Mafia Wars 2
- Release Date: 2011/10
- Publisher: Zynga
- Developer: Zynga
- Genre: RPG, Action
Mafia Wars 2 is a direct sequel to Mafia Wars, the Facebook game by Zynga behind Adventure World and CastleVille. The game does not offer a pure text-based RPG element but a whole bunch of gameplay like fighting rivals, collecting Cash, visiting friends, building casino and bank, etc.
Compared with Mafia Wars 1, the new version has been polished thoroughly with its primary focus on socialization, animated fighting using weapons. It is also available on Google Plus.
It is quite predictive that Mafia Wars 2 as a sequel will show similarity to its predecessor in minor aspects and meanwhile present novelty of its own in the core play. Only in this way can it be a successful successor to surpass the original.
Needless to say, the crime theme still sets the keynote for the main storyline around building a criminal empire out of a small turf and fighting to protect it from the assault of rival gangsters. Also the graphic style is more or less alike, quest-allocating dialogues feature similar underworld jargons, and inlaid designs such as character customization and interactive socialization are carried out the same way.
Yet Mafia Wars 2 is by no means a meaningless copycat that only coats the old contents with a new form. It draws a clear line from the original in the very beginning: it presents a vivid 3D gaming environment brought to life by dazzling buildings and animated avatars, posing an obvious contrast to the text-based mechanics in Mafia Wars, which is all about reading, clicking and waiting. As you delve deeper, you can see your avatar lively in various activities, such as collecting cash from buildings, firing bullets out of a gun against enemies, and roaming around the sin city, etc. Frankly speaking, the animation and 3D effect rank second-class at best, not polished to the degree as being amazing; yet anyway a little is better than none, right?
In addition to the 3D virtual world, difference in gaming contents presents itself immediately in the first quest, that is, to build a casino in your turf (the territory under control) and then fight to protect it. Unlike the fight-only Mafia Wars, the sequel is enriched with an alternative element, namely, the criminal empire building. Not that the game belittles the gangster battle, for many a quest features fighting for profit and power, reputation and revenge. It’s just that the game gives equal play to both fighting and building, and bind the two parts together by a design of mutualism, that is, to build Armory to generate weapons, which in turn can be used to protect buildings.
Not actually different, the design in character customization is more accurately to be said improved in the sequel, with more choices available in terms of weapon, arms, decoration type. It’s the same of the important role of socialization among players. Friends are essential if you want to fully indulge in the gameplay, for they are helpful not only in small favors such as visiting to help collect or gifting needed items to finish quests, but also in great missions like assisting in fight or organizing one of your properties.
In contrast to the improvement mentioned above, the slow progression resulted from the limited energy and health point is, however, clearly left out as a problem unsolved. Whoever plays Mafia Wars know the irritation of running out energy, health or stamina, the timer-like setup all influencing the rate of questing and level-up. Still die-hard, the consumption of energy and health points drags down the upgrading pace; and to pile on it, the design of Street-card(necessary in purchasing building permits) and Gold-Bars(spent in refilling energy or unlocking workers to upgrade various buildings) only makes it even worse, since they are not easy to gain but quick to go. Of course, if you let money talk, it’s another story.
No matter whether Zynga describes it as its ‘most bad-ass game to date’ or ‘the most immersive game ever’, such advocate counts little, for every potter praises his pot. Personally, Mafia Wars 2 is indeed much more polished than the original, yet it is not particularly shining when compared with other crime-themed competitors such as Crime City or the Godfather series. As its slogan goes ‘being bad never feels so good’, it’s, paradoxically, the worse among the best.
Review of Mafi Wars:
Among the companies that made fortunes via Facebook, Zynga is clearly the most successful company that rises to fame via Farmville, and CityVille. Now the company switches its focus onto a new game Mafia Wars, which has won more than 30 million players worldwide since its release.
It is uncertain how Mafia Wars comes into being, but it has been supposedly involved in the copyright infringement on Mafia Mob Wars. The later did not score a massive smash overnight and the creator of Mafia Mob Wars even resorts to a lawsuit and finally the US court concluded that Zynga should pay more than $ 8 million to the original creator of Mob Wars in 2010.
