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Mafia Wars 2 Review

Sara Lau
Nov 8,2011  03:11 by
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If Mafia Wars fails to curry your favor, its sequel titled Mafia Wars 2 may still stand a great chance to win you over, for Zynga has developed the follow-up into a brand new game, under the same name though.

“Being bad never felt so good”. With such greeting and stirring words on the loading screen, the game gradually lures us into its 3D gaming world and the money-greedy business too. Character creation is rather simple, far from the elaborate image-shaping phase in The Sims Social or the Zombiees, that only the gender of the new character needs to be elected in the beginning. And the game cleverly leaves the fine-tuning customization to the in-game Shop, where most would pay visit to.

Dislike the default hairstyle and want another hairdo? The shop offers a nice selection of choices, be it fiery tousy curls or businesslike neat style. Feel like dressing in a stunning fashion, say like a clown with carnival jester suit? Diversified clothing and accessories of great variety are ready on shop shelf too. To show up as a unique image can be realized before you say Jack Robinson, yet only if you have enough Gold Bars bought for real money in fact.

It perhaps discloses our main problem with a browser game of this generation: there is always an in-game currency that needs to be filled up with real dollars. And the premium currency is always the one that brings the nicest and usually exclusive stuff in the game. Honestly speaking, who is not willing to play an online game that is both fun and free? But it is unfortunately not in the option, for simply enough, games are made to make money. The only difference is how developers express this open secret: some blunt enough to offer pay-to-win choice while others more considerate avoiding competitive advantage for paid players. Which way has Mafia Wars 2 adopted?

In the interface, the market icon found below on the right side is our most important development aid. There we can see nine categories, all of which further have sub-branches as well. Weapons, armor and clothing are among the standard equipment; and some are subject to upgrade again either by purchasing anew or by receiving as mission rewards. Besides, there are also decorations, energy refill, buildings and expansion as well as reinforcement to increase the winning odds during fights. Quite interesting is that there are also vehicles to buy since level 12, which makes transversal around quicker with greater fun.

Role-playing the prospective leader of a mafia-styled mega-monopoly, you need to start from the very foundation of the territory management. With quite a lot to offer, Mafia Wars 2 seems complex on the whole yet linear in procession, for all around several main activities: to construct buildings, collect money, defend territory and expand country. And you’re in the middle game, just as tough gangsters under pressure to brave challenge.

The entire interface is clear and concise: missions need attending to are listed on the left side in a line, current level together with energy and health bars is adjacent to the profile picture on the right, and various icons including Box (representing product) cash, street card and gold bars are on the right upper corner. Moreover, couples of button are embedded below in the right side to usher you into arena fight, access to inventory, travel to world map, enter the market or manage your workers. All icons are designed self-explanatory per se, and made even more so with the brief explanation attached to each one.

As leader-to-be, everyone must start from small business, like constructing a casino and collecting the first bucket of gold from it in this particular game. It’s then followed by the building of a series of structures including a Grow House, a Weapon Shop and a Bank etc, which would generate boxes of materials and piles of cash. With the gradual expansion, we need to hire workers to act on our behalf in charge of various illegal activities. In this way, money piles on and plot expands.

The missions are varied, even in the starting phase. Not long after the first construction of casino come a group of bad guys setting fire to it. So revenge is called for, which also makes powerful weapons in demand more than ever. And there is no better idea to make your name widely known in the gangster circle than murdering an already famous gangster rival in the city. On and on, you can almost carry out any imaginable evil here; no matter it’s to steal lottery tickets from tourists to dump it then into trash cans, or to destruct the terraced house to intimidate citizens. Moreover, at intervals, an opposing mob boss takes us by surprise with a sudden assault every now and then and thus makes us his prey. Not different in the core from normal battles, these boss battles are expectedly fiercer, usually causing your own death once or twice. Yet bonuses of such fight are worth the effort though.

To ascend rapidly to the most feared boss at high rung of the underworld ladder, money also opens the shortcut for you once again. Mafia Wars 2 requires impatience from free-to-play gamers and investment from paid players. There is the alternative quick way to unlock better equipment and more workers, helpful to level up. Cash earned via finishing one mission after another not only accumulate slowly but is also able to spent on limited items; while gold bullion bought for real money is with much more purchasing power to unlock exclusive stuff as well as those set above the current level.

The game also necessitates socialization to a great extent. Lots of missions are simply dependent on friend’s help, otherwise it’s impossible to finish even the small part of one quest for days. Also, if you have a long list of friends, you can save much money: you can recruit friends as potential employees, which otherwise need to be unlocked at the cost of four gold bars per head. Thus, to invite friends as one’s crew is almost a must. More people, more loot: not just for the quick level-up of gameplay, but also for the sake of money.

Mafia Wars 2 on the whole is slow-paced, unnecessarily prolonged if put in a harsh way. You can proceed in the game continuously if with friends’ help, but still can only take a limited amount of quests every day. And after playing it for certain time, I conceive a vogue impression of it: where it leaves much to be desired, it leaves them to be possibly filled up by money. It’s in the essence a business anyway, right?

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