Mafia 2 demo impressions/comparisons (PC)

Mafia: The City of Lost Haven is one the most influential games in my life.  I was so amazed that a small Czech company was able to develop a beautiful world with a great story to follow.  It solidified my plans to become a software developer in hope that one day i will get into the game industry.  To give you a little more aspect of how big this game is to me, i used it as an example in my College application essays which helped me get into UC Berkeley.  So when i heard that Mafia 2 is coming out i was excited and scared at the same time. 
Why am i scared? 2k Czech (previously known as Illusion Softworks) have not made many games with everything other than Mafia being mediocre games.  There is also the fact it only came on PC when it first came out so they gave a lot of attention to that.  This time they are working on both the PS3 and Xbox360 simultaneously and i feel a little uneasy that they may not give enough attention to each version making every version suffer.
So here are my impressions of the demo which i must say has calmed my fears of certain aspects of the game. 
The first game wasn't the best looking game but it held its own with other games at the time and was given the benefit of the doubt due to its large world.  I think the same can be said here, its not as breathtaking as uncharted 2 but still looks good considering that its a whole world.   
I've always felt the first game was good cause the strength of its story was really helped by its music.  Every song in the first game was amazing making the driving very enjoyable.  This time there is a radio which is a step up so long as all the music is good but nothing that really captured me.  The music during the gunfights was really good and really help set the mood.  
Voice works sounds to be on par with the first one (which oddly enough had a lot voice actors that worked in The Sopranos show).
Gameplay/Controls gunplay 
Mafia 2 plays really well on the PC.  I noticed they really utilized the cover system much like splinter cell conviction and it works really well.  Although this time around they have regenerated health which is good (keep up with other shooters) yet it still give you the option to eat sandwiches.  I'm not sure what eating a sandwich does since your health rejuvenates.  The controls feel much like the previous game and it works well.  Hopefully the mission in the demo was an easier one cause i found the enemies to be a little too easy. 
Gamplay/controls driving 

I remember Illusion Softworks took a lot of pride in how well they created the driving mechanics and the number of cars they had in the first one.  It feels like a lot of that has not changed in the second one.  I can definitely see someone coming from GTA4 get really annoyed at how these cars maneuver since they usually are hard to drive.  I'm curious whether this is done by accident or they purposely made it a little harder to drive since cars back then were harder to drive.   Here is to hoping we don't have to be involved in some race where i have to cheat by going through some off road.
I know many people didn't like this in the first one but i am very very glad they placed the speed limiter back. (its first thing i checked in the controls) .  I like putting the speed limiter on when going to mission checkpoint so i can soak up the world. 
Overall i'm kind of impressed that they still maintained aspects of the first game and made sure they weren't turning into a GTA knock off.  But, like the first one, this game is a make/break deal based on how good the story is (since there is no multiplayer).  So we will just have to wait for the reviews and hopefully they will be positive.  If not i think i will still get it just based on how important the series is for me. 


