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E3 2009: Mafia 2 eyes-on impressions

Illusion Softworks created the original Mafia way back in 2002 just when open world action games were beginning to blow up with the previous year's release of Grand Theft Auto III. While Mafia sold well on the PC its console ports were not as well received. Meanwhile the GTA series continued with a number of follow-ups.

Now the development team, renamed as 2K Czech because of their purchase by Take Two Interactive, are getting closer to completing the long awaited sequel Mafia 2. At E3 2009 we got to see a (hands-off) demo of one of the game's first missions.
Like the original, which took place in the 1930's, the sequel also progresses in time from 1945 (just before the end of World War II) to the mid-1950s. While the game's location of Empire City is once again fictional it's clearly based on New York City. Your character is Vito Scaletta and the game basically tells his story from small time hood to a major figure in organized crime

The E3 2009 mission takes place in 1945 where Scaletta, after spending time in the Army, returns home and quickly gets back into the family business. The game has the character and two helpers take on a mission to kill "The Fat Man" who apparently hasn't been keeping up his end on payments. The mission quickly turns into a firefight, literally.

You have go after your target while the distillery he runs into to escape from you burns all around you. This part of the mission showcases the game's cover system and the fact that the AI enemies will try to take cover as well. In the end you find The Fat Man and take him out but not before he shoots one of your wingmen. The next part of the demo showed us a variation of the escort mission as you have to get your wounded man out while also dealing with even more enemies.

The final part of the E3 demo demonstrated the game's driving features as you have to escape your enemies and the local law enforcement. The demo takes place in the winter so naturally your car skids around the ice and snow on the streets. Unfortunately the demo ended rather abruptly as a roadblock ends the driving and . . . well, that's it for now.

Overall Mafia 2, which was first announced back in 2007, is looking pretty solid and fans of the original will likely embrace this long awaited game with open arms. While a final release date isn't set yet it's looking like early 2010 is going to be a safe bet.


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