This last week or so I’ve been playing Mafia II, and, up until tonight, I’d been enjoying it a lot, it’s basically like a playable version of The Godfather. In fact, given that I’d read some pretty negative reviews, I was quite surprised how good it is. But I’ve now encountered a glitch which has impacted my enjoyment quite a bit. The game’s story is split up into chapters and the one I’m on, Chapter 14, is, by all accounts, the longest and hardest (that’s what she said!) in the game. Indeed, I’m playing on Hard and had a bit of trouble with one section near the start of the chapter where you have to fight and kill a difficult enemy (I’m trying to avoid spoilers), which really highlights one of the game’s flaws, poor checkpoint distribution. Basically, where the checkpoint is means you have to fight your way past quite a large number of enemies before you get to the guy who’s hard to kill, which is a bit of a sin of video game design, it should be: checkpoint, fight grunts, checkpoint, fight boss. The guy throws Molotov cocktails at you which stop you from hiding in cover, and there’s other enemies in the area who will quickly kill you if you’re out of cover. It was very frustrating to replay the first section half a dozen times just to get to the really hard part and die almost instantly. In case anybody gets to this page looking for help with this bit, the trick, I discovered, was to immediately run underneath the platform the Molotov throwing guy was on, quickly killing the two enemies who are under there, and then waiting for the other enemies on the platform to come down the staircase, once they’re gone run up the stairs and kill the guy. This bit had frustrated me quite a bit, but once I was past it the rest of the chapter wasn’t too bad, though I did die a few more times later on.
The last part of the chapter has you taking some money to a loan shark, so I drove there, got out, and walked down the alleyway towards the door, exactly as I’d done in an earlier chapter when I’d originally taken out the loan. But when I turned the corner at the end of the alley and saw the door I immediately knew something was wrong: doors you need to go through in Mafia II have an obvious glow to them, but the loan shark’s door did not. I approached it and got no on-screen prompt to press X to knock, but I tried anyway. Nothing happened. Frustrated, I looked around a bit to make sure I was looking at the right door, and I convinced myself I was. To the internet! It turns out other people had had the same problem, the general consensus is that the glitch is caused by robbing stores earlier in the chapter (where you have to collect money in order to pay the aforementioned loan shark), and that the only solution is to replay the chapter and, when doing so, instead of robbing stores you have to steal cars. To say this annoyed me is an understatement, especially as I’d already got a bit frustrated by the poor checkpoints earlier and the chapter had taken me a couple of hours to do. The really annoying thing is that people were having this problem when the game first came out, late last August, and since then the game has been patched and had a couple of DLC packs released, it should have been fixed! After my anger had subsided I resigned myself to replaying the chapter tomorrow, I told myself it wouldn’t be so bad now I knew the trick to beating the hard part easily. Before I stopped playing for the night I decided to try to get an achievement which involves driving above 30 mph for 5 minutes. I’d probably almost done it when I misjudged a turn and slid off towards a wall. But, before I hit it, the game froze! In the space of playing Chapter 14 I think my opinion of the game has been irreversibly changed.
Update: Seeing as how this post has got quite a few hits from people searching for the glitch I mentioned, I’d like to confirm that replaying the chapter and making sure you don’t rob any stores does fix it. When you get to the point where you need more money for the loan shark, steal a car and drive it up to the car crushing guy in the northern part of the map (you went there during one of the first few missions). Crush the car to get some money, then steal the car which spawns right next to the crusher and crush that. You then need to run off and find another car, when you come back the car next to the crusher should have respawned, so you’ll have another two cars to crush. Just keep doing this until you have enough money. I found running off down the road that comes in from the North was the best route, as a couple of decent cars spawn up there, and I don’t think any police cars ever come down that street, so you can steal them very easily. Hopefully, once you’ve done all this, everything should work properly later in the level. It definitely worked for me.