Archive | Games and Platforms RSS feed for this section

FIFA 11 Demo for PC Available Today: Download It Now

15 Sep

fifa 11 demo FIFA 11 Demo for PC Available Today: Download It Now

EA Sports today launched the demo version of FIFA 11 to soccer fans around the globe.

The full playable demo is available in a version for the PC. You can download the zipped file by clicking the button below. Or, you can download it directly from the FIFA 11 website.

click here image FIFA 11 Demo for PC Available Today: Download It  Now

A FIFA 11 demo was also released for Playstation 3 today, which is available through the Playstation Store. If you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, you can get it today from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Silver members can get it on September 23.

The FIFA 11 demo features an exhibition match with three-minute halves in Real Madrid’s home stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, and you will be able to upload created in-game videos to


Black Ops Killstreak Bonuses Revealed

4 Sep

Yesterday was the Black Ops Media reveal for all their Multiplayer goodness, It was hosted in L.A and a bunch of global press were flown over to check out the latest incarnation of Call of Duty multiplayer. We got inside intelligence of the killstreak bonuses which were available in the preview build. We go their names for you, you’ll have to imagine what they do for yourself.

  • 3 Kills – Spy Plane
  • 3 – RC-XD (RC bomb)
  • 4 – Counter Spy Plane
  • 4 – SAM Turret
  • 5 – Care Package
  • 5 – Napalm Strike
  • 6 – Sentry Gun
  • 6 – Mortar Team
  • 7 – Attack Helicopter
  • 7 – Valkyrie Rockets
  • 8 – Blackbird
  • 8 – ‘Rolling Thunder’
  • 9 – Chopper Gunner
  • 11 – Attack Dogs
  • 11 – Gunship


4 Sep

elling series on the Xbox 360, and it’s also well up there on the PlayStation 3, thanks to last year’s Modern Warfare 2. The series has attracted a lot of fan attention due to the firing of the heads of MW2 developer Infinity Ward and their subsequent signing on with EA Partners as Respawn Entertainment. In the meantime, Activision’s Treyarch, who was responsible for 2008′s Call of Duty: World at War, has been puttering away at a new entry. Treyarch showed off Call of Duty: Black Ops at E3 2010 to small audiences in a private room.The demonstration starts on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean. With a few basic action commands, the player starts up the jet and pilots it to the skies over Russia. We get a detailed view of what’s going on below, where a few U.S. soldiers are hiding behind a rock. Gameplay becomes a real-time strategy, with the pilot pointing out places and telling the team to go down. It’s clear that this sequence forces the team to a specific location on a hill not too far away, where gameplay switches viewpoints to one of the soldiers you were just commanding down below, and the series’ more typical gameplay begins.

The gameplay immediately shifts to something more familiar. The guns are more in line with the modern entries of Modern Warfare 2 but are appropriate to the time, so there won’t be any high-tech prototypes. As the team goes toward a road by climbing the hill, the team reaches a railing and hooks onto it to rappel down. This is handled as yet another minigame of glorified action commands, ending when the player reaches the right spot to jump and kick through a window. They can start shooting before then, potentially taking out the enemies within before even entering the room.

The remainder of the map includes surprises such as an avalanche, and a few points when the player has an active choice of stealth or opening fire. As the team completes their mission, the Treyarch reps pointed out that this mission takes place during the Vietnam War, but in Russia. The heroes are a Special Forces team, taking on one of the titular “Black Ops” — missions that can’t be traced to America if they fail or are noticed. They clarified that the game is not all about the Vietnam War as initially indicated, but where the timing goes from there is still a mystery.

Without providing too much detail about the location, the scene changes to a few remaining soldiers, who are apparently escaping after being captured and are on their way to board an enemy helicopter. The Treyarch rep indicated that this did not involve a control change and uses the typical control scheme so that the player can focus on the action. The player opens fire on various village encampments and locations, and the scene quickly collapses into an orgy of destruction. With no apparent ammunition limits, the only challenge is the occasional soldier with an RPG and a few enemy helicopters.

