Mafia II PS3 Review


I’ve been anticipating this game since I stumbled upon the website from 2K’s main page while looking for information on BioShock Infinite. I was surprised I hadn’t heard about it before, but I guess my agonizing waiting of L.A. Noire, and Rockstar’s little to no information about it made me pursue other games. It seems to be GTA 1950 with similar missions, cars and weapons in a huge open world, which looks pretty much exactly like Liberty City, except it’s not.

The city is Empire Bay, not related to the Empire City which had the crap kicked out of by a terrorist bomb and a dude who shoots lightning out of his hands in InFamous, and it looks exactly like New York City, even though the Czech dudes who produced the game said that Empire Bay was based off multiple cities in the United States, but mostly New York. Just in the trailer, you can see the Chrysler Building, Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge. All that was missing was the Statue of Liberty in the Empire Bay harbor.

However, it’s hardly open world. Sure, there’s a little free roam, but no side missions or random characters to meet make driving around Empire Bay boring after a very short while. So, already, 2K has swiped two things from two separate, excellent sandbox games, and then I find out my character’s name is Vito. “As in Vito Corleone?” I ask the game. No, Vito Scaletta. There are literally 12 billion Italian names to choose from, why did 2K Czech have to choose Vito? Vito is as synonymous with The Godfather books, movies and (terrible) video games as Somalia is synonymous with warlords.

Another correlation between The Godfather and Mafia II is that Scaletta has just been discharged from the US Military, just like Michael Corleone from The Godfather. The game starts by having you walk down the snowy streets of Empire Bay. Because I had been anticipating the game for so long, I was willing to forgive those two terrible ‘references’ and continue with the game. The worst part is, they have disgraced the Godfather, the Goodfellas, and other mafia movies. The game feels like, as another review put it, ‘like your watching scenes from 100 pretty OK mafia movies’.

Going into the game, I didn’t know what too expect. 2K has been very fickle with me, as I’ve hated almost all of their sports games, especially NHL 2K9, MLB 2K5, and the absolutely horrendous MLB Front Office Manager, which is a shame to all MLB video games and sports management sims alike, and should go down as one of the worst video games of all time; while I’ve loved both BioShocks. I guess judging a game based off it’s production company isn’t good, but who cares, people seem to do it with EA all the time.

Fortunately, it was good. Not the best sandbox I’ve played (Red Dead Redemption will likely hold that spot until Agent or LA Noire comes out.). The strange thing is, it’s about as much of a sandbox as Alan Wake was. You constantly have an objective, but how you get there is entirely up to you. After you’ve finished the objective, you’re free to roam around Empire Bay as much as you like, but don’t expect any side missions to show up, as most side missions or random encounters are scripted into your objective, and once you’ve finished that objective, you’re done with stuff to do, other than eating, tricking out your car, or buying new outfits.

Also, don’t expect to go on a GTA-esque rampages, as the traffic laws that are so fondly remembered from the original Mafia are back in effect in Mafia II, albeit more lax. But, if you speed or run a red light, the Empire Bay Police Department will be all over you. Also, any assault of Empire Bay’s fine citizenry will result in the EBPD coming down hard on Vito. Even so much of exposing a gun in Empire Bay will result in a cop attempting to arrest you. So, Empire Bay is much more anti-gun in the 1940s and 1950s than Liberty City is in 2008.

The previous game, Mafia: City of Lost Heaven, was released way back in 2002, and was acclaimed on the PC, but the XBox and PlayStation 2 versions were considered much worse. According to Mafia’s devoted fanbase, City of Lost Heaven is the greatest and most underrated game in the history of video gaming. Okay, so it’s no different than my Red Dead Redemption fanboyhood, (a group which I proudly belong too) but as a person who’s two computers are so terrible that the only software I install on them is the least expensive anti-virus software…I’m getting off track. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve never played the Mafia, so I don’t know all the blatant fanboyhood that is gracing the comment pages for any review website that failed to give Mafia II a 90 or above.

