Generally favorable reviews - based on 61 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 61
  2. Negative: 2 out of 61
  1. Mafia II is a fulfilling mob tale, and you will want to play it to the end. Just don't say I didn't warn you about the finale.
  2. In an era when video games are moving away from relying on cinematics for storytelling, Mafia II draws on the rich mobster film history to weave a gripping drama about family, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, and pragmatism. If you're fond of quoting Don Corleone and Tony Soprano, don't miss this game.
  3. Mafia II is exactly the sequel Mafia fans have been waiting all these years for.
  4. If you're looking to blow up city blocks with a rocket launcher, Mafia II may not be your cup of cappuccino. However, if, like me, you're hoping HBO's upcoming Boardwalk Empire fills the gaping Soprano-less void in your life, Mafia II's ready to fit you for a nice pair of cement shoes.
  5. If you ever wondered how life would be when working within the Mafia, Mafia II is probably your best shot. Stunning story, great sound, cool videos and much variety in the missions show off what a shooter can be.
  6. Even though it couldn't quite hold up to our expectations, Mafia 2 is a great game which is driven by the narrative. This is a big plus in a gaming world where deep, believable characters are the exception, not the rule. If you want a truly cinematic experience, go out and buy the game - you won't be disappointed.
  7. This is one of the best launches of the year. It is ambitious in its presentation, the script immerses us in the life of a gangster from the very beginning, and the missions are hardly repetitive: there is always an unexpected twist or a new situation which tests our abilities.
  8. Great storytelling, great characters and a lot of drama. If you're looking for a classic Free Roaming you can leave Mafia II on the shelf, but if you are in need of an interactive blockbuster, this game will catch you.
  9. Rich, atmospheric, memorable and measured. [Oct 2010, p.87]
  10. In conclusion, Mafia II transcends the original game and what was a rather 2D experience in the original has now been turned into a fully interactive, almost 3D experience.
  11. Mafia II's exciting action and uncompromising mob story make for an impressive and violent adventure.
  12. Some people might lament the nature of an open-world game with so little to do outside of the storyline - they're missing the point. Outside of a lame ending, Mafia 2 is a driven, focused mobster game, well worth the price of entry. If you're a fan of shooting, driving and mobster stories, go and grab Mafia 2.
  13. Mafia II is an epic adventure with a story that rivals some of the best mobster movies. Players are brought in to Vito Scaletta's rise in the family ranks through an engaging narrative, intense action sequences, and a well-crafted vintage city setting.
  14. Mafia 2 looks like your everyday Open-World game. But don´t be fooled. At it´s core it is as linear as a laser-beam. And it´s telling a gripping, epic gangster-story you just have to play for yourself. If you enjoy such a thrilling ride, you will love the game. But if you hope for a 50`s GTA, you will be disappointed. And that would be a shame!
  15. Mafia 2 is a great experience, thanks to a believable cast of characters and a wonderful setting. Sadly, the lack of longevity and some technical flaws somehow spoil the global experience, especially if compared with other recent free roaming experiences.
  16. The wait was worth it. Mafia II delivers a nice campaign of single-player missions with a mesmerizing story and a great bunch of characters.
  17. 83
    Mafia II is a game with a great story and atmosphere. The voice-acting is brilliant and the cut-scenes are really nice. But the game doesn't feature a free-roaming option after completion of the story and that's a bit sad. Besides of that it is graphically nice, but with pop-up and bad anti-alising. Mafia II is a great game, but it has some issues.
  18. 82
    The gameplay is fun and mixes it up at the right moments, giving it great pacing, and as a whole all of the parts come together for a solid experience. It may not be perfect, and there may be some technical aspects that aren't up to par, but Mafia II is a game worthy of your time and attention.
  19. Due to some weaknesses in terms of story (extremely disappointing ending) and gameplay (savepoints), Mafia II turned out to be a good game, but not the masterpiece we've hoped for. Most of these problems can be quite easily forgiven though, thanks to its overwhelming atmosphere and charm.
  20. There are no side missions, no conveniently placed ramps, and only a small handful of collectibles that work in harmony with the fiction. 2K Czech has invested serious time and effort into conjouring a peerless sense of time and place – we won't begrudge it for not encouraging players to shatter the illusion.
  21. While its story and action are fantastic, Mafia II is an open-world game with an "open world" that never becomes anything more than an elaborate backdrop for the story. It's a lot of fun while it lasts, but don't expect to be playing this months from now.
  22. It's still a very good game--well worth playing right now--but we suspect Mafia II will only fulfill its potential with all the DLC that'll inevitably populate Empire Bay. [Nov 2010, p.78]
  23. You're missing the point if you barrel through this trying to complete the chapters like a workman ticking off his list of tasks. For better or worse, Mafia II sometimes feels like more of a guided experience than a game but then you'll be totally engrossed some of the most epic firefights ever seen, and the sound design is amazing. [Oct 2010 p.68]
  24. Mafia II is a very fun game to play with a fantastic story, presentation, and graphics. There are a few issues that hold the game back from being a real contender such as the lack of gameplay variety and the linear story.