Call of Duty: Black Ops shows that Treyarch has been learning, but it’s difficult to tell if they’ve topped Infinity Ward’s magnum opus with this effort. The Treyarch reps also noted that the timed exclusivity for maps on the Xbox 360 will persist until at least 2012.

Super Mario Galaxy 2

4 Sep

Super Mario Galaxy 2 … puzzles so good they will make you chuckle in appreciation

Consoles usually take a while to get into their stride, but the Wii, as befits its disruptive nature, seemed to have reversed that trend. The compelling games with which it was furnished when new dried up in recent months to a trickle of dross, and one suspects many Wiis began to gather dust in the back of toy-cupboards. The arrival, then, of Super Mario Galaxy 2 could not be more timely.

The problem isn’t likely to resolve itself until medical technology allows us to clone several copies of Nintendo‘s in-house development genius, Shigeru Miyamoto. At least Miyamoto-san saves his best efforts for games featuring Mario, as Super Mario Galaxy 2 amply demonstrates.

Structurally, it is near-indistinguishable from its predecessor, with several worlds to navigate, each split into seven or so galaxies (the last of which presents you with a boss to be defeated before you’re awarded a Grand Star). This time around, you can opt to play as Luigi as you enter each galaxy. As in the first Super Mario Galaxy, you have to reach stars to open new galaxies, by executing deft platform moves and solving all manner of puzzles, often involving delicious mischief with the laws of gravity. Those puzzles are invariably so good that they will make you chuckle and nod in appreciation of their sheer cleverness.

The key to reaching what often appear to be unreachable stars is Mario’s array of power-ups and special abilities, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has two new ones. The first is a drill attachment, which Mario carries above his head; shake the Wiimote, and he will burrow straight through the centre of whatever planet he is on. This clever mechanic can be used for puzzle-solving by, for instance, burrowing to the top of pillars too high for Mario’s jumping abilities, or for boss-battles, in which you have to time and position your burrowing to hit creatures’ vulnerable parts.

But the undoubted star of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is Mario’s old mate, Yoshi. He appears in many galaxies, bringing a range of abilities when Mario jumps on his back. With his lizard-like tongue (the direction of which you can control with the Wiimote), he can gobble up and spit out enemies, and swing from designated points. Feed him Blimp Fruit and he will float for a while. And when he swallows a chilli pepper, he gains the ability to run like Forrest Gump (complete with boggle-eyed expression and siren sound effect), enabling him to temporarily escape the normal restrictions of gravity (although he becomes tricky to steer).

All of Mario’s existing power-ups appear, too, including Bee Mario and Fire Mario (one clever ice world can be reshaped by Mario’s fireballs and by rolling snowballs into melted areas). There are underwater worlds and a flying sequence in which Mario is suspended from a Fluzzard, and at one point, he can power-up into a rolling boulder. His ground-pound move also features heavily.

As the above suggests, the surreal nature that characterises Mario’s games is to the fore. Mated with the game’s irresistible sweetness, the outcome is a game-world which is truly universal in its appeal – the youngest children and grizzliest hardcore gamers alike will be held equally rapt by its charms. A long-overdue reminder of what the Wii



4 Sep






4 Sep




Captin Price!: (Call of Duty..)

2 Sep
This is for the record…
— Captain Price leaving the vocal record of their truth.

Captain John [1] Price, callsign Bravo Six, is a British character featured in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, a member of the British SAS. He often carried a modified M4A1 and wore a boonie hat during field operations. In Modern Warfare 2 (set five years after the first game), Price was incarcerated in a Russian gulag. He is later rescued and becomes a field commander of Task Force 141. He is voiced by Billy Murray, who is known for playing gangster Johnny Allen in Eastenders.

