During World War II, Vito Scaletta, a young poverty-stricken resident of the city Empire Bay (a Fictional Counterpart of New York City, with elements from San Francisco), is caught committing robbery and he chooses serving in the army during their invasion of Europe instead of going to jail. Vito is however wounded in service, and is sent home to Empire Bay for a month - but upon his arrival, he discovers that the things has taken a turn for the worse. His father has died and has left his family with a massive debt of $2000... money which the local loan shark is getting quite anxious to get back.While Vito has been gone, his friend, the small-time criminal Joe Barbaro, has been busy getting connections within the local Clemente crime family. He is able use them to get Vito some forged discharge documents and foot in the mob's door, offering Vito a chance to pay off the family debt.Mafia II is a 2010 video game, more of a Spiritual Successor to the original Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven than it is an actual sequel. While the two games share the same universe, there is only one direct connection between them.
Aborted Arc: One of those prostitutes that Joe brought along and who clearly showed she had hots for Vito, and was later saved by him when she accidentally bumped into some hothead's car upon leaving? She's never mentioned again and Vito, quite surprisingly, hasn't got in a relationship with any girl by the end of the game.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Semi averted during "Balls and Bean", when Vito must sneak into a slaughterhouse through a sewer. Although the sewer has ample room for him to walk through and allows him to enter undetected, the trip is unpleasant, as Vito is unable to avoid stepping in revolting sewage water and even has unmentionable sludge dumped on him halfway in. It goes without saying that Vito's presence is easily sensed, or rather smelt, after that.
All There in the Manual: The Family Album you get after beating the game provides a lot of the backstory to various secondary characters not explained otherwise.
Anachronism Stew: Playboy magazines appear throughout the game, which starts in 1945 and ends in 1951, when in Real Life Playboy's first issue was realeased in 1953.
The game also has a radio newsflash about polls showing Dwight Eisenhower and his running mate Richard Nixon easily winning the presidency in the 1952 election in September of 1951. Eisenhower didn't announce his candidacy until March of 1952 and even after announcing it faced a tough primary battle before getting the nomination.
Empire Bay has a SWAT Team, as seen in the DLC's "Joe's Adventures" and "Jimmy's Vendetta", both of them set in The Fifties, although the very first SWAT Team wasn't operational until 1968.
The Remington 870 Field Gun, a shotgun manufactured starting in 1950 can be seen used by the Empire Bay Police Department in 1943.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Mostly averted with the gunfights, bullets will happily tear up bosses as easily as they do mooks. In the final fight Don Falcone can take about 3 or 4 times as much punishment as a standard Mook, but that still means he'll go down in less than a dozen shots.
Bag of Spilling: There are several points in the game where you end up losing all your money and guns. This is especially aggravating if you spent time selling stolen cars to grind up your cash reserves, although it does help emphasize the game's point that the criminal life isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Badass Bystander: While robbing a store there's the chance that one or more customers will pull handguns and fight Vito.
Being Evil Sucks: At the end of the game, it's clear that being a mafioso has done Vito more harm than good, such as his going to jail likely causing his mother's death, driving his own sister away due to to his now violent attitude, learning that some of the people he works for are the same ones that screwed his parents over, and virtually all his friends dying left and right.
Butt Monkey: Poor Vito spends the entire game bouncing from one collossal fuck-up to another, without ever really getting a chance to enjoy La Dolce Vita. This is in contrast to Tommy from the first game, who's shown to live it up pretty well up until his fall from favor at the end.
And every other small infraction, which can be distracting when trying to outrun police.
Chekhov's Gun: In Chapter 3, Vito steals ration stamps from the Office of Price Administration and sells them to gas station attendants around the city. Three chapters later, it turns out one of the attendants ratted Vito out. He goes to jail.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Everybody in the Mafia, towards everybody else. The only exception is the bond of loyalty between Vito and Joe that endures throughout the entire game, which makes the ending all the more tragic.
Continuity Nod: Vito and Joe are the gunmen who kill Tommy Angelo from the first Mafia. They even drive a similar red and white Ford Thunderbird-like car.
Retcon / Broad Strokes: In the original Mafia, Tommy is killed in 1957 and not 1951 when Mafia II is set. Vito and Joe are also not wearing the same clothing as the hitmen in Mafia (although Vito can be, if you put on the corresponding suit before accepting the mission) and Joe shoots Tommy with a full-sized shotgun, rather than the sawn-off "lupara" shotgun that the hitman used in Mafia. And the house and background are slightly different, particularly the conical bushes in the yard.
When Leo Galante decides to disappear (a situation almost identical to what happened with Frank in the first game), he off-handedly mentions that he's going to Lost Heaven.
Controllable Helplessness: In the start of the prison sequence, you are marched single file into the prison facility. Policemen stand in front of the two opposite gates where jeering prisoners flock. You are able to use the controller to turn your head around, look at your hands (well, your fingers, mostly), but beside that, you're stuck.