  25. Mafia II refuses to follow the crowd of open-world games by putting authenticity at the head of its agenda instead of sheer scale and off-the-hook action. The fact that it tells you what to do rather than asking what you'd like to do is somewhat counter-intuitively what makes the game feel so original and immersive.
  26. If you love story driven games, then I recommend Mafia II, just don't expect to get the same amount of replay value as similar games already out on the market.
  27. The game does deserve some respect because, admittedly, despite its shortcomings players are likely to be compelled enough to finish it. The fun that the game does deliver when it decides to is nail-bitingly entertaining and, as stated above, the storyline is fantastic.
  28. The game isn't particularly long, and the lack of substantial side-missions hurts this game's replay ability overall. Still, the story mode experience is good enough that the time you do spend with Mafia II is well-spent.
  29. Your enjoyment of Mafia II will come down to what you're expecting from the title, DLC notwithstanding. If you were expecting a modern sandbox experience set in an older time, then this isn't the game for you.
  30. 80
    A deeply flawed game, where the story is the highlight - and far more engaging than most. I certainly enjoyed my 11-12 hours with Mafia II, and those looking for an authentic-feeling mob tale should definitely check it out. This one is more than the sum of its parts.
  31. 80
    Mafia 2 is a fun game, with a stellar environment.
  32. 80
    Mafia II lets you experience the story of mafia member Vito. Although Mafia II is not perfect, the game was worth waiting for and offers a cinematic touch. Now we wait for extra content, because a real criminal simply can't stop working!
  33. Mafia II is certainly an enigma among mob drama games, eliciting both an intense satisfaction with story and place while accruing simultaneous disappointment at the limitation of its focus.
  34. The streamlined gameplay of Mafia II makes for a story that's simple to follow and easy to get sucked into for 12 hours. I just wish I could say the same about the environment. The open world is full of life and detail, but there's no encouragement to stray from the game's 15 chapters.
  35. If you enjoy a good mafia story with some fun characters that will last you 10-14 hours then pick up the game. However, with no multiplayer, and few incentives to replay, the story is all that drives this game from beginning to end.
  36. The PS3 version of the Mafia II, however, features more content, due to the fact that all new copies ship with a unique code that will allow you to download a game add-on called "The Betrayal of Jimmy." It's this add-on content that makes purchasing Mafia II on the PS3 (if given options) a no-brainer.
  37. Flaws and linear nature taken into account, Mafia II is a beautiful, gripping, engaging game-and where it doesn't allow you to go is more than made up for by where it does.
  38. It falls a bit short in terms of features and replay when compared to other similar-style games, but it makes up for some of that with atmosphere and story.
  39. 75
    When the strength of the game lies solely on the shoulders of an inconsistent narrative in a limited yet gorgeous environment, I can't help but feel robbed of an experience that should be greater than the sum of its parts.
  40. It's just that the story and atmosphere reign supreme and the entire production doesn't quite have the chops to support added immersion.
  41. Mafia 2 feels like a game that could have been great. Clunky controls are hardly game-breaking, and some might argue part and parcel with the open-world genre, but without the features associated with open-world games Mafia 2 is more easily compared to Uncharted and Gears of War - and in that circle it's simply not action-packed enough.
  42. There are moments when it feels like it's on the cusp of greatness, threatening to make you an offer you can't refuse, but the inevitable letdown is never far behind. [Sept 2010, p.104]
  43. Mafia II's strong points are the story and believable gameworld, as well as an authentic atmosphere. Unfortunately the game doesn't take enough risk and as a result makes less impact than the original. Players don't get enough freedom to come up with their own creative solutions during missions. It also doesn't help that there is a lot of filler during the missions.
  44. The sequel is far worse than the original game. We don't know if it was lack of development time, budget or ideas, but Mafia II is not what 2K promised to fans.
  45. 70
    Mafia II is an interesting mobster tale with some great voice acting and cool cutscenes; if you have a "made man" itch, feel free to scratch it here, but be prepared for a pretty standard third-person shooter in the gameplay department. The "take cover, kill everyone, do it again" mechanic didn't wow me, but it didn't let me down either.
  46. Mafia 2 is a step backward for this franchise, failing to innovate or learn from the mistakes of the original. A nice setting and potentially interesting story is wasted by a lack of creativity and polish.
  47. All things considered, Mafia 2 is a good game. The problem is, it only takes a little over ten hours to complete the story, and once you're done that... that's it.
  48. Gamers who loved the original Mafia despite all its flaws will no doubt embrace the story and flair that this title has, however others expecting another sandbox free-roam title will be dreadfully disappointed, because that, it is certainly not.
  49. 70
    For such an intricate setup, Mafia II doesn't quite deliver on the promise of making you feel like a gangster until the last few chapters. You spend a lot of the game watching things develop slowly from behind the glass, as Vito makes a name for himself in action sequences separated by a little too much downtime.