Due to similarities with a previous Call of Duty character of the same name, appearance and other apparent overlaps, some fans have conjectured a possible relationship between the two Prices, the most common being that they are father and son.

SAS Lieutenant

Fifteen years prior to the events of Modern Warfare, Price held the rank of Lieutenant (often pronounced “Leftenant” in the British armed forces) in the 22nd SAS Regiment, and was under the command of Captain MacMillan on a covert operation to assassinate Imran Zakhaev near Chernobyl, Ukraine. While Price was believed to have killed Zakhaev with an M82, Zakhaev survived with a severed arm. The duo were then swarmed by Zakhaev’s forces, and in the ensuring firefight, MacMillan was crippled by a falling Mi-28 helicopter. Price then carried MacMillan to the extraction point, where they were rescued after holding their ground against many enemies

SAS Captain

In the events of Modern Warfare, Price held the rank of Captain and led a SAS squad, designated “Bravo Team”, from the Bering Strait to Russia, to Azerbaijan and finally back to Russia. Under his command throughout the events were Gaz and then-Sgt. “Soap” MacTavish, in addition to others such as Mac, Arem, Barton, Wallcroft and Griffen.

After meeting MacTavish, Bravo Team assaults a cargo ship containing a nuclear device, and are attacked by MiG-29 fighters. They escape to the helicopter and Price saves Soap from falling to his death. Their next mission takes them to Russia, where they work with Sgt. Kamarov‘s loyalists to rescue their informant Nikolai. They extract Nikolai on a chopper, only to get shot down. They fight their way to the extraction point with the help of an AC-130H Spectre.

After getting valuable intel from Nikolai, Price leads the team to capture Khaled Al-Asad in Azerbaijan, fighting through numerous Ultranationalist forces. The team captures Al-Asad, where Price tortures him for info. Price then learns that Zakhaev is still alive, and executes Al-Asad. After telling the rest of the team about his former mission to assassinate Zakhaev, the team is extracted by U.S. Marines led by SSgt. Griggs. After escaping the Ultranationalists, Price leads a joint task force (SAS, Marines, Loyalists) in capturing Victor Zakhaev. The mission fails when Victor Zakhaev commits suicide, prompting an enraged Imran Zakhaev to launch missiles at the United States. The SAS and Marines then fight through the facility, deactivating the nukes.

Captain Price slides his pistol to Soap in the mission Game Over The screenshot itself, however, is from the reveal trailer of Modern Warfare 2.

Eventually, at the conclusion of Modern Warfare, Price is severely wounded by Zakhaev’s men during the exfiltration following a raid on a Russian nuclear missile silo. Shortly before losing consciousness, Price managed to slide his M1911 to MacTavish, who kills Zakhaev and his bodyguards when they are distracted by the arrival of a Loyalist helicopter gunship. Afterwards, a Russian medic can be seen trying, seemingly in vain, to revive Price.

Task Force 141

Between the events of Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Price has been apparently incarcerated in a gulag in Russia, only to be rescued by Task Force 141. Initially, Price ends up pointing a gun at Roach, but after recognizing MacTavish, he relents and joins the unit and MacTavish returns the M1911 pistol used to kill Zakhaev in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (when Soap returns the pistol, he says “This belongs to you, sir.”, a reference to the first Modern Warfare).

After his rescue from the gulag, Price reprises his role as a Captain, and is present in Task Force 141‘s mission briefings. He joins the Task Force as a specialist in the mission Contingency seemingly to destroy a submarine, only to launch a missile towards the United States with the purpose of using an EMP on Washington D.C. The missile launch saves the lives of Sergeant Foley, Corporal Dunn, and James Ramirez. Price later investigates an arms deal in Afghanistan with MacTavish, only to be attacked by Shepherd‘s men. Price attempts to warn Ghost and Roach about Shepherd, only to figure out that they were killed by Shepherd. Intent on revenge Price asks Makarov for intel on Shepherd‘s location, on the premise that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Makarov gives up information that Shepherd uses Site Hotel Bravo, and telling Price that he’ll “see [him] in hell” to which Price replies “Looking forward to it. Give my regards to Zakhaev if you get there first.” Price and MacTavish evacuate the aircraft graveyard with the help of Nikolai and head to Site Hotel Bravo. They fight their way through the facility, and pursue Shepherd on a Zodiac.

