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This review was submitted by Turgid Dahlia. If you’ve played Mafia II, or just want to ask Turgid more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Mafia II (360)
It isn't really important what Mafia II is about. Okay, sure, it's a "sandbox-lite" GTA-style experience, except without the open-worldiness and irritating interruptions. It's set on the cusp of the Cold War. It's a third-person shooter without Gears Of War's relentless depressing greyscale architecture. It has amazing visuals - some of the best on the 360 - and an engaging storyline. The voice acting is beyond reproach. The environments are fascinating, the gunplay invigorating, the driving driving-y. It's fun. It's a fun game. And mainly it's the story of a man trying to create a future for himself. It's the story of Vito Scaletta, but that doesn't matter.
Loved Relaxation: This is a game not so much to savour as to slump into. And not a resigned slump. The slump of satisfaction, of relaxation. Driving a made-up '40s petrol guzzler through the snowy streets of a place that isn't quite New York. Listening to radio stations that play the sort of music you pretend to laugh at, but which in reality act as a sort of massage for the soul, imbued with such clarity and delicacy, harkening back to an era where B-17s flew overhead, on their way to missions unbeknownst, and yet this was normal because it was all you remembered, and what really matters is getting home to your mamma, and to your sister. To share a meal in a dingy apartment, in a room that hasn't changed since you left three years ago. To sleep on the bed where you had your first nocturnal emission, your first real gut-wrenching cry. Your first life-changing revelation: "I will do this." And to wake up meet with your childhood friend and drive to the other side of town, possibly in a stolen car, admiring the world around you and wondering where everything went so wrong. But that doesn't matter. Just drive, just listen to the music. Stop to machine-gun the baddies, sure. But mainly just drive. And don't bump the prowl car in front of you at the red light.
Hated Life isn't like this: I'm not Vito. I'm not this confident, or competent, or handsome. I don't have interesting stories from the war. I don't have his adventure.
This is a game to settle you. No side-missions? Not enough freedom? You'd prefer more customisation options, to change your avatar's nose slightly, or adjust their eye colour? Why isn't there any multiplayer, because what I really just want is the most superficial level of human interaction? None of this matters. Mafia II is therapy. And I love it.
Reviewed by: Turgid Dahlia
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