Mafia II is Not a Game

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Mafia II is Not a Game

Mafia II is not a game. It's interactive theater.

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It concerns me slightly that Russ always loves Mafia games.

Perhaps there's a hidden agenda? Or even hidden oranges.

Wait, didn't he say it was a game on the last paragraph? And yet the article title says that it isn't.

Also, I've always thought story+visuals+gameplay=video game. Hell, that's what you call an 'interactive theater.' Remember, movies don't necessarily have to have a good story (they aren't usually even good), and neither do video games. Call me practical or something, I don't know.

The article is very well written though, and a good read. Props. Mafia 2 is truly a great game, so at least you seem to have good tastes.

Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

May I ask what reviews you were reading? The game bases most of it's gameplay on the story, which happens to be absolutely phenomenal and is almost worth it just for that.

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

Thats because they compared it to GTA, and bashed it for not having as much freedom. which is odd since freedom was never really the point of this game, or the first Mafia game.

So many words, yet it is a game. Lame.

Mafia 2 was an amazing experience and I agree, its not fun, you can have fun while playing it, but its deeper than just fun. I've never played a game where the death of an NPC felt as earth shattering as in Mafia 2.

Its a truly awesome experience and I loved every minute of it!

I saw it as The Godfather only it wasn't even remotely interesting and I cheered when people I was supposed to like died.

Escapist staff take a new leap forward into the realms of pretentious self-indulgence. But column quotas must be met I suppose.

Its certainly got the feeling, and, with the period of times - you really get to know your characters too

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

Well, to throw my opinion into the pot, I thought it was brilliant. I think many reviewers made the mistake of approaching the game like a GTA sandbox, which, as Russ here as said, it is not.

OP: Saying that Mafia II isn't a game is..a bit drastic, but I can certainly see what you're getting at. It's a game, but it's a game that puts immersion as its highest priority, which is something I respect. Too often these days, games will try and cram as many features as possible, but Mafia II takes an endearingly minimalistic turn to the standard formula. The city is a backdrop, not a playground. It's what made the first Mafia so well loved, which is why it's slightly baffling that so many reviewers consider it a negative point.

The only huge criticism I can bring up about the game is it feels unfinished in several places. However, I hear there's a DLC plan set out for this game, and if all else fails, Mafia has always had a prodigious mod community. Apparently, there's a shitload of unused stuff buried in the games code, so a Kotor 2 style restoration project wouldn't be out of the question.

ALuckyChance:

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

May I ask what reviews you were reading? The game bases most of it's gameplay on the story, which happens to be absolutely phenomenal and is almost worth it just for that.

1UP; 7.5/10
Xbox Magazine; 8/10
Destructoid; 6.5/10
IGN; 7/10
Around average

Phew. When he said "interactive theater" I first thought that meant one of those games where it's all cinema and not enough gameplay. I'm looking at you, Heavy Rain.

tellmeimaninja:
I saw it as The Godfather only it wasn't even remotely interesting and I cheered when people I was supposed to like died.

People have opinions

Jiraiya72:

1UP; 7.5/10<-Freaks
Xbox Magazine; 8/10<-Corrupt
Destructoid; 6.5/10<-Corrupt also
IGN; 7/10<-Douche bags
Around average

That's why

Jiraiya72:

ALuckyChance:

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

May I ask what reviews you were reading? The game bases most of it's gameplay on the story, which happens to be absolutely phenomenal and is almost worth it just for that.

1UP; 7.5/10
Xbox Magazine; 8/10
Destructoid; 6.5/10
IGN; 7/10
Around average

I don't know about 1UP, XBOX Magazine, or Destructoid, but you're insane if you seriously think IGN is a credible review source. Hell, I doubt many professional review sites are any credible anymore.

Try looking at user scores instead.

Judgement101:

tellmeimaninja:
I saw it as The Godfather only it wasn't even remotely interesting and I cheered when people I was supposed to like died.

People have opinions

Yeah, they do. In fact, I just stated mine. Amazing, isn't it?

Dammit, couldn't there have been a spoiler warning somewhere at the top?

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

Have you even played it?

And many reviews claim that it's a shit sandbox game. Which it is. But that's like calling Half Life 2 a shit sandbox game; because neither are about sandbox-tom-foolery.

OT: It's a game, and there's plenty of game in there. Just that the gameplay serves the narrative and not the other way around.

Furburt:

The only huge criticism I can bring up about the game is it feels unfinished in several places. However, I hear there's a DLC plan set out for this game, and if all else fails, Mafia has always had a prodigious mod community. Apparently, there's a shitload of unused stuff buried in the games code, so a Kotor 2 style restoration project wouldn't be out of the question.

Same for me. Funnily enough the DLC is just focused on pissing about in the city, but there was another title in the game code (Joe's Adventures or something) which I'm guessing will be more aimed at M2's main style, if it does come to fruition.

Main complaints from me are that the GC 09 demo missions isn't there (the atmosphere makes me want to weep uncontrollably in that video, it's so good), as are some of the interactive elements (like Vito getting mugged).

I really loved the idea of side-missions that arise naturally during a chapter, and that add to the secondary characters; many of whom needed fleshing out more. It's a shame they cut so much, some of which for no apparent reason.