Never mind! Mafia Wars has evolved far beyond what Mob Wars provides, and $ 8 million will have been recouped quickly.
Come back to Mafia Wars. It is a role-playing browser game prompting you to enter the heat of organized crimes and to climb the gangster ladder. Developed and published by Zynga, the game is available mainly on Facebook, also accessible on MySpace, Sonico (a social network-oriented Latin American platform), Yahoo!, and free as an application for iPhone. The game which is free-to-play, supports the micro-transaction that encourages players to buy ingame items to boost their experience.
In Mafia Wars, you start with creating a character by selecting a class and allocating 5 classic features for it. This initial customization phase is generally optional, posing little influence on the actions undertaken in the following. Your goal is to rise up to power in the underworld, and to that end, you have several options.
The first and foremost is to conduct mission, which comprises the bulk of your gameplay. To complete mission consumes energy and pays you back in exchange for experience and items after you get it done. Do not expect, however, each task can be done by one simple click on “Complete the mission”; rather it is usually compulsory to repeat the operation on the same mission before moving to the next.
The second component is the PvP part: fighting. You are able to attack other players randomly matched up from your list, and join a fighting group to declare war on a hostile mob. Random in rival-matching and scarce in prize, the fighting is not very interesting and rewarding. What’s more interesting is, however, the option of scrambling the real estate from other players to get rich and gain experience.
The last option, e.g. the newly added Real Estate Speculation, is about participating in properties development that generates different bonuses, mainly of silver and objects.
In addition to these major elements, Mafia Wars has a huge catalog of items for collection and varied usage primarily in meeting the prerequisite so as to take quests. Moreover, to meet players’ needs for fresh gaming experience, Zynga regularly provides new content to its title, with its original city of New York gradually joined company by latter added Cuba, Bangkok, Moscow, and soon Las Vegas. And many mission events are also available at festivals such as the New Year, Christmas, St. Patrick’s or at a time when an entire city is open for a limited time.
The gameplay of Mafia Wars can be summed up in a few clicks a day to complete missions. The energy (for the missions) and resistance (required for fighting) are automatically refilled over time or bought for money for a quicker recharge, and the game session is short, simplistic and repetitive. It does not seem fun? It is indeed not. In fact, the pleasure of Mafia Wars only lies in the sensation of permanent growth and success when a series of missions are completed to bring about new titles. Requiring only a few clicks a day, Mafia Wars needs no investment of time or special skill, so it is the ultimate casual game, perfect for play wherever you can connect to the Internet.
As you can see from the screenshots, Mafia Wars is not very attractive graphically. Among the first generation of web games scheduled on a PHP, it is understandably devoid of wonderful graphics. Also, in-game menus are dark in hue and short of the information helpful for newbies. Neither eye-pleasing interface nor animated scenario is included: it is only to offer endless text-loaded missions for you to ascend in the criminal world, and nothing else.
The game mechanics leave much to be desired, and have a long way to go. Since its inception it has undergone many changes mostly in the form of frequent updates, yet without obvious improvement in gameplay but further resulting in inconsistency. For instance, the money, which is lacking at the start of play (and upon arrival in each new city) as in any good MMO, has no value, for we win it quickly and easily without having to spend it in core play; and the inventory is filled with countless unnecessary items while the system of fighting between players is completely flawed and unnecessary.
A final weakness of the title is Zynga’s excessive commercial promotion. The developer is “best” known to send spamming invitations so as to attract as many as players. In both Farmville and Mafia Wars, we had been annoyed and irritated over the spamming invitations every day we login Facebook. It reflects in various ways, for example, some missions require you to invite a friend to your mafia group. Another example is I sometimes found myself stuck on a mission, leaving me no choice but to enter the store to buy an item, or spamming my friends.
Mafia Wars is just such a game as it does not arouse interests when you first play it, but quickly becomes addictive when you have a deep understanding of its gameplay. It’s nowhere near perfection: the too-simple-to-be-attractive graphics, tediously single contents driven by text-and-click-based missions, and the frustrating and aggressive money-making mechanics. Yet despite all these, it remains a popular title on Facebook.
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