Mafia II: Jimmy's Vendetta
Reviewed by Brandy Shaul
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2010-09-26 Xbox 360 Action M (Mature) 2K Games

One of the mostly largely agreed upon complaints with the base game in Mafia II is over the lack of sidequests or missions to take part in, aside from the main storyline proper. Mafia II is a linear experience, but the storyline is such that those who go in expecting to have their hand held won't be disappointed. Those that would prefer more filler material however can now have it, in the form of Jimmy's Vendetta, the latest downloadable content pack released for the game.

Jimmy's Vendetta introduces the new character of Jimmy, a hardened criminal who escapes from prison during a riot. Your main goal is to take out the two men that caused you to go away in the first place - Tam Brodie, the man you worked for, and who framed you for crimes you didn't commit and Sal Gravina, the man who sold you out to the cops and who tried to hire people to kill you in jail. Other than this initial introduction, the story is played out in small snippets in between missions, and is in no way as grand as that of the main storyline.

That being said, this DLC pack offers thirty new missions for you to complete, with these coming in the expected range of a few basic mission types, changed just slightly enough to not become incredibly repetitive and spread through the various burrows of Empire Bay. You'll find yourself stealing cargo from those who've done you wrong, wiping out informants to send a message, stealing cars for cash and so on.

You have a few homes to call your own throughout Empire Bay, and you'll need to use the accompanying garages to store your ever-increasing collection of classic cars. Jimmy's Vendetta is unique in its presentation, in that you'll earn points for basically everything you do, including many tasks while driving, like speeding and drifting, so you'll need to accumulate the fastest, most durable cars you can find (either by luck or by upgrading them at the various body-shops on the map) in order to earn the high scores.

Each mission is timed, and you'll earn a letter grade based on how well you perform (S being the highest). You earn points by killing enemies, with the various ways of killing them equating to different point totals. For example, cause an explosion and you'll earn a certain amount of points, while a melee kill results in an altogether different total.

That being said, most of the missions in Jimmy's Vendetta are incredibly difficult, requiring multiple attempts of trial-and-error to complete. Sure, this is due mostly to the fact that you are being timed, so you're likely playing the game much more haphazardly than you would have otherwise (not using cover as effectively or not taking the time to pick up new weapons), but it is something to keep in mind if you have a problem with dying repeatedly.

Graphically the game is more of the same, which is a good thing as Mafia II was beautiful. However, and I will admit this is a bit of a nit-pick, Jimmy's character model is nothing more than Vito's body with a new head. The character animations are the exact same when in melee fights and even the way Jimmy walks out of a clothing store dressing room is exactly identical (which makes sense, as it's the same person). No, this doesn't lessen the enjoyment you can have with the game, and the casual gamer probably wouldn't even be observant enough to notice, but it is a bit disappointing all the same.

All told, the content in Jimmy's Vendetta is arguably the side-content that should have been included in the main game to begin with, but with a new character and side-story (no matter how loosely structured) the missions are independent enough to stand on their own. If you just aren't ready to leave Empire Bay behind, feel free to spend the $10 on Jimmy's Vendetta, but if you want more of the story that made Mafia II great, it's best to save your time and money.

Special thanks to Jennie Sue and 2K Games for providing a copy of this title.

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