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Mafia II: Jimmy's Vendetta
Score: 60%
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: 2K Czech
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/Adventure/Free-Roaming

Now that all those pesky rival families are taken care of, you want something more from Mafia II right? (Don't worry, that wasn't a spoiler.) Well, if you thought the ONE thing that could make Mafia II better was online multiplayer, you might be right. We don't know. 2K Czech, the developers, didn't add that in either. What we get instead is a score attack mode using online leaderboards to brag amongst your retro criminal buddies. Jimmy's Vendetta is exactly the sort of thing I was worried about for Mafia II. Which is: if you remove all the story elements and just focus on the established game mechanics, Mafia II isn't that much fun.

What Went Wrong:
Mafia II: Jimmy's Vendetta is the follow-up to the PlayStation 3 exclusive DLC Jimmy's Betrayal. If the titles weren't dead giveaways, you play as Jimmy. Jimmy is a cleaner for one of the mob bosses in town to whom Jimmy has been loyal for a long time. During a particularly shady job, Jimmy is set up and... betrayed. So now, in Jimmy's Vendetta, Jimmy gets his revenge and settles the... vendetta that he has against his former boss.

That whole description sounds so much cooler than what is actually offered here. All of the actual story moments are stripped out save for two or three cut-scenes in the beginning, middle and end, and substituted with still images at the start of each mission that give a quick rundown of how what Jimmy is about to do ties into his story. It feels lazy. This had potential to be a much more interesting story than even Mafia II's main character, Vito. Instead what we get is a long series of uninspired missions that really, already feel repetitive after the first mission. Because you have (presumably) already done the exact same thing in the single player story.

What to Expect:
So as I said in my review of Mafia II, 90% of the time you are either driving or shooting. Well Jimmy's Vendetta is 100% driving and shooting. With a time limit. And high scores? The entire package feels very confusing as a pitch. Take the most tedious parts of Mafia II, add an underdeveloped backstory, throw in an arbitrary time limit, post the scores to a leaderboard and call it a day. This really is the worst example of after-thought development that the single player story proves it is better than. I honestly expected more.

For the sake of describing the score system to those that are still interested, you are basically graded on two criteria: time and style. For every person you kill in quick succession, you add a multiplier to the total score. Driving fast or drifting around corners also increases the overall score and to "claim" your high score once the mission is over, you have fight the time limit to reach a checkpoint that seems as though it was placed at a random location away from the mission. That is literally all there is to do outside of the main mission objectives.

It's Not Over Yet:
Mafia II does, in fact, have promise in the prospect of extending the story through DLC. Jimmy's Vendetta simply didn't do it. At all. The ending for Mafia II was so abrupt and confusing that it really needs to be explained through a bite-sized DLC chunk. With the announcement of Joe's Adventures fresh in my mind, it makes me wish that they had done it from the start instead of giving us this sloppy, tedious mess.

In the end, Mafia II: Jimmy's Vendetta is a hasty attempt to add multiplayer elements to the beautiful world of Empire Bay without actually adding true multiplayer. Unless you really have some sort of investment in Jimmy, you don't need to waste your ten dollars on a glorified Arcade Mode.

-HanChi, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Hanchey

Related Links:

Microsoft Xbox 360 Mafia II: Jimmy's Vendetta Sony PlayStation 3 Planet MiniGolf: Stronghold Island

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