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Latest update by CMBF
on Dec 23rd 2012
The story in Mafia II actually sort of begins in the first game that established the series, the game that this one is the direct sequel to. I say sort of because really the connection between the two is very tenuous and, if you did not play the first game, you will have no idea that you are seeing the actual conclusion of its story in this one, but there you have it. Because of that we have to start with the first game, which takes place within the decade of the 1930's and tells the story of Tommy Angelo, an Italian-American taxi driver living in the city of Lost Heaven (which is actually a sort of melding of the cities of New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia).
Tommy ends up being the victim of both economic and social circumstances and events, and that combined with the worse elements of Prohibition eventually drives him to join an organized crime family, and work his way up through the ranks. The main story plays out and Tommy learns that there really is no loyalty among thieves, especially when you are not the cold-blooded killer that they think you are and you make mistakes, like not killing people you were told to kill. Tommy's weak moments catch up to him and he finds himself unable to do anything other than walk away and testify against the gangsters, which results in the entire gang being dismantled by the police and courts, and the Don ending up in prison, where he dies.
After the trial and serving a brief sentence for his own crimes, Tommy is relocated to the small community of Greenfield, one of the many small towns that make up the municipality of Empire Bay, which is supposed to be on the east coast, and is itself made up of a sort of melding of the same cities.
At the end of the game we zoom forward to 1951 and Empire Bay, where a now old and gray Tommy is watering the lawn of his nice suburban home. As he is doing that a car pulls up and two men get out - they are Joe Barbaro and Vito Scaletta, a pair of muscle from the mob family that basically runs organized crime in Empire Bay. Approaching Tommy they say his real name instead of the one he has been living under for the past nearly fifteen years, and then Barbaro executes him with a sawn-off shotgun - did you know those are illegal? The last words that he hears before he is killed so that “Mr. Salieri sends his regards,” which does not make a lot of sense considering that the old Don is dead, but does suggest that maybe one of his sons is now in the family business?
Now we arrive at Mafia II
Young Vita Scaletta is an immigrant American, having been born in Italy and moved to America at a young age, when his father decided that a new country was just the ticket to solve their money woes. His family consists of his mother, father, older sister, and himself, but the move to America does not lead to the easy times that they were hoping for. Vito's father ends up in a dead-end job on the docks, and Vito gets involved in semi-organized crime activities with his best friend, Joe Barbaro, after Vito's father gets killed at work and he needs to step up and be the family bread-winner.
Things are going great until Vito and Joe are interrupted during their burglary of a jewelry store, with Vito being caught by the cops while Joe gets away. Rather than tossing Vito in prison for a long stretch he is given the option of enlisting in the Army, which happens to be in the midst of fighting the Italian campaign, and so needs Italian-Americans who speak the language of the old country.
The actual game begins here, with your introduction to the character of Vito in the Army, in Italy, fighting against the enemy, and then eventually going home, where he hooks up with Joe and begins dealing with a situation that has his mother and sister at the mercy of a local gangster. There is nothing for it but for Vito to join the crime family that Joe has already established himself with while Vito was away killing the enemy, and the game begins in earnest at this point, with the player taking up the reigns of the story in this mission-based third-person shooter and action-adventure game and its immersive and entertaining story.
The stories both come full circle when you, as Vito, arrive at Tommy's house with Joe to execute him and deliver the final message - which is the ultimate link between both games. Well that and the fact that they are both about the mob and both feature the fusion of traditional third-person shooter play as well as car driving fun.