Platforms: X360, PS3
Sequel to a groundbreaking 2002 open-world classic, Mafia II hits the mean streets this week -- and it looks like Italian-American associations aren't the only ones a little underwhelmed with it.
While it's easy to compare the game to other open-world epics like Grand
Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption, Mafia II's story is much
tighter, critics say, giving players few reasons to explore its city or
pursue its sparse set of side tasks. But there's broad agreement that
if you can put up with its linear nature, it's well worth taking a walk
on the wiseguy side.
While praising Mafia II's "competent game mechanics and absorbing narrative," Destructoid's Nick Chester felt fenced in by its "sometimes mind-blowingly boring" missions and awarded it a lackluster 6.5/10 on the PC and Xbox 360, and a 7.5/10 on
Why the higher mark on the Playstation? While it's not
the prettiest of the three, it does have the most content thanks to an
exclusive, free downloadable content pack. It's pretty clear: If you
are fortunate enough to have the choice, opt for the PS3.
"If you have a "made man" itch, feel free to scratch it here," says IGN's Greg Miller,
"but be prepared for a pretty standard third-person shooter in the
gameplay department...Mafia II is a solid little game that'll give you
a fun ride — just don't expect the world." A 7.0/10 is the verdict, and
so far most other outlets are falling in line.
With one notable exception. Game Informer (who published a 9/10 review) sees the on-rails storyline as a plus,saying "those who never finish lengthy games will appreciate Mafia II's direct storytelling." It's a "gripping drama about family, friendship,
loyalty, betrayal, and pragmatism," they say, finishing with a
recommendation that'll make any budding mafiosi look up from his
spaghetti: "if you're fond of quoting Don Corleone and Tony Soprano,
don't miss this game."
Also Available This Week:
2K's NHL series is exclusive to the Wii this year, and promises to use the Wii's MotionPlus peripheral to make the game's controls the most
lifelike ever made. Will it succeed? We'll find out this week -- but we've been impressed with what we've seen of the game so far.
Platforms: Yahoo! Games
Hang on, someone gave Plants vs. Zombies a Game of the Year gong? Who'd do a thing like that? Well, we did, among other outlets. It's still a favorite with consumers, selling particularly well on the iPad and iPhone -- and now this re-release bundles even more content.
Sequel to one of the iPhone's oldest and best-loved action hits, Hero
of Sparta 2 brings you 12 exciting, all-new levels of classic mythology to discover, explore, admire, and kill. Mostly kill, to be perfectly honest.
Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar Harvest Moon Grand Bazaar
A long, long time ago, when Farmville was little more than a twinkle in Zynga's eye, there was Harvest Moon. It's the original farming sim,
it's cripplingly addictive, and the latest in the series comes to the DS this week. Buy it, if you're tired of the outside world.
Platforms: DS, Wii
Forget the week's other releases -- this one's the one that you want, ooh, ooh, ooh. An eight-player party game, it'll let you sing along to
all those classic Grease songs and play a variety of appropriately themed mini-games. It's easily the week's most terrifying release.
The Bachelor Videogame The Bachelor Videogame
Platforms: Wii, DS
Wait, no, it isn't. Meet the video game version of Warner show The Bachelor, which stars a number of possibly familiar real-life bachelors and bachelorettes, and a series of implausble mini-games that might bear some resemblance to the show's shenanigans. Frankly, we'd suggest kicking the Bachelors to the curb and having a quiet night in with a tub of Ben & Jerry's instead.