Amazingly, the cars in Mafia II handle worse than the cars in Grand Theft Auto IV. They feel like boats from GTA IV. Seriously. The driving is easily the worst part of the game. Drive a long, long, long way to the mission location in a car that feels like a boat, shoot some people, get in the car and drive a long, long, long way back to your house, and go to sleep. Then advance to the next long, long, long cutscene.

The cutscenes are easily the most enjoyable part of the game. And the lip syncing looks terrible. The people look like corpses, almost. The voice acting is solid, and the story is pretty good. The shooting is pretty good, too. But it’s nothing you haven’t done before. 1) Hide behind cover, 2) wait for a chance to pop out and shoot, 3) shoot, 4) repeat.

The graphics also got shafted on the PS3. The Xbox 360 and PC versions have realistic grass, and blood pooling, while the PS3 has neither. I know it sounds like I’m nit picking here, but the 360 version is clearly better than the PS3 version

The one potential redeeming factor is that the PS3 gets an exclusive mission pack, “The Betrayal of Jimmy”. It gives you around 20 more missions where you play as Jimmy instead of Vito. But it’s hardly worth it.

Overall, I give Mafia II a 65 out of 100. It shines in some places, but in others, it falls flat on it’s face. At most, give this a rent. Don’t spend 60 dollars for a short story with long, long, long tedious driving. If you must get this game, get it on the 360 or PC.

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Mafia II provided by 2K Games.


Written by: MAINEiac4434 - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Allan on August 24th, 2010

    GTA is GTA, Rockstar is Rockstar, sorry Mafia.

  2. #2 by Darrin on August 24th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    “the 360 version is clearly better than the PS3 version, and 2K Games even came out and said it”

    Where? We (ps3blog.net) ran an article claiming this, but it was complete baloney. I read through their quotes and they didn’t say that at all, and no one else on this site could show any other evidence so I edited it out. 2K *did* say that the PS3 version doesn’t run as nicely as today’s high end PCs but that was wildly obvious to everyone anyway. There was a YouTube video showing the PS3 version clearly didn’t have as nice grass, but so what?

  3. #3 by Trieloth on August 24th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    I can careless if there isnt grass and still would check it out. But if the driving sucks then ALL versions are crap.

  4. #4 by LOKO117 on August 24th, 2010 [ 2940 Points ]

    The driving can be long and tedious but I actually find the cars fun to drive so it doesn’t bother me. It’s a fun game…grass rendering you don’t even notice. I’m only 38% done and I say pick it up.

  5. #5 by MAINEiac4434 on August 24th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    Darrin: “the 360 version is clearly better than the PS3 version, and 2K Games even came out and said it”Where? We (ps3blog.net) ran an article claiming this, but it was complete baloney. I read through their quotes and they didn’t say that at all, and no one else on this site could show any other evidence so I edited it out. 2K *did* say that the PS3 version doesn’t run as nicely as today’s high end PCs but that was wildly obvious to everyone anyway. There was a YouTube video showing the PS3 version clearly didn’t have as nice grass, but so what?  

    The YouTube video also featured comparisons to the 360, and It’s clearly better looking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8-PyQXljO0&feature=player_embedded. Look at 0:44-0:57. The 360 version looks much, much, much, better than the PS3 version.

  6. #6 by SL33PY on August 25th, 2010 [ 2371 Points ]

    Getting it through Steam on the PC, I heard some good things from my clanmates who played the demo

  7. #7 by MAINEiac4434 on August 25th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    SL33PY: Getting it through Steam on the PC, I heard some good things from my clanmates who played the demo  

    Yeah, the PC version is clearly superior to both console versions, as was with the original Mafia.

  8. #8 by Darrin on August 25th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    I saw the YouTube clip and I rewatched the 0:44-0:57 segment you suggested but I can’t see any difference outside of the grass. I admit the grass is better on 360, but woop-de-doo, it’s just grass.

    You didn’t just claim that the 360 version was better than the PS3, which we seem to subjectively disagree on.

    You said that “2K Games even came out and said” that the 360 version was better than the PS3 version, which AFAIK, is false. That’s not a subjective taste issue either. Either you have some quote or link which you aren’t showing or it’s just not true.