  50. 70
    Mafia 2 is, to put it mildly, a tightly controlled experience, to an extent that may be a little shocking to those of us who've become acclimated to the freedom of most open world games.
  51. After 2010 has given us open worlds as complex as Red Dead Redemption, Mafia 2's empty city and two-dimensional campaign is hard to tolerate. No matter how much the game may pride itself on supplying a mature tale of crime, it can't overshadow a relentlessly bland gameplay experience.
  52. It's in Mafia II's second act that it takes a real dive, and familiarity plunges into cliché. When the writers run out of literary coal, there's little to keep you on the rails, and nowhere to take a time-out. It descends into a festival of stereotypes and expletives, laying waste to the hints of narrative depth proffered earlier and offending beyond justification as it ticks the down-and-dirty genre boxes.
  53. 60
    The gameplay moments in Mafia II are forgettable with action that has been seen and done hundreds of times over.
  54. After enjoying the original game I had high hopes for Mafia 2, but despite putting the bad things about the original right they seem to have taken everything that was good about it and trashed it.
  55. Mafia II is the opposite of Portal, taking no risks, putting forth no new ideas, and settling for the status quo. Mafia II didn't have to reinvent a genre, but it could have avoided littering itself with such dreadful mission design that is sometimes void of refinement and full of average mechanics.
  56. I'm a sucker for a good mob story, but Mafia II's is merely decent.
  57. Everything about Mafia II is average. From the tepid driving controls and the standard cover mechanism to the staid narrative which could still have been enjoyable, had they put a little more thought into it. This game is not terrible but it is some way from being good.
  58. Mafia II is enjoyable and polished, but we could expect way more from 2K Czech.
  59. Mafia II gets the last word by destroying the myth that the mafia is interesting at all. It contends that the mob world is a hell of boredom populated by aggressively stupid automatons. These drones wake up each morning, carry out a series of repetitious tasks, and return home.
  60. Here's how to sum up Mafia II : 12 hours of repetitive, linear missions, with but a few gameplay mechanics. Shoot, drive, punch, a tiny little bit of stealth, that's it. There's nothing more to be done than to follow the unfolding of the plot, which is clearly sub-par, especially when considering how easy it is to watch a rerun of The Godfather or a season of the Sopranos instead. Replay value is nil, there's no multiplayer. You can't even roam freely in the city after the ending (what for anyway, one may ask). Combat is way to easy, cars don't provide much thrill. In the end, Mafia II is a very pretty box, but an empty one. 80% of what has been developed doesn't serve any real purpose. The rest isn't enough to make a great game. If you're a die hard fan of the 50's atmosphere (nicely rendered), and the Mafia genre, you might still enjoy it. Otherwise...
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 242 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 69
  2. Negative: 11 out of 69
  1. Aug 24, 2010
    Having already marathon played this game, I can say that it is not a GTA game, but still great. These negative reviewers repeatedly complain about this game's linear nature and lack of sub-missions, but (because I began playing the game knowing it was a linear action title) I was very pleased with it. In Grand Theft Auto games, you are given many activities to do - but none of them are very refined. In Mafia II, the opposite is true. Shooting is very satisfying, the cars are fantastic simulations, and the game - particularly the cutscenes - looks amazing. This game is much shorter than GTA at around 12 hours, but the action is much more focused. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2010
    I'm not sure what all the people with negative reviews were expecting. I'm going to try to list my take on the game.

    The story is linear
    and there are no side quests. But the first Mafia was like this. It's a game and it's trying to tell a story, and it's a pretty good one. Unfortunately there is currently no free ride mode as in the first Mafia. This essentially means that hunting down the centerfolds and wanted posters and exploring the city must happen in mission. Which is totally fine. The only thing that sucks is that the current save mode, with saves only occuring at mission check points. It would be nice to have a save point you could go to, to save your progress (guns and clothes).

    The centerfold collectibles are far more interesting than item crates (JC2), and shooting pigeons (GTA IV). For some people they may want to actually find all 50. And how much "Extra" crap do you really need to do? Just Cause 2 is full of extra crap, so much that the actual storyline missions are only ok.

    The graphics are beautiful. And in the cut scenes the vehicles and clothing of your character are in the exact state they were before the cut scene (new outfits, bullet holes in car, etc.)

    The radio station rocks. The action can be intense. And for anyone who's mission isn't to race through the chapters as quickly as possible if you start a few gun battles with police you can get automatic weapons right away! I really enjoy this game. And my only qualm is the current save system as I'd like to be able to save my status after getting new guns and messing with the police. A longer story might be nice as well, but hopefully there'll be some decent DLC's to fill in the gaps.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 24, 2010
    This game is terrible. The graphics suck, the cars suck, and the 'open world' is just a huge tease. It's a short game that you should rent, but not spend 60 dollars for. The cutscenes are pretty good, but the people in the cutscenes look like corpses. Full Review »