Loved Chapter 14 though. I nearly pissed myself from excitement and dread when I saw Joe turn up with the car.

Aw c'mon, I thought that it was a good game specifically because it was like interactive theater. The meaning of video game should be more flexible than that.

zipzod:
Phew. When he said "interactive theater" I first thought that meant one of those games where it's all cinema and not enough gameplay. I'm looking at you, Heavy Rain.

Actually, Mafia II's almost the opposite. It has cutscenes, but almost all of the traditionally cutsceney things you do are actually done in the game itself. It really helps with the immersion.

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

its anything but average. a story like this doesn't come along very often. once in 8 years if you're lucky.

SachielOne:
Dammit, couldn't there have been a spoiler warning somewhere at the top?

My thoughts exactly. I'm probably gonna buy it soon, and now I know one of the major twists according to Russ. Oh well.

ALuckyChance:

Jiraiya72:
Lots here seem to think very highly of M2, but after looking at other reviews, this game seems pretty average. Nothing to get too worked up about.

May I ask what reviews you were reading? The game bases most of it's gameplay on the story, which happens to be absolutely phenomenal and is almost worth it just for that.

First of all, I haven't played the game yet, but I wanted to put my two cents in. Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker reviewed the game and was somewhat critical of the game in general and the story in particular. The bloke is big on storytelling, a reputed reviewer and a huge Mafia fan. It's not like if it were written in stone, and I really, really want this game to be amazing; but it seems to be divisive at best.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/28/wot-i-think-mafia-ii/

What I don't like about Mafia 2 is that it's a string of cliches, I expected an original story and was disappointed.

I can't say I have anything to add as far as Mafia 2 goes, as I have no interest in the game what so ever and have not played it, but I do need to commend the column in general. While one could argue that this particular column borders on pretentious, this is the sort of writing I enjoy. It immediately brings to mind other Escapist articles like Yahtzee's Extra Punctuation or MovieBob's Intermission (or even, to some extent, the old Afterthoughts section from EGM). It embraces the idea that while the review of a game should be self contained, there's often more to say and more to discuss that doesn't really fit into that main compartment. G4's web presence has really done extremely well with this sort of thing in it's Talkabout, Feedback and Sessler's Soapbox video entries and I would love to see this sort of extended commentary added for all of The Escapist's major reviews.

Mullahgrrl:

Its still a game, stupid!

Just a heads up, calling a senior moderator stupid might not be the best idea.

While i'm not exactly hopping the "it's not a game" bandwagon here, i do at least partially agree with the statement. At least, it's a game that has huge amounts of atmosphere. Any game that takes place in a universe i'm not particularly fond of, in a time i don't really like, yet can immerse me so much that i willingly derail from the main quest just to drive around town pointlessly, see the sights and feel like i'm in there, in that time, is a game worthy of my appreciation. Because very, VERY few games nowadays actually manage to do that.

Despite its shortcomings, and a bit ironically, Mafia 2 has done it. It has bridged the gap from game to art.

Shame the gameplay isn't as stellar. Can't see me spending anything more than a rental on it. In the end, the most vital aspect of a game is the gameplay, the thing that sets it aside from story-driven books and to a smaller (but not by much) extent movies.

I can probably accept the interactive theater classification, but not when it's priced like a game.

Furburt:

Mullahgrrl:

Its still a game, stupid!

Just a heads up, calling a senior moderator stupid might not be the best idea.

Worse. He's actually Editor in Chief of the entire site. Disagree all you like, but you might want to rethink the "stupid" bit.

I am liking that lately(as in the last few years) there have been successful games that have a story, if you take a small look under the mayhem and fun and you get a deep story to rival most other media.

I do think since the game was JUST released, relative, that people who like the game are playing through rose-tinted glasses. It will probably take a few playthroughs before something purely analytical to come. But until then it is still a very fun game.

EDIT:

Susan Arendt:

Furburt:

Mullahgrrl:

Its still a game, stupid!

Just a heads up, calling a senior moderator stupid might not be the best idea.

Worse. He's actually Editor in Chief of the entire site. Disagree all you like, but you might want to rethink the "stupid" bit.

hahahahahaha.....
And
I restate that you are posting things just before me to entertain me for some reason.. Crazy Susan.

This game is interactive theater and the way it ends is proof of that. In GTA 4 when the game ends, you still have the rest of the world to play around in. In Mafia 2 when the game ends, you can't play in the world pass that point because the developers on some level believed the world is nothing more than a stage for what happens and what is the point now that the story is over. The world falls on it ass without the story and it cannot get back up without it.

Russ could have equally said similar things about the original 'Mafia'. Both are effectively interactive films.

The first 'Mafia' even had the tagline "Welcome to the game of the greatest 1930s gangster film Scorsese never made."

I like to see games as a form of art. An entertainment medium of the modern age. I think nothing exemplifies this more than the Mafia series of games. They strike an emotional chord in a similar way a movie could - while still being a game. Even though I'm at uni my xbox is back home - and even my mum (who hates videogames) likes Mafia 2 from what she's seen and heard of it.

It blends cinema and videogames excellently. I can't wait for LA Noire to come out. I think that could be a genre-definer, if it works out well and as promised. It would finally demolish any stigma videogames have as some sort of 'lower' form of entertainment.

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