  9. #9 by MAINEiac4434 on August 25th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    Darrin: I saw the YouTube clip and I rewatched the 0:44-0:57 segment you suggested but I can’t see any difference outside of the grass. I admit the grass is better on 360, but woop-de-doo, it’s just grass.You didn’t just claim that the 360 version was better than the PS3, which we seem to subjectively disagree on.You said that “2K Games even came out and said” that the 360 version was better than the PS3 version, which AFAIK, is false. That’s not a subjective taste issue either. Either you have some quote or link which you aren’t showing or it’s just not true.  

    I understand that is sounds pretty stupid and like I’m overreacting, but on the official Mafia forum (this post to be exact: http://forums.2kgames.com/forums/showpost.php?s=61ffb1c3f62b26603a123b4d3d0330f4&p=1012515&postcount=541), 2K Elizabeth (Elizabeth Tobey, a marketing manager for 2K) wrote, and I quote:

    “In terms of the PS3 version, I wanted to clarify a couple points you have been asking about: There will not be highly detailed grass or large pools of blood, the cloth movement is less noticeable than, for example, the PC version, and the visual fidelity in the demo is generally representative of what you’ll see in the full game.”

    Sure, the OP is comparing it to the PC version, and sure, it’s not a press release but an employee of 2K Games at least wrote that the PS3 looked the worst. Take that as you will.

  10. #10 by Darrin on August 26th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    That’s the exact quote I read. They said the PS3 looked worse than the PC version. And they aren’t talking your typical laptop with integrated GPU, I presume they mean recent high-end workstation class PCs.

    That quote didn’t say the PS3 version is the worst or PS3 is worse than 360.

  11. #11 by MAINEiac4434 on August 26th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    Darrin: That’s the exact quote I read. They said the PS3 looked worse than the PC version. And they aren’t talking your typical laptop with integrated GPU, I presume they mean recent high-end workstation class PCs.That quote didn’t say the PS3 version is the worst or PS3 is worse than 360.  

    Hmm. I guess I misunderstood the quote. Still, you must admit that the PS3 version is visually inferior to both PC (especially PC) and the 360, right?

  12. #12 by dave on August 26th, 2010

    No,I have the ps3 game of mafia 2 and I seen the other 2 for PC and the 360 from friends, and all three looks very good,now the grass on the ps3 looks a littleless in detail then the other 2, but the ps3 game is no diff. from the other 2 its still a very playable game, dont no what 2k is talking about,but if your the kinda guy that looks in the grass for details in a game, well you better off getting the PC or 360 game, but like I said if you have friends, that have a PC or 360 or or ps3 what ever the one you dont have, check it out you will see their is no big diff. what so ever in the the games.

  13. #13 by dave on August 26th, 2010

    one more thing, look on game sites that rates games like gamespot.com, all 3 have a average rating of a 8.5, and look at what other people have to say about the ps3 of mafia 2, not a bad rating, all about 8.5 to a 10 so you go figure, and that goes for all 3 games.

  14. #14 by MAINEiac4434 on August 26th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    dave: No,I have the ps3 game of mafia 2 and I seen the other 2 for PC and the 360 from friends, and all three looks very good,now the grass on the ps3 looks a littleless in detail then the other 2, but the ps3 game is no diff. from the other 2 its still a very playable game, dont no what 2k is talking about,but if your the kinda guy that looks in the grass for details in a game, well you better off getting the PC or 360 game, but like I said if you have friends, that have a PC or 360 or or ps3 what ever the one you dont have, check it out you will see their is no big diff. what so ever in the the games.  

    I never said the game wasn’t “playable” I was merely pointing out the difference between the two games, and the fact that 2K Games admitted that the PS3 looked slightly different. There is actually some differences (shown in the video I posted a few comments up). This may annoy some people, which is why I chose to include it in the post. I have the PS3 version (obviously). I guess it comes down to what your opinion is on what’s a ‘major’ difference and what’s not. I notice the little things like the grass in games. Too me, that’s a major thing that was left out of the PS3 version, but included in the other two.