Price eventually shoots down Shepherd’s Pave Low, but the Zodiac he and MacTavish are on falls down a waterfall. MacTavish is separated from Price and attempts to kill Shepherd, only for Shepherd to counter that attack and stab MacTavish with his own knife. Just as Shepherd is about to kill MacTavish, Price tackles Shepherd, engaging him in a lengthy hand-to-hand fight. Price is close to being overpowered by Shepherd, but is saved when MacTavish pulls the knife out of his chest and throws it at Shepherd’s eye, killing the treacherous general. Price wakes up and starts to patch up Soap’s injuries as much as he can. The two are then evacuated by Nikolai, who informs them of a potential hiding place. During the course of the betrayal, Price and MacTavish are labeled as wanted war criminals.


  • His serial number at the end of “Endgame” is 9051210.
  • Like the tandems Soap-Price (in Call of Duty 4) and Roach-Soap (in Modern Warfare 2), Price and Captain MacMillan were close partners, one always having a higher rank than the other. In the beginning of One Shot, One Kill, MacMillian says to Price – “Remember what I’ve taught you.”
  • When you look at him, his name is “Captain Price” – the only name featured to have an unabbreviated rank. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Soap seems to inherit this distinction, as he is similarly titled without abbreviation, as “Captain MacTavish”. Price retains his unabbreviated rank in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 except in the level Endgame. General Shepherd is also given an unabbreviated rank at some points.
  • In the fake review of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare by Putin (made by Infinity Ward), we can see Cpt. Price in the Middle East among the Marines in his “usual” outfit (with the boonie hat) camouflaged with desert MARPAT (digital pattern of the USMC).
  • When Kamarov, Soap, Price and Gaz are sniping on the bridge in Blackout, if you snipe a group of terrorists fast enough, Price will say something like “Nice shooting. MacMillan would’ve been proud,” or, “MacMillan would be impressed.” In the way that Price talks to Soap, it implies that he somehow either knew/knows MacMillan or just simply heard about him. Price could also just be reminiscing of his past missions with MacMillan.
  • Price’s time in the gulag seems to have physically aged him, as when you find him in The Gulag, his mustache and beard is made up of mostly gray hairs.
  • In Endgame, just before you get on the Zodiac, if you look at Price’s name, his rank is abbreviated. The abbreviated rank can also be seen just before Soap and Price fall off the waterfall.
  • In Game Over, Captain Price is lying on his side with his feet towards Zakhaev looking at you, however after Zakhaev is shot and you turn back to him, he’s facing the opposite direction, his feet facing inwards to the bridge crash lying on his back, he wouldn’t have been able to do that without standing up and then going back down again.
  • Captain Price is never seen without some form of headwear, even in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 despite his boonie hat’s strap being behind his head it remains on after falling down a waterfall and a vicious fight with General Shepherd. Or even while he was a prisoner in the gulag, he was wearing a beanie (or toque.) However, his hair, or partial lack of it, is visible in Crew Expendable.
  • Price seems to be an excellent fighter considering his age. We know his assassination attempt on Zahkaev was 20 years ago and he must have been in his 20s then making him at least 40, and unlikely to reappear if we have another time skip in MW3. SAS recruits are usually in their early 20s, since he was a lieutenant during the flashback missions in COD4 that would suggest he had been with the SAS for a while, though he could have ranked up fast given his talent, and was probably in his mid to late 20s. 20 years later he would most likely be in his mid to late 40s.

