Mafia City was developed by Yotta Game and will be published by YOTTAGAME

Posted by karoniee on June 12th, 2018

Acting: Rare is the video game whose characters can communicate clearly by facial expression. Those in Mafia City do, through a combination of superb film editing and extraordinarily detailed facial animations. Mob movies depend on subtle and unspoken moments and the ability of this game's rendered characters to meet the emotion of their human actors' lines is a true breakthrough. Vito, the protagonist, gets an award-winning effort from Rick Pasqualone. MAFIA typically get you to care about the main character through the actions you share; I cared about Vito the old-fashioned way, through the acting. Sonny Marinelli's portrayal of Henry Tomasino, who veers from authority to outcast, nearly steals the show and makes you wish the game featured much more of him. Robert Costanza's Joe Barbaro rounds out the trifecta as a versatile character, swinging from violence to comedy relief. The story may get threadbare in spots, but the acting and dialogue are among the best you will ever find in this young art form.

A Sandbox With No Toys: Mafia game offers very few incentives to explore the open world its spent so much time creating. There are no side missions, like its predecessor. Unlike its predecessor, there's no dedicated Free Ride mode. If you want to explore or raise hell, you must do it before you trigger a mission at the beginning of a chapter, or after the job's over. The narrative does its best to discourage this, as nearly everything begins in the morning with an urgent phone call ordering you to a meeting spot immediately, and ends very late at night. You will make more than enough cash on missions themselves, and pick up plenty of useful weapons and ammo from the guys you kill, to make the game's barebones side tasks - robbing stores and stealing cars - utterly pointless. The saddest wastes are features like Empire Bay's replicas of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Yankee Stadium and the Brooklyn Bridge, whose pedestrian walkway is traversable. Such detailed renderings would seem to beg for a sequence set in or atop one, and yet all of the iconic settings in this world are ignored by the story.
Empire Bay 911: The cops in this game are as trivially useless as its toilets. Their AI is just plain bad and easily fooled. I was robbing a gas station and a squad car plowed into the pumps, killing everyone except me. Their tendency to ram is easily exploited and they rarely recover from a wreck in time to continue the chase. When your car is wanted, cops pass by too quickly on the road to fill up the light blue suspect-o-meter, or whatever it's called, that triggers a pursuit. I don't think anyone ever noticed me picking a lock to steal a car. Speeding tickets are easily outrun in most vehicles, especially if you've paid the nominal fee to upgrade the engine. Running red lights, a no-no in Mafia I, gets you only a scolding from Joe if he's riding shotgun.

Mafia City H5

Action, Packed Loosely: There is a colossal amount of interstitial time spent either on boring tasks or watching cutscenes. There is a ton of mundane, non-chase driving as a lot of the mission points are scattered throughout the map, whose navigation never seems to guide you to the freeway. The worst example of Mafia City's imbalanced design came in a chapter in which you're tasked to warn someone of an impending hit. I timed it: 7:40 combined cutscene time, 8:49 combined driving time (three minutes of that was rushing to the scene, but there was no pursuit), and just 44 seconds of action trying to help the guy escape. The amount of interactive time spent on setup is simply too high for a game this short - especially when the guts of your rise in the mob, as a skullcracking soldier and a dope dealing renegade, are literally condensed to cutscene montages. You sell cigarettes off the back of a truck in this game; couldn't one more hit, one more drug distribution job gone wrong, be included in a mission set that's largely templatized in the first place?

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