    I don’t know where your second comment comes in. Gamespot did give M2 an 8.5, but IGN gave it a 7, Eurogamer gave it a 4 and Giant Bomb gave it a 6. The Metacritic score is 73. I don’t really see where you’re going with this…except that Gamespot just did a sweeping review and gave the game an 8.5 on all three systems? A lot of video game sites do that.

  15. #15 by dave on August 27th, 2010

    yeah, I know about game sites that do that,I wasnt trying to prove anyone wrong here, if your into detail like the grass,trees etc… thats cool, and the ps3 its not that bad it all, I was just simply saying lots of people on gamespot.com that played mafia 2 for ps3, they seem like they like it alot, and not saying omg 2k was right the detail sucks etc… but anyway maybe some people was thanking it would be like RDR or just cause 2, I dont know, and I played both of those games, and playing mafia 2, I can see its not as detailed as those games, but I played mafia 2 on the 360 and ps3 and I like just the same.

    P.S. I was not after you about your review, I didnt mention you name, I was trying to help others if they are worring about the game on ps3, and I was just saying my 2 cents what I thank about the game.

    sorry if you thought I was after you

    P.P.S. I only go to gamespot.com, maybe I need to go else were and see other reviews etc… but thank you

  16. #16 by MAINEiac4434 on August 27th, 2010 [ 3494 Points ]

    dave: yeah, I know about game sites that do that,I wasnt trying to prove anyone wrong here, if your into detail like the grass,trees etc… thats cool, and the ps3 its not that bad it all, I was just simply saying lots of people on gamespot.com that played mafia 2 for ps3, they seem like they like it alot, and not saying omg 2k was right the detail sucks etc… but anyway maybe some people was thanking it would be like RDR or just cause 2, I dont know, and I played both of those games, and playing mafia 2, I can see its not as detailed as those games, but I played mafia 2 on the 360 and ps3 and I like just the same.P.S. I was not after you about your review, I didnt mention you name, I was trying to help others if they are worring about the game on ps3, and I was just saying my 2 cents what I thank about the game.
    sorry if you thought I was after you
    P.P.S. I only go to gamespot.com, maybe I need to go else were and see other reviews etc… but thank you  

    Yeah, I think a lot of people thought it would be a much more open world experience, which is why some blogs and magazines gave it low ratings. But I knew it wouldn’t be a Red Dead Redemption-like experience. The game is just really, really mundane at times, and way to short. And the driving is tedious.

    I was giving this a simple review on the PS3, with no other systems taken into judgement. The game could be a 9/10 on the PC, but on the PS3, in my opinion, it’s 6.5/10.

    I like Giant Bomb more the Gamespot and IGN, but I also check them out too. I use Metacritic to get an overall score on games I’m iffy on.

  17. #17 by dave on August 27th, 2010

    yeah thats cool, my opinion for the ps3 would be 8.5 I like it, but you have to keep in mine, PC games will always look better then game consoles, my friend has mafia 2 on the PC, downloaded on steam so yeah the PC I would give it a 9.0 and thats it,but like I said I like the ps3 and PC and 360 games I can play all three, and not come back from one and play the other, and go ohhh god this sucks I like the PC better, well thats my review of them.

  18. #18 by Madgamer on August 29th, 2010

    First of all let me just say I made the mistake of buying instead of renting it first I was hoping it would be like mafia 1 but I couldn’t have been more wrong it was the shortest game I ever played in my life apart from arcade style games cars were cool but they should have side missions and the cops were more off a problem than the wise guys and why can’t u shoot while driving the cops seem to be sharp shooters when there driving shooting at me no problem its the lil things that count and this game left them all out u can drink 100 shot and still stand? As soon as u attempt to steal a car a cop just pops up bs.why do I have 2 drive all the way across town 2 sleep?and 1 nice house is all they give u and then it gets burnt down bs.they took forever to come out with a flop. I like where they were starting to go with the game then they got lost with no gps.I’m just mad because 2k makes some cool sports games and bio1and 2 are cool but I feel like I’m the one who got robbed by some wiseguys.”Madgamer”

  19. #19 by Andrew on October 15th, 2010

    How do I got stuff back that a lost for mafia 2 like the wated posters that I git and it is not showing up


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