In the early developments of the game, Price was schedule to be the player’s (as John “Soap” MacTavish, not Roach) partner in Cliffhanger.

  • In the artbook for Modern Warfare 2, it says Price was originally going to be the leader in Cliffhanger and you would play as Soap, not Roach.
  • Before Endgame, in Price’s profile, it says he was a former SAS captain and former TF141 specialist. This is because he is a wanted man along with Soap, who may also not have a rank during the time
  • Even in the SAS pictures of Price he has the beard from The Gulag even though he had only a moustache before.
  • His Callsign, Bravo Six, is a direct reference to the 1986 war movie Platoon, Where Cpt. Harris’ Callsign is the exact same as Price’s.
  • Price shares many similarities with famous real world SAS operative, John ‘Mac’ Macleese, who was involved in the Iranian Embassy siege by the SAS in May 1980. They share the same first name, signature handle-bar moustache, and similar amount of combat experience and years of service in the SAS. Price may have been based on Mac.
  • Price may have been scripted to die in Game Over, however Infinity Ward decided to keep him alive and have a role in the sequel. If the noclip cheat is turned on while the Loyalist is trying to revive Price, one can see that the Loyalist just stops trying to revive him after a few seconds.

Mafia II Updated Hands-On – PhysX, APEX, and 3D

2 Sep

2K Games’ Mafia II will be the sequel to the cult classic Mafia, a third-person action game that was sadly mislabeled as nothing more than a 1920′s-era Grand Theft Auto. The truth was that the original PC version of Mafia, released in 2002, was a state-of-the-art action game with great voice acting, an intriguing story, and an authentic atmosphere that made you feel like were a big-city mobster back in the Roaring Twenties. Just when you thought you were out, 2K Games is looking to pull you back in with a sequel that takes place in the 1940s and 1950s. It will also support some of the most high-end 3D effects available on the PC, and we recently had a chance to take an exclusive look.

For Mafia II, 2K Games has partnered with computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia to be the first PC game to integrate APEX, a new graphical framework that incorporates the company’s PhysX physics modeling engine to create realistic-looking object movement and interactions in-game. (To clarify, both the PC and console versions of the game will be supported by PhysX, but only the PC version will have APEX.) Specifically, the PC version of Mafia II will take advantage of two different aspects of APEX technology. The first, the “clothing module,” will realistically model flowing clothes on what are designated as “primary characters.” In the case of Mafia II, this means Vito (the protagonist) and any other characters that happen to be up close to him will benefit from this module. The APEX clothing module realistically makes trench coats flap in the wind and sway while characters walk or run.

The second APEX module, the “destruction module,” models realistic damage and deformation on exploding objects, as well as the concussive force of a powerful explosion with an “invisible force field” that realistically sends any sufficiently light objects (or characters) flying. We watched a demonstration of this in action with an exploding car, which smashed nearby crates to bits and sent their splinters–and a nearby mobster–hurtling through the air.

It also offers Mafia II an enhanced particle system that creates discrete and unique, procedurally generated debris when you or other characters destroy any of the game’s deformable objects. The demonstration we watched was from the Wild Ones level we’ve covered previously–specifically, the part where Vito and his gangster buddies use tommy guns and Molotov cocktails to tear a rickety wooden diner to shreds. The scraps of wood and shards of glass realistically went flying with each explosion, and we’re told that no two play-throughs should produce the exact same scraps and shards.

After watching specific demonstrations of APEX in action, we then sat down to play an updated version of the Wild Ones. Like before, it culminated in a terse, team-based gun battle against a gang of heavily armed greasers but with some backup from Vito’s computer-controlled buddies. The actual train yard level in which the shootout took place looked a bit cleaner and new gameplay features had been added since our last play-through. Vito can now use the jump key to mantle over low obstacles (and can hop into empty boxcars) and also dynamically take cover by running into the vicinity of the nearest cover area and hitting the cover key. This will make him take a running slide along the ground and smoothly transition to cover.

