Mafia II – impressions

The problem for me with open world / sandbox games such as Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row is that the messing around, freedom etc becomes more entertaining than the actual story.  Then of course the messing around gets boring and the missions go on and on and on, until I’m bored.  I’ve still never completed GTA IV, and so the prospect of this game didn’t exactly make me rush to buy it when it first came out.  Yet one thing that always did appeal was the period set real world gangster approach, ala The Godfather and Goodfellas, and for style and atmosphere, this game has it in spades.

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Bioshock 2 – impressions


I was bound to get this eventually.  I loved Bioshock #1 for its unique atmosphere, glorious graphics (using Unreal Engine 3 in a way Gears Of War 1 & 2 could only dream of), and it’s imagination.  This follow-up, despite not being from series creator Ken Levine this time around, has you not in the shoes of an ordinary joe who becomes a super powered being due to injecting plasmids, but instead a prototype Big Daddy, brought back to life ten years after events in BS#1.  Andrew Ryan is dead, and now you are being taunted by Sophia Lamb, an equally crazed menace who controls the new and deadly Big Sisters, adult Little Sisters now turned into more agile versions of Big Daddy’s.  Your job this time around is to find the remaining Little Sisters and protect them, whilst helping them gather Adam to boost your plasmid abilities.

If you haven’t played Bioshock, then much of what I have said will sound rather impenetrable, but trust me it’s actually really easy to understand and throughout the game there are recordings of Rapture inhabitants who basically fill out the back story for you as you play.  The joy in this game is the exploration of a stunningly realised underwater world, scavenging lockers, crates and corpses for items, and upgrading your weapons and powers as you progress.  This time around Bioshock 2 suffers from some low-resolution textures compared to the first game, evidence of production being a little rushed, but otherwise this is equally as polished and well designed as the original – which is quite an achievement.