The Mafia games are probably one of the most entertaining single-player games out there in my opinion. They tend to keep me on my toes, not knowing what is going to happen next. I remember in the first game, the cars and the driving experience was the most memorable. It has a totally unique driving simulation set apart from any other game such as the Grand Theft Auto series. Perhaps it's because of the huge mass + weak horse power from the cars makes this happen; but 2K GAMES has the physics right.
Mafia II took me by surprise. You start off in Italy, fighting Mussolini's army which I did not expect at all, I thought I was going to jump right into the Italian-Mafia scene in the streets of Empire Island. It starts off slow, doing petty little thefts across town, but then it really starts to pick up when you start stealing from banks and mowing down cops in the effort to make an escape.
The look and feel of this game is perfect. The graphics are nicely done and the game-play is smooth as butter. Some scenes and buildings are reused from the 1st Mafia, but I don't mind that at all...a bit of nostalgia if you ask me.
Some of the improvements I enjoyed compared to the previous Mafia, is they finally have a waypoint-mapping system, where you won't get lost in the city, and you can finally toggle taking cover behind obstacles which really come in handy in those sticky situations.
Overall I recommend this game to anybody that what's a realistic-feel of what it is to be apart of the Mafia during the late 40s-50s.
Here's some game-play action of what it means to be a WW2 veteran and a mafia member.