We ain’t lyin’.  Mafia II is more than just a better looking clone of Grand Theft Auto.  This game has story, this game has depth, this game plays as good as it looks, and this game is ready to make you an offer you can’t refuse.  Ripten was hands on with Mafia II at E3 2010, so if you’re thinking of hearin’ about it anywhere else, fuggedaboutit!!

First off, Mafia II looks damn good compared to the game it will obviously be compared to right off the bat, GTAIV.  The game is powered by 2K Czech’s next-generation Illusion engine that they built specifically for Mafia II. The in-game detail as well as the cinematic cutscenes are filled with top notch textures that really help to immerse you in the 1940′s New York mobster theme.  The game even takes full advantage of Nvidia PhysX, something which until now has been used primarily in shooters.  Don’t believe us? Just take a look at these screenshots and video provided to us from 2k.

Vito Takes Cover Before He Gets Turned Into Gabagool!

I'll Take A Couple A Dem, A Few A Dese, And Somma Dose Ova Dere!

Not too shabby, eh?  But Mafia II isn’t just a looker friends, this game’s got depth and solid gameplay to match.  You play as Vito (Not Corleone) Born the son of a poor immigrant, he’s a beaten down Italian American who is trying to escape the life of poverty that consumed his childhood. It was on the streets of Empire City (Way better name than Liberty City amirite?) that Vito learns that joining the Mafia is the only route to wealth and respect for people of his standing.  Wanting to escape the life of hardship that his father led, he dreams about becoming a “made man.”  Now while this may sound as if it’s all been said and done before (and it has) Mafia II’s familiar premise is backed up by superb voice acting and direction which makes this stereotypical Italian gangster crime drama stand apart from the crowd.

The world of Empire City itself is truly something to behold.  A realistic portrayal of the New York area during the 40′s and 50′s, 2k gets it all right from the architecture, to the cars, right down to the music. If you thought Fallout 3 had some great old timey tunes, you ain’t heard nothing till you’ve driven around in Mafia II.

Remember When New York Looked This Good? Me Neither!

Yo Taxi! Take Me To Tony's!

So the game looks great, sounds great, and has a solid character driven story to boot.  But what about gameplay?  Well that’s solid too.  Ripten went hands on with Mafia II at E3 2010 and can happily report than everything a game like GTA IV does, Mafia II does better.  The gunplay is fun and fluid without being overly easy, the cover system works fantastically well in close quarters, the AI of both pedestrians and coppers alike is top notch, and the animations are all first rate.  There’s nothing new about the controls here, and fans of the genre will feel right at home on any platform, but there is something to be said for the new found realism in Mafia II.  Don’t expect to run by a policeman with a drawn gun and not be stopped simply because you aren’t shooting at anyone.  And don’t think you’ve gotten away from the cops simply because you’ve taken your car to a body shop.  They’ve may have caught a glimpse of what you’re wearing as well.  It’s the little things like this that we noticed about Mafia II that let the Ripten team know we were playing a truly polished game that can’t be released soon enough for fans of open world gangster mayhem.

Mafia II drops August 24, 2010.  But if you still aren’t interested in the slightest, you can always, “leave the gun and take the cannoli.” (I always wanted to say that)

We’ll leave you with the trailer we saw before getting hands on at E3 . . . Enjoy.