2K Czech recently released their Mafia II demo onto the Xbox Live market place. This game is quite possibly the best looking game on the Xbox 360, and has a compelling story to match.
Mafia II is the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, and one of 2k Games latest high quality endeavors. In this demo, you start out in your house as Vito, the main character, a World War II war veteran. At this point, I was already drawn in by the astonishing graphics and technology that this game makes use of. Immediately, you see how crisp the textures are and how amazing the lighting effects are. The animation is very fluid and the audio technology is definitely well done. As your phone rings, the sound will become dulled as you look away or leave the room, and will become louder and more focused as you near it. I actually was unable to locate the phone until I began walking in the direction where the phone was at its loudest. I immediately knew that it was clear that this Mafia II demo will be one of the best demos I have played in a long time. If you cannot tell, there may be spoilers in this if you have never played the demo yet.
Another minute or two into this demo, you enter a building in which the firefights will begin. The aiming system and
gun-play handles a lot like that of Grand Theft Auto IV, which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your opinion of the game. The aiming is very accurate and the pain and death animations are very well made. In some games, when you shoot an enemy, they simply shake or cringe in pain, but when you shoot an enemy in Mafia II, they show some serious damage, especially with the shot gun. They will often fall down and writhe in pain or depict an epic blow back with blood splatter on the wall. At one point of the demo, one of your comrades will actually go up to a dead enemy and begin spraying bullets into the corpse.
The voice acting works well with the stunning visuals and amazing animation to depict a movie-esque feeling. There are points in this game where I am less interested in just going lone-wolf like I do in most games. This game paints such a complex and intricate picture that I am influenced to actually role play and go throughout the game as if I were actually this man, trying to avoid getting hit as much as possible. At that point of the demo when Vito’s ally goes and shoots bullets into a corpse, laughing insanely, you really see how well and how much effort has been poured into Mafia II. The dingy lighting and ominous look of the level really puts you on edge when turning a corner or facing your enemies.
Mafia II seems to be more realistic with its policing system, in comparison to the Grand Theft Auto series, that is. When I hit a civilians car, the police put a warrant out for me for hit and run. Usually, in a game like Grand Theft Auto IV, the police will only trouble you if you come into contact with their car. One thing I have not experienced during the Mafia II demo, but have been hearing from multiple sources, is that the police A.I is unexpectedly bad. You can often out run them with little to no effort.
The hand to hand combat system seems to be catered towards newer players. All you have to do is hold one button and you dodge all incoming attacks. This takes an element of timing and skill out of hand to hand combat now, and can allow the player to simply button mash their way out of trouble, which is a bit disappointing. You also will not be arrested for fist fighting, you will only be stopped and receive a slap on the hand from a police officer.
All in all, the Mafia II demo is something that I would actually replay again and again, simply for the cinematic and enticing experience that it has to offer. If you have not played the Mafia II demo yet, I urge you to play it, and if you have played the demo, I urge you to buy the game. Mafia II will most likely take home an award for its well presented story.