While this challenging shootout looked pretty good, it looked even better with 3D Vision goggles–a hardware accessory that Nvidia has supported with recent, big-name games like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Resident Evil 5. With the goggles on and the 3D depth-of-field effects activated, the on-foot shootout was subtly enhanced by emphasizing the differences in distance between Vito’s current position and the wrecked sidecar in front of him that his buddy Joe was using for cover. The effect also enhances the appearance of whatever weapons you’re holding–using a weapon with a scope feels much more like you’re looking down the barrel of the gun. The mission ended with Vito and Joe stealing a couple of pricey hot rods to sell off. 3D Vision is a lot more apparent when driving because you can adjust the effect to “push” your car “further into” the screen, which subtly makes the environments around you jut outward from the screen as you pass each landmark.

Mafia II looks sharper and plays better than the last time we got our hands on the game, and the PC version of the game will look especially sharp if you happen to own some Nvidia 3D goggles. The game is scheduled to ship later this year.

Mafia II Preview

2 Sep


Fans of the 2002 PC game Mafia agree that the game never got its due. It was an open-world mob drama with third-person action, driving, an outstanding soundtrack, and a memorable story (and a not-as-fondly-memorable frustrating car race that was later corrected with a patch). But 2K Czech and 2K Games are gearing up for Mafia II, a sequel to the unappreciated crime drama with a new look, enhanced engine, better driving, deadlier shootouts, and a brand-new story. We had a chance to see the game up close and personal, and we have much to report.

First of all, Mafia II is being developed from the ground up as a cross-platform sequel simultaneously on all three platforms (PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3). You may remember the not-that-great Xbox and PlayStation 2 ports of the original Mafia–that won’t be the story with the sequel, which is being worked on by a sizable team of some 120 developers at 2K Czech. The developers have been upgrading the game’s basic technology, the Illusion Engine, for some three years. The game will take place in an open world some 10 square miles in size (twice as big as the world in the first Mafia) and will stream the world’s geometry in real time. Consequently, you should see no loading screens while playing, even when entering any of the game’s more than 100 interactive indoor areas, such as diners, auto garages, and swanky high-rises, all of which will be packed with destructible environments.

Although the original game took place in 1920s America (better known as the Roaring Twenties), the sequel will take place within a 10-year time span between the 1940s and 1950s. This new time period will set the table for faster-paced action on all fronts, now that better guns will be available, and far better cars. The autos of the ’20s were utility vehicles that struggled at speeds of 30 miles per hour or better, whereas the 1950s ushered in the era of high-performance muscle cars that were built for speed and racing. In addition, the game will have a more lenient, more realistic way of handling incursions with the law. Instead of chasing you to the ends of the earth on a minor traffic violation, the police in Mafia II will be “fat cops” who may tire of chasing you after a few blocks if all you’ve done is commit a traffic infraction, but they will definitely call for help if you’ve been gunning down civilians willy-nilly. You probably also won’t want to be pulled over for a traffic ticket if you have some wise guy’s body in your car’s trunk. Then again, the story of Mafia II is one man’s 10-year odyssey, from humble beginnings under the thumb of his hardworking but unsuccessful father to entering a criminal syndicate and eventually becoming a made man, so later on in the game, the police will be on the take and will actually help you on your way.

The demonstration version that we saw took place partway through the game during a mafia mission. Vito, the game’s main character, has come up through the ranks with his childhood buddy Joe, a violent hothead who will play the mouthy Joe Pesci to the DeNiro-like straight man Vito. As a newly made man, Vito’s mission is to drive downtown with Joe and the teenage driver Marty to a fabulously decadent mob party in the penthouse of a downtown high-rise, disguise themselves as a cleaning crew, infiltrate the party, plant a bomb in the boardroom to assassinate a rival gang boss, and get out alive. This entire briefing takes place in real time, narrated by Joe as you make your drive, after which you arrive in the building’s parking lot and tell young Marty to stay put.

