I’ll be honest: I wasn’t really expecting to see any boobs at PAX East. It’s just, you know, not the first thing that comes to mind when you think “videogame conference.” But thanks to 2K’s Mafia 2, I was woefully mistaken, and the booth’s staff made it a point to make sure that everyone in attendance wasn’t mistaken either.
There is a game involved here, too. I sat down for about twenty minutes with the Mafia 2 demo in Boston, and I found that, while the times may change, boobs are eternal.
The Mafia 2 demo takes players on a couple of related missions of the game, beginning with a section in which the player character climbs into the back of a truck and hands out some cigarettes. It’s actually sort of goofy; you’re asked to retrieve some blue smokes, and some red ones. Mess up and you’ll receive some unkind feedback from those in attendance. It’s not exactly the most fun I’ve ever had with a demo, and I’m damn glad I wasn’t colorblind.
The real meat of the demo came later. After a gang jacks your and your buddies’ smokes, you’ll drive out to a large alleyway section with tommy gun in hand to get some sweet revenge. There are plenty of enemies who, for the most part, flee from the player and his allies, though they do occasionally shoot back. But if shooting dudes in the back is your thing, you’ll get your fill here.
The overall feel of the game is extremely similar to, unsurprisingly, the original Mafia, though with the expected updates. The gunplay felt somewhat loose: weapons aren’t particularly accurate (at least those to which I had access in the demo), so you’ll want to get at close as possible to your enemies before holding down that trigger.
It’s easier to do this without dying thanks to the game’s cover system. Popping in and out of cover feels good just like it should, though it doesn’t do anything to change the cover system game. It’s definitely a good idea to use cover often, as your character won’t last very long under direct fire. In fact, your character is fairly fragile compared to other similar games; at one point, I managed to tip my car over by driving a little too close to a low wall, and the result was a quick death. You’ll also take damage when you run your vehicle into other cars or objects.
The booth’s staff made a point of directing me toward a dilapidated shack which contained one of the highly advertised vintage Playboy spreads. There are 50 of these to collect in the game, and, yeah, there are boobs. That’s essentially all there is to say, but it sure beats pigeons.
Really, Mafia 2 feels like a solid gangster-themed sandbox game, and it’s one that will likely fail or succeed based on its story. Based on the demo, it’s hard to say if the team will pull this off, but they have the foundation in place for some solid storytelling. We’ll know for sure in August.