Mafia II



Gripping, violent, GTA-type mob story for mature players.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

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

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).


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.


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.



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. 


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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:August 24, 2010
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs and Alcohol

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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, look at pictures of old Playboy magazines involving fulled nude women using drugs. Players also kill black gang members and get into fist fights with people. Players use various weapons to kill people.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old November 16, 2011

Review for Mafia I not Mafia II

Look, Rockstar Games has come out with another M rated, violent video game. But trust me when I say this one isn't that bad. If you get your kid to skip all the cutscenes (where they swear) it will be ok. Besides - Why do we think and we are convinced that hearing bad language will let kids or adults go around swearing all the time? Maybe hearing bad language shows an example of people showing their expression, fear or feelings. And now we shall talk about violence: In this game, you will have guns, the ability to run over people, a ability to shoot, punch and all that. Wow, people complain about THIS? People, I don't know if you've noticed, but you can turn OFF the violence! There is a setting in which it says: Blood and turn that all the way down. There is no blood then. Ugh, lets talk about language: Okay, you know, tones of kids hear swearing on TV, and real life? So what if someone says a bad word? Your kid will forget about it in less than 2 days. Skipping a cutscene would be the best choice. I didn't really pay attention to the story, but it is as fun as heck to drive all these old-fashioned cars! To sum it all up, this game should not be compared to GTA at all, as every game is different. Kids at the age of 10 have experienced more bad stuff than 50% in this game. You can steal cars, but why not have some fun once in a while? So 10+ is my choice.
Parent of a 9 and 12 year old Written bythe teacher August 24, 2010

12= only

i like how mi dont have to worry about my kids playing this game anymore there is no actual nudity and the sex isnt bad
What other families should know
Educational value


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