We watched as Vito and Marty hit the elevator to meet their inside man, change into their disguises, and then head up to the posh penthouse. The joint was a highly detailed, fully stocked piano bar with a handful of mobsters in expensive suits cracking wise as we walked through the party to head to the boardroom, which lay behind the bar’s wall of frosted glass. After we were waved into the boardroom on the pretense of cleaning a stain off of the carpet, the game switched to a brief cinematic sequence during which Joe armed the bomb underneath the table and then waved us out the window to a window washer’s platform, where the two were to make their escape.

Unfortunately, the bomb went off early, nearly killing the boys and giving the rival mob boss, who through blind luck happened to be taking a bathroom break, a chance to escape. At this point, the cinematic sequence ended, and Vito and Joe had to leap over the ruins of the luxurious mahogany conference table and chase down the mob boss through a crowd of angry, gun-toting gangsters and take him down. This was also about the point where Mafia II stopped being a standard, walk-around-and-bump-into-people open-world game and became a heavy-duty third-person shooter.

The idea behind Mafia II’s gunplay is to make it much more of a shooter and much less of a tacked-on, auto-aiming minigame. The gunplay that we saw was fast-paced and deadly. Even though you’ll be carrying weapons that are conventional to the ’40s and ’50s, such as various handguns, rifles, and Tommy guns, from what we saw, your fights won’t be the kind of arcade-style, drawn-out firefights that you may have seen in other games–you know, where you take a few hits and then casually make a run for the nearest health pack. Yes, the game will have a full-on cover system that will let you attach yourself to nearby walls and other objects, and even blind-fire around cover. Yes, enemies will also smartly use cover themselves, taking shelter behind walls and even kicking over tables to hide behind. But a few well-placed shots will do you in completely, and a well-placed bullet in the head will also take out your enemies, who will be hard-nosed mobsters but still human.

The chase through the penthouse was short but thrilling, thanks to a command performance from Mafia II’s most impressive supporting cast member: the environments. Bottles and shot glasses shattered loudly when bullets began flying, small furniture got chewed up by gunfire, and after a stray bullet grazed a pipeline, the building’s sprinkler systems poured torrents of water into the hallways, obstructing our view in some places. We watched as Vito and Joe ground their way through armed gangsters that stood between the two men and the elevator. At some points, the two played a deadly game of cat and mouse as both men alternately dropped behind cover and sprayed off a few shots to entrenched enemies. At another point, Joe bum-rushed a thug who wasn’t fast enough to react (or smart enough to stand away from the building’s windows); the poor sap was brutally beaten, picked up by the lapels of his pinstripe suit, and hurled clean through the glass to plummet to his death below. Apparently, Mafia II will also have a new melee combat system, but the details on this are being kept under wraps for the time being.

Once Vito and Joe finally made it to the ground floor, they leapt into their getaway car to pursue the fleeing mob boss in a high-speed chase. Some of Mafia II’s car chases will be two-man jobs that will require you, as Vito, to put the pedal to the metal while Joe pops his head and his gun out of the passenger window and opens fire. The gunplay will occur only if you can bring your car in close enough, so in this particular chase, Vito had to bring the car in nice and tight after the fleeing mob boss before Joe could open fire. As it turns out, the component parts of Mafia II’s cars will be fully modeled (they won’t be just a gigantic brick on wheels), so if you happen to land a lucky shot on a car’s engine block, it’ll go up in a spectacular explosion.

From all appearances, Mafia II looks like it should offer everything that the original game did but more of it, and all of it better. The huge, interactive world, improved driving, improved gunplay, and deeper plot should pull in anyone who enjoys virtually stealing cars, or filling bad guys full of lead, or well-developed stories along the lines of excellent gangster movies such as Goodfellas. The game is scheduled to launch this year simultaneously on the PC, the Xbox 360, and the PS3.