Mafia II

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Mafia II Game Poster Image
Gripping, violent, GTA-type mob story for mature players.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 50 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game tells the story of a man's violent rise to power within a crime family. It shows that violence and crime are a possible path to money, respect, and success. The ability to shoot at police and kill pedestrians -- while not rewarded -- is also possible in the game. Drinking and driving is allowed in the game. And players earn photographs of naked women as player rewards.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character, Vito, resorts to violence, intimidation, robbery, and murder to work his way up the crime ladder. He drinks and drives in the game. Also, the game could help feed into negative stereotypes about Italian Americans. Females are depicted as prostitutes, strippers, or nude models; any female characters are subservient to the men in the game.

Ease of Play

The game is fairly easy to pick up and play, though there may be a bit of a learning curve for those unfamiliar with this open-world genre. Aiming and shooting, driving, and navigating around this huge world, all work well (on the PlayStation 3 version we tested).

Violence

As you'd expect from a game called Mafia II, there is plenty of violence and gore throughout this entire third-person adventure. Using a variety on guns and knives, players can shoot or stab enemies in a realistic fashion, which often causes blood to splash out (even onto the screen). Some graphic close-up killings are also shown in non-interactive cut-scenes (such as throat-slitting executions). Players can attack and kill civilians and police officers, though they're penalized for doing so.

Sex

There is a good deal of suggestive imagery in this game, including lingerie-wearing prostitutes at a brothel, exotic dancers in a men's club, and a scene that depicts oral sex on a man, with the camera behind the kneeling woman (while other men watch on). Throughout the game, players can collect hidden Playboy magazine pin-ups, which feature real photos of of bare breasts and buttocks; these collectible images can be viewed in a special gallery.

 

Language

Mafia II has very strong language in the game, including "f*ck," "sh*t," and according to the ESRB, the N-word is used as well. 

Consumerism

Aside from Playboy magazine, this game takes place in a fictitious world ("Empire Bay") with fictitious brands like "Swift Cola," "Big Break Tobacco" cigarettes and "Old Empirical" beer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The game has many alcohol and drug references, including the ability to drink alcohol excessively -- to the point the player's perspective gets blurry. You can even attempt to drive your car in this state. There are also cut-scene sequences that show people smoking marijuana and snorting cocaine, and a cut-scene of people buying and selling drugs. The main character works as a drug runner at times, but is never seen doing drugs himself.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mafia II is most definitely not for kids, tweens, or teens. It is full of intense, realistic violence -- most of which is performed by you -- as well as immoral behavior, sex, drinking, drugs, and profanity. Characters you kill will spray blood, shout in agony, and fall to the ground in a realistic fashion. The game is centered on performing illegal tasks to make your way up in a criminal family -- this includes extortion, theft, dealing drugs, robbery, and murder. Plus, the foul language, sexual imagery (and a subservient portrayal of women), and drinking and driving all contributes to the apt "Mature" rating. Parents should also be aware that the game does feature real, photographic nudity -- the centerfolds are not just computer animation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 year old Written bymikeisawesome123 January 7, 2011

So not for kids!!

Very violent and inappropriate game!! Players can shoot innocent civilians, rob stores, shoot cops, steal cars, pay prostitutes to comit sexual acts with you, l... Continue reading
Adult Written bygow0304 June 22, 2011

Mafia 2

Pretty decent game, but it is over the top violent, lots of sex, alcohol, tobacco, drugs and cursing. I am not generally affected my foul language, but the... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 4, 2011

very good game

lots of language (this game is in the record books for the f-bombs). f**k is used 200 times. all the following are used more than 5 times... p**y c**k s**t and... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 27, 2012

Role model is both bad and positive

Sure this game does portray several illegal acts, however it shows the darker side of crime. Instead of encouraging these acts of violence, it rather makes them... Continue reading

What's it about?

Step into the dark and dangerous world of organized crime in the 1940s and 1950s with MAFIA II, the sequel to the award-winning and best-selling game that delivered intense shootouts and white-knuckle car chases. This follow-up “sandbox”-style adventure is even more ambitious, as you’re immersed in a living, breathing city, populated by memorable characters. Even the storyline has a more epic feel. You play as Vito, a poor Italian-American who joins the mob with his childhood friend, Joe, to find wealth and respect as a “made man.” This third-person, single-player shooter starts with you taking on low-level jobs, such as intimidation and petty theft, but as you work your way up in the family you can expect many more challenging tasks -- and tough decisions that can alter the storyline. As with Mafia, you can take on missions in the order you choose.

Is it any good?

Mafia II can be a very good game, but strictly for mature gamers who recognize this as interactive fiction. Older gamers who are looking for a gripping Grand Theft Auto-style mob story won’t be disappointed with this ambitious, gratifying, and stylized shooter. Mafia II is a big game: The fictitious Empire Bay (based on New York City and San Francisco) boasts 10 square miles of virtual landscape to explore, all rendered in high-definition. Mid-20th century architecture, cars, fashion, music, and advertising are all authentically reproduced. Equally as impressive is the lack of load times and nearly two hours of in-game cinematics (with characters that, while sometimes over the top, are well-acted). You can also go out on your own and walk or drive around this bustling city. Downloadable add-on missions extend the gameplay further. Despite its controversial subject, Mafia II is a thoughtfully-designed and well-"executed" adventure. Note: All three versions of the game are the same, except for downloadable mission packs.

Online interaction: There is no multiplayer component but gamers can download new episodes online, such as "The Betrayal of Jimmy," free add-on content for PS3 gamers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether gamers want sequels. Is this sequel merely trying to keep the Grand Theft Auto-style genre alive -- and counting on the controversy to help sales -- or is this meant to be harmless fun for mature gamers who want to vicariously step into the shoes of the mob. This game is sort of an interactive version of The Sopranos or The Godfather -- does the interactiveness make it more violent than the movies or TV shows.

  • The game is incredibly violent and bloody, but after experiencing the over-the-top violence of games like Grand Theft Auto, are we becoming desensitized to it?

  • Families can also discuss the portrayal of women in the game. Females are depicted as prostitutes, strippers, or nude models; any female characters are subservient to the men in the game. How does this affect your playing experience? 

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $49.99–$59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: 2K Games
  • Release date: August 24, 2010
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol

For kids who love fast-paced games

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