Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Mafia II (final impressions)

Well, I just finished the game.

Let me go back first to more pleasant times and talk about an earlier chapter. I was driving through the city with a body in my trunk (an occupational hazard), and the ensuing police chase was frantic. My car was all smashed up, and as I drove over the crest of a short hill at high speed (the police in close pursuit), the car caught big air. When it landed, the hood came off like a projectile, flying behind me into the oncoming police cars.

I would frame that moment if I could.

That entire chapter was one of the most enjoyable, brilliantly written moments of gaming I've ever had.

Now, on to the hard realities. Does the ending redeem the earlier collapse of the plot? No, because it's the wrong ending.Without giving spoilers, the way to make that ending work was to give the player a meaningful moral choice. It's not like it would have been difficult to do. Hell, they set up the possibility of a choice almost perfectly, and then completely ignored it in favor of a far less satisfying resolution.

I strongly believe (and have believed for years) that these guys are geniuses. I still believe that, but they're also erratic at times, and that shows through strongly in the last two chapters of this game.That's unfortunate,  because in the first 13 chapters, their genius was on full display.

Would I recommend this game? Absolutely. Is it what it could have been? Absolutely not. 

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