Hands-on with (much) more of Mafia II

Room Service was actually one of the first missionswe were shown from the game, so it was great to finally be able to play it after seeing it more than a year ago. Opening at “Villa Scaletta,” a little house Vito buys in an upscale suburb, the mission called for Vito to head straight over to Joe’s apartment to meet with Falcone. Falcone wanted Joe and Vito to take out a rival family head, Clemente, which Joe planned to do with a bundle of dynamite he kept waving around.

Accompanied by Marty, a jumpy kid who Joe had adopted as a protégé, Vito and Joe took a drive to the Empire Arms Hotel, where Joe – in an uncharacteristic fit of careful planning – had arranged for a janitor to let them in the service entrance, so that they could detonate the bomb in the middle of some kind of meeting that Clemente was presiding over. After donning a couple of unconvincing cleaning-crew disguises, they ran into a couple of mobsters (including, at one point, Henry, who works for Clemente but doesn’t appear to recognize the two), who ordered them to clean up messes, including a massive bloodstain on the floor of Clemente’s conference room.

This, of course, was exactly the opportunity the pair needed, and the second they were left alone in the conference room, Vito cut a hole in the window, through which Joe fed a wire that he then connected to the bomb, now affixed to the underside of the conference table. Afterwards, there was a bloodstain-cleaning sequence (which thankfully wasn’t accompanied by a minigame), a seamless exit and a surprise shootout on the roof, during which Joe and Vito took down a whole mess of Clemente guards before surprising (and tying up) an innocent window washer. So much for the stealthy approach.

After stealing the window washer’s lift, the pair rode it down to the floor where Clemente’s conference was taking place. While Vito picked up a squeegee and washed the windows, Joe crouched down and connects a detonator to the fuse coming out of the window, which thankfully hadn’t been noticed by any of the mobsters. Once that was done, the two rode the lift back up a few floors… only to be knocked off their feet when the bomb detonated below them.

Unfortunately for Joe and Vito, however, their bomb killed everyone in the room except Clemente, who was safely in an adjoining restroom when the blast went off. As Clemente fled, Joe and Vito chased after him, leading to a massive gunfight in the classy hotel bar outside the meeting room. This was nothing less than a showcase for the game’s destructible environments, as we were able to tear apart a cubed-glass wall and every bottle on the bar while we pretended to aim for the bad guys.

After gunning down a few more mobsters (and in Joe’s case, throwing one out the window in a scripted beatdown), one of the two hallways leading toward the elevators was firebombed, forcing us down the other one and toward a few waiting goons. Several dead goons and one surprised cleaning lady later, we rode an elevator down to the service quarters, where Clemente’s goons covered his escape from elevated walkways and from behind what we can only assume was laundry-related industrial machinery.

Once we’d reached the garage, we found that Marty – who Joe had ordered to stay with the car – had apparently tried to be a hero when Clemente came down and was shot to pieces. Mad as hell, Joe and Vito hopped into their car and chased after the fleeing boss, guns at the ready.

Sadly, this was where our session ended, with no clear indication as to whether Joe gets his revenge (we’re going to go with “probably”). Complete story arc or no, though, our longest hands-on with Mafia II was pretty impressive, and while it’s difficult to anticipate how its relatively linear structure and tight focus on character and detail will be received in a post-Red Dead Redemption, post-GTA IV market, we doubt this is going to disappoint anyone who’s been waiting for it these past couple years. At any rate, we’ll know for sure once the game finally arrives on Aug. 24.

Jul 20, 2010

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.