In Mafia II, there was little, if any, divergence from the main story. Some hailed it as a successful cinematic approach to interactive storytelling, others called it shoddy, barren game design. Despite your predisposition to the original Mafia II campaign, Jimmy’s Vendetta promises to deliver an “arcade-style” approach to gameplay in Empire Bay.
There’s a great deal of content in Jimmy’s Vendetta (thirty missions worth), but without a true narrative this time around, it’s more lifeless and much less inspired than Mafia II. Quite frankly, most of this content that should have been available in the original game as optional side missions. Instead, ole’ Jimmy has been shoehorned into Vito’s place and given free roam around Empire Bay. Here, he’s free to discuss his missions with out-of-place rotating icons.
If by “arcade-style” action, they meant scoring points for doing the same mundane tasks from the original campaign, then they’re spot on. Jimmy has some sort of vendetta against a few guys who wronged him, so he’s charged with the task of completing missions around Empire Bay that include stealing cars for money, tailing guys driving cars, and shooting more mafia-type dudes. The faster and more efficiently the tasks are completed, the more points Jimmy can rack up.
Though the implementation of a leaderboard invites players back to each mission with the challenge of scoring more points than before, there simply isn’t much fun to be had doing so. Running across the street to steal a car or following around targets before the game lets you kill them quickly wear thin. As the experience wanes on, Jimmy’s Vendetta feels less like a new, fresh episode and more like an unrewarding, bloated cash-cow version of an out of body experience that may never end. (Eventually, it does. Don’t worry.)