A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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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?
- 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
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.