Okay, I get why they put a Playboy magazine collection game in Mafia II. Although, if they’re such fans of the female form, then can someone explain to me why all the women in the game look like THIS:
The in-game women are really unattractive. Not in a “this is a trashy broad who doesn’t take care of herself” kind of way, but a “this 3D model was made by a guy who was once in a room with another guy who was able to describe what women look like” kind of way. Eugh. It’s the faces, really. They hail from the low point of the uncanny chasm. There also aren’t many of them, so the same two or three faces pop up again and again.
The Playboys are hidden in the game. Making no special effort to find them, I encountered five out of fifty in my run-through. Each magazine immediately pops up a classic centerfold the moment you pick it up, which is really, really odd to me. You’re fighting your way through a burning warehouse, gunning down mobsters while your friend bleeds from a gunshot wound, and then all of a sudden… TITS! It was off-putting. The one thing I was curious about was when the pictures were originally published, but it doesn’t say. It’s just a random cheesecake popup. It’s also slightly out of place. Playboy wasn’t founded until 1953. The game begins during World War II, and ends in 1954. You shouldn’t be finding these things in the mid-40’s, and Playboy didn’t really become a cultural icon until years after the game ends. I understand they were trying to sell the notion that Playboy magazine would have been part of the lifestyle of these gangsters, but… it wasn’t. Not yet.
Playboy aside, the gameworld itself is otherwise amazing. Most of it takes place in 1954. That’s 17 years before I was born, but fragments of that world still remained when I was a kid. The cars. Furniture. Technology. Clothing. The world is lovingly realized, with magnificent attention to detail. Especially the furniture. Very little of the 50’s furniture survived, because most of it was crap. It was garish, uncomfortable, and shoddily made. You can hop around to antique dealers and find Victorian-era furniture far more easily than you can find a surviving set of plastic chairs or a vinyl couch. What didn’t fall apart was thrown away in shame.
I have a thing for mob stories. I don’t know why. Most of them boil down to “watch these macho idiots make everyone miserable until they destroy themselves with their lust and avarice”. Still, if you’re a fan of the genre, this is not a bad specimen. I wouldn’t say it’s Scorcese-level storytelling, but it’s a story that aspires to that ideal.
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