The sequel to Mafia has been a long time coming and many people, myself included, have been watching it so closely and jumping on every snippet of information that gets released. So you can imagine that as soon as the demo was available through Steam today, I immediately clicked download and anxiously waited. Although the full game releases in about 2 weeks time, depending on where in the world you live, I still have not placed my pre-order for it as I need to know for sure that the game can live up to my expectations. In the years since the first Mafia game, the sandbox genre has seen so many enhancements that Mafia 2 has a high standard to reach or else it will be a disappointment to every wannabee gangster out there. If Goodfellas is your type of movie then surely you are in the same boat as me and you cannot wait to get your hands on Mafia 2. This is a summary of my impressions, 10 minutes after completing the demo.
I’m lucky to have a high end PC so all options can be cranked up to maximum and the game is silky smooth achieving a solid 60 FPS throughout the majority of the provided benchmark. This is a nice touch as it means you can play around with the settings in the demo so that when the full game is released you won’t have to spend much time tinkering and can get straight into the action.
Control throughout the demo is fairly standard, WSAD for movement, mouse control for looking around and mouse buttons for fire. Left Ctrl when near an object lets you hide behind it and pressing the right mouse button while in cover allows you to peak out and shoot. This is a tick in the box for me as I hate games that won’t let you lean out of cover to fire.
The camera is 3rd person so the viewable area is much broader than if it was a first person shooter and this helps to see the location of enemies and whether or not they are moving around to ambush you. In the demo I didn’t experience any issue with the camera as the game gives the player full control with the mouse. Thankfully the controls don’t seem to have been dumbed down too much due to the parallel development for consoles. It is the first multiplatform game in ages that has not had me reaching for the Xbox360 controller. Mouse and keyboard works as well as it should
The demo gives the player a single mission to complete with some walking involved, shooting and gunfights on foot and of course driving, including escaping from the police at one stage. So all in all, the demo gives the player an idea for how control will feel when traveling in three of the main ways I imagine the main characters will travel in the final game. Cars retain the feel of the era and of course will not corner as well as a 2010 racing car. This could take a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of driving missions, I can see this becoming second nature.
The graphics in general appear to be of a high standard with textures looking sharp and of course in keeping with the time period that the game is set. The draw distance was impressive and although you are limited to 10 minutes of city roaming, that was enough time to get a sense of the scale involved in the city.
The character animation was solid and the cutscenes showed that lip sync has improved so much from Grand Theft Auto 4 which is what I have mentally used as the benchmark for judging the demo.
Weapons and gunfights were satisfactory and did not feel too lightweight or overpowered. Enemies reacted accurately to the part of the body they were shot in, with a headshot resulting in instant kill.
In Summary: The demo was extremely brief but has left me wanting so much more. The voice acting for the characters was good in the demo and I expect this to be a strong point for the final game. It is hard to make a definitive call on such a brief demo but I’m happy to report I was not disappointed with the general impression the demo has left me with. Will the full game give me the full on gangster experience I have wanted since hearing the opening line from Goodfellas, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”? I sure hope so.