Digital Illusions aka 2K Czech, released Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven for PC release is set for tomorrow in the US (August 24) and this Friday in the UK (August 27) — Check out new price and buy it from Amazon. It was released at a time when Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto III had turned the industry on its head, and it was similar enough to garner the attention of gamers because of it.
The son of an Italian immigrant, Vito Scaletta lives in Empire City among the poor, his family struggling to make ends meet. What’s an Italian living in America during the 40s and 50s to do besides turn to a life of crime? More specifically, Vito hooks up with the Italian American mafia, working to make a name for himself and a few dollars in the process. But Mafia II is far form a rags to riches story, instead the tale of a young criminal whose ties to the underworld never really advance past that of mobster middle management. In many ways, the entire game mirrors this narrative, just good enough to get by, yet never truly shining bright enough to quite be called “Don.”
It’s also important to emphasise that Mafia II isn’t really an open-world game. Sure, Empire Bay is a huge place that’s entirely open to the player from the beginning of the game, whether they want to drive around downtown, visit the docks, head to the ‘burbs or up into the hills, but this is a backdrop to a fundamentally linear game.
Players are never given anything of substance to do outside the main story path, nor are they encouraged to do anything other than follow the main story path. Indeed, you could spend the entire game blindly following the handy red line on your map that takes you to your next objective, then following the (almost entirely) linear path through each mission when you get there.