles as
Zynga calls them. That means that the players you single out in these PvP
arenas aren’t fighting you in real-time, though according executive producer
David Kahn, Zynga may have plans for “synchronous” gameplay in the future.
Above: Here’s the Bone Yard. Make a name for yourself by defeating other
players as you climb the leaderboard
Like many Facebook and Zynga titles, Mafia Wars 2 encourages cooperation with
friends. As you progress in the game, you’ll eventually need to decide on a
crafting specialization, which will make you better at creating offensive,
defensive, economic, and decorative items. That’s just one way the game will
try to make it worth your while to join forces with other players to ensure
that you have the best items for yourself.
strength in numbers design of the game also carries over to boss fights.
Recruiting friends will make battles easier as you continue to climb
your way up Las Vegas’ ladder of crime. It also seems that a lot of the core
mechanics from the original remain intact and that’s probably a good thing. Striking
a balance between building up your home turf, investing in defenses to keep
rival gangs out, and having a group of friends who've got your back, will still factor into your everyday decisions. Anti-griefing
mechanics will also continue to keep the crime family battles civil. For
example, the game will still offer diminishing returns if you keep trying to
raid the same player’s home turf over and over again, charging more and more
energy for continued assaults.
While an official launch date for Mafia Wars 2 has not been announced, Zynga
expects that the game will go live in the “next few weeks.” In the meantime,
you can visit the Mafia Wars 2 Facebook page
and join the 283,000 fans who “like” the game for a look at the recently
released Mafia Wars 2 digital comic. Zynga worked with art collective studio
UDON to produce the comic. So if you’re a fan of any of UDON’s previous art
books paying tribute to all things Capcom, you might want to take a look.