Critical Existence Failure: In the fighting sequences, Vito can take a parade of haymakers, jab combos and uppercuts. But once his health is too low, a single jab will send him crashing to the floor in a heap.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: The characters are about as racist as you can get in a game without causing a controversy. For instance: Vito asks Joe if he drove to the bar (in an African-American community), and Joe replies, "I wouldn't park my car in this neighborhood!"
Not to mention the countless times somebody says 'chink', 'dago' and 'mick'.
Die, Chair! Die!: A lot of Empire Bay's environment is destructible, notably the Hotel interior in Room Service and an entire Diner in The Wild Ones.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: "The old game was a tribute to gangster movies, a romantic vision. Mafia II is grittier, real, a darker world, and the effects are based in reality." - Daniel Vávra, Writer and Director of Mafia explaining the decision to make the sequel Darker and Edgier.
Downer Ending: Vito has fulfilled his end of the "deal" that Leo has tasked him with to kill the Big Bad and save his own life. Its too bad that Joe wasn't apart of the deal. Congratulations! You're now, if you're lucky, at the bottom of the mob food chain once again, still pretty broke and all of your friends are dead!
If we think about it, it also qualifies as a Bolivian Army Ending since the fate of Vito and Joe remains unknown. This is Mafia, after all.
Also, consider the Shoot the Shaggy Dog moment right after Vito is put into jail, for he fought so hard for clearing his family of the debt, but then all the efforts turned into nothing as his mother died shortly.
Drunken Song: Joe and Eddie at one point drunkenly sing along to Dean Martin's "Return to Me" on the radio.
Drowning My Sorrows: Joe does this after Marty's death, and get so drunk that he waves his gun around and scares off the other patrons. Vito must swing by the bar and pick him up, before things get really bad. They do.
Dummied Out: A look on the script files in the PC version reveals that the game was originally going to be much bigger. Remains of scripting still exists for a bunch of missions and side missions, usable melee weapons and car trunks, sections of Empire Bay and children NPCs, all of which were cut from the final version. This has raised some controversy in the gaming community, to the point where it has invoked the Wiki Rule.
Even Evil Has Standards: Averted with most of the families except the Vinci family, who explicitly prohibit drug dealing. Given what happens after Vito and Joe's tryst into drug dealing you can see why.
Fore Shadowing: Henry says that his thirteenth contract is unlucky because he almost got his balls shot off. He dies in Chapter 13.
"...but how's [your] English so good?"
When Vito introduces himself to Derek, Derek mentions that his father "drank like a fish". Derek had Vito's father drowned at the dock.
Game-Breaking Bug: In Chapter 14 (Stairway to Heaven) after dropping Joe off at El Greco's, you will be tasked with delivering the money earned to Bruno. When you arrive at Bruno's, the door that leads into the building will occasionally not allow entry, making further progression into the game impossible. Even more troubling is the fact that if the player is able to enter the door and trigger the cutscene, the game will sometimes enter an endless loading loop from which it will not recover.
Genre Shift: The game mostly involves driving and gunplay, but in a couple of missions - namely "Enemy of the State" and "Balls and Beans" - it shifts to a stealth-based game.
Good Times Montage: One shows up at the end of Chapter 9, appropriately set to "Let The Good Times Roll". And another one is in Chapter 12, as Vito, Joe and Henry get into drug dealing. Watching your character buy nice stuff and kick the shit out of a guy while "Let The Good Times Roll" plays is pretty representative of this game.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fistfight against O'Neil in the prison yard. After you land a few good hits on him, he automatically starts countering every single one of your attacks until your health almost drops to zero, which starts the next cutscene.
How We Got Here: The game starts with Vito looking in his photo-album and reminiscing his life. We finally catch up with him in chapter 15.
Mood Whiplash: The host of Empire Classic Radio gives one of these while reporting the finding of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. A bit jarring given on how he usually remains professional in the rest of the game but here he takes a moment to compose himself and actually apologizes for reporting such disturbing news.note This troper has not played the game is some time so please correct this if needed..
More Dakka: The Model 1928 Thompson and, ultimately, the MG-42.
Nice Hat: Snappy fedoras are, of course, plentiful.
No Flow in CGI: Mafia II averts this, at least partially, with the loose ends of your character's jacket, tie or trenchcoat flapping about when in motion, courtesy of an improved Phys X engine. This feature was a selling point promoted by the developers before release, even though it has absolutely no bearing in gameplay. It's not perfect either; push the limits of the game engine, and said parts of Vito's clothes may end up stuck and mangled within his body.
Prison Rape: A few thugs try to pull this on Vito when he's in the slammer. He beats them all to a pulp.
Product Placement: Playboy magazine shows up (even if it's before 1953). Justified in that it amplifies the period atmosphere.
Previous Player-Character Cameo: It turns out that Tommy and his family was moved to the suburbs of Empire Bay. Oh, and you and Joe are tasked with killing him.
Punk in the Trunk: In the seventh chapter, Joe and Eddie Scarpa take Vito for a night out on the town to celebrate his release from prison. However, there's also the matter of needing to bury Frankie Potts, whos corpse has been in the trunk for "a couple of days" and is starting to smell. Not quite the welcome home Vito wanted.
Real Men Cook: Leo Galante cooks for himself in prison, and has a rather nice kitchen in his mansion.
Real Men Wear Pink: You have the option of wearing a pink suit and fedora, which is not very far-fetched as the color was associated with boys up until the late-1950s. Still, the notion of going on a murderous rampage dressed in what is now considered a girly color will strike some players as being ironic and hilarious.
Wear it to the tense and dramatic initiation scene and watch the atmosphere dissolve!
Regenerating Health: Moving away from the first game's reliance on wall-mounted first aid kits, Mafia II now has the player's health roughly refilled automatically by up to 60% after taking several serious hits and avoid further injuries for several seconds (except during fistfights). The rest is healed by eating or drinking.
Scenery Porn: Empire City is really quite gorgeous, especially in the snow.
Schizophrenic Difficulty: With good cover, you can take on entire armies of wiseguys. Without cover, you die after couple of shots. Regenerating health helps a lot, but you better pray there isn't any mook hiding with Tommy gun. And don't think hiding in the car will save you, like in GTA- here, you are a sitting duck.
Shown Their Work: It's an almost totally accurate period piece; notably, when Vito mentions to Joe in 1945 that he's driven a Jeep, Joe replies, "What the hell's a Jeep?" as the first civilian models didn't appear until later that year.
Depends on where you're looking. Barring the storyline, many aspects of the game appear ahead of their time, like songs ("The Fat Man" by Fats Domino, a 1949 song, shows up in 1945 Empire Bay, and Dean Martin's "Ain't That a Kick in the Head?" only debuted nine years after the end of events in the game in real-life) and cars (especially those circa 1951, like the Shubert Beverly, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air look-alike). Seems more like the creators opted for an Artistic License to make the most out of the time periods the game is set in.
The most egregrious are a 1964 song in 1951, and a 1963 song in 1945, as well as a 1949 Caddilac Expy in 1945 and a 1957 Ford expy in 1951.
The worst part is that most anachronisms had been avoided had they just set the 50's in 1956, as almost all the music would fit and so would the cars...
The retcon above would have been unnecessary aswell.
Villainous Breakdown: Henry have a brief one when he rants about Sidney, who shot him in the leg. He shoots Sidney's dead body (after Vito and Joe kill him) and then threw his gun down at the body.
Villain Protagonist: In contrast to Tommy from the first game, a law-abiding schmuck who pretty much only joined because he needed protection and was gradually seduced by the Family way, Vito makes it clear he sees himself as a man of violence who is willing to hurt people for money and is simply in it to get rich or die trying. However, by the end he learns that Being Evil Sucks.
Wake-Up Call Boss: Derek. So you've gotten the hang of running and gunning. From cover, without it, doesn't matter to you, so long as you meet your enemy face to face. Not this guy. Not only is he surrounded by Elite Mooks, but he never stands still, uses cover almost constantly, and lobs molotov cocktails at you from the high ground. Be ready to have your skills tested.
Wanted Meter: For minor infractions like speeding, the cops only want to ticket you. For more severe crimes like beating people up, they'll bring out the cuffs and try to arrest you. Start killing? The gloves are off, and they'll bring out the guns - first pistols, then shotguns, and then Thompsons.
If you're fighting someone and no one has died, however, a cop will just stop the fight.
At lower wanted levels, it's feasible to simply bribe the police.
What Could Have Been: among the things axed from the final versions were working taxicabs, subway system, moving trains, ability to buy cars and houses, melee weapons like knives and baseball bats, a job system, a reputation system, and a race track. But considering the racing mission from the first game...
When last heard from, she tells Vito that she never wants to hear from him again. That strikes me as enough justification for her not being seen again.
World War II: One third of the storyline is set against the latter half of the conflict. The United States' participation in the war is in full swing, evident in Empire Bay with World War II-themed music on the radio, and off-duty troops and army trucks. Vito's fate is also shaped by the war not once but twice; the first is in 1943 when he is arrested for burglary and enlists to fight for the army in Sicily as an alternative to prison; the second has Vito convicted of impeding the war effort in 1945 for stealing gas ration stamps from the Office of Price Administration, landing himself in the slammer for six years.
Hell, even the first chapter features Vito in battle in urban Sicily against fascist Italian soldiers.
Writer Revolt: Writer and Director Daniel Vávra, apparently dissatisfied with 2k, left the development team mid-production, explaining that "I want to do my stuff according to myself."
You Bastard: Although the game never chastises you for it, it's hard for the player not to feel guilty for being the trigger man in killing Tommy, especially if you played the first game. It ramps up the sad music and everything.