The diary of a hijacked victim

2-3 weeks ago the steam sale was happening and i just found out about it half way through the sale.  I saw left 4 dead 2 for $10 and had to get it.  I tried connecting into my steam account.  Login incorrect.  hmmm, i thought that was the password, if not it must be this one.  Login incorrect...hmmm maybe steam was down or something.  I remember looking into the Giantbomb forums just to see if anyone else was having problems.  Apparently someone did have the same problem but a lot of responses stated that the account was probably hijacked.  I thought about it and thought, "who would jack my account?!"  Figured i would try later. 
Two days later borderlands is on sale.  I needed to get that after all the hype Giantbomb gave of it.  I also needed the introversion pack to play uplink and defcon.  Tried getting into steam still didn't work.  I tried the forgot password and username option which is suppose to send me an e-mail came.  After all this i came to the conclusion that something happened although for some reason did not expect my account to be hijacked.  i thought if it was hijacked i would have noticed cause my credit card might be stored on it and they could buy more games.  So i went through the steam support and showed them a picture of the cd-key of left 4 dead.  And waited for a response... 
The next day in the afternoon i get an e-mail from steam support.  Apparently my account was hijacked.  The give me the new password to get in and told me to change it to a stronger one.  I access my account and everything is different.  Its like seeing your car get vandalized.  My steam name is different, the avatar picture is now a pic of some emo 14 yr old chick, i have bunch of new friends and i am part of some clan.  According to steam i just played 8 hours ago,  and i play a lot of team fortress 2, some counter strike source and altitude.  My e-mail was changed, which is probably why i never got an e-mail when i said i lost my password.  One thing i'm glad i did was i never stored my credit card to the account so the hijacker couldn't use it.  I also found through my profile their website which links to the person youtube account.  I followed it and it showed a bunch of videos of them and their clan videos playing tf2 or cs:s.   
As i was changing everything back to normal several thoughts came to my head.  First i wanted to make some remarks in the comments of his video something like, 
"Nice videos would be better if you owned to game" 
"your pretty good for a person that steals accounts" 
But i figured that wouldn't be good since he could probably find a way to hack my youtube account which can lead to my gmail account and some sensitive information.  So i didn't do it, but i would have love to. 
I started to think, he didn't do anything that hurt me, he just took my account and played some of my games, i haven't been using my steam account for a month and in the end i got a lot of tf2 achievements probably wouldn't have gotten myself. 
I told a friend of mine, and he pointed out "this guy must be cheap, isn't TF2 on sale for $4"  I was thinking, yea WTF, why would someone take my account just to play a game which is now on sale for $4.  Was this steam sale US only, cause i noticed from the person Youtube site he is from Eastern Europe (Bosnia, i think).  Maybe the times are tough.  But then i thought, well if they have a system that can play it why can't they pay for a cheap game. 
The questions why are beyond me.  I'm just glad i got my steam account back and in the end was able to get some really good sales.  I must commend Steam on being very quick in the matter and luckily on the last day of the sale was able to still get L4D2 for $8. 
There is a small epilogue to this story but i will blog about that later.


Modern Warfare = Business

I haven't blogged in a while but there have been following quite a bit of gaming issues that i feel i would like to voice my opinion on some of them.  Plus i love Giant bombs all in one deal for gamers (wiki database for game stuff, reviews, lists, forums and the big things Achievements, although i would like to see some PS3 trophy support). 
So the new Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package trailer just came out.  Looks great but what i'm here to talk about is whats all the fuss about with the price.  For people that don't know its $15.  This is new to many gamers.  DLC has always been in the $1-$10 area and the $10 area usually means quite a bit of content (like a whole 10 hours more of gameplay)  but $15 for 5 maps (which are probably small cause thats how modern warfare maps work).....wait your telling me two of them are from the first modern warfare  game?! THIS IS MADNESSS.  ACTIVISION SUCKS MW2 SUCKKKSSS. 
Ok lets tread back and define certain things.  Modern Warfare 2 has an interesting social community which consist of two types of people.  There are gamers and mw2 gamers.  Gamers are people that enjoy a variety type of games and enjoys their gaming with more than one game be that an action RPG, thriller adventure whatever it may be.  Then there are mw2 gamers.  Ever since the release of mw2 all they have played is modern warfare 2, they may have started playing some other game but found it to be not as fun as mw2 so they went back to playing mw2.  I'm not saying these people are bad people just saying this is how they enjoy games.  (although i will rant, one time bunch of friends of mine were playing one match where we lost and this one douche started saying "you clan SUCKS, all you guys sucks....for the whole intermission, i would like to say, at least all of us have lives outside of mw2.  ok end rant, those people are bad people)
 Now that we have two different groups, lets see how they react to the pricing of mw2.  Gamers will look at this and cry outrage.  $15 for this type of content is insanely overpriced they will point all the faults of mw2, make some whitty Kotick/Activision remark or praise Bad Company 2 or Team Fortress (i like how many commenters do some stupid stuff like, "oh the maps look cool.....*goes back to playing bad company 2*" everytime i read this i roll my eyes, unfortunetely it leads me to get dizzy and crosseyed) .  Mw2 gamers will see this as more reason to play modern warfare 2.   
And this is the reason why its priced at $15.  Activision has obviously calculated how they can make the most profit out this.  And they have probably calculated that if 3 million people buy this pack for $15 as opposed to the 4 million that will buy it for $10 thats $45 million vs $40 million.  This has obviously been targeted to that mw2 gamer audience  that does not care about the price because they feel that with the amount of time they are going to play with the new pack (since they play 8 hours a day 7 days a week) is worth it.  And there are going to be people that restrain at first but when they see all their other firends playing it, will probably succumb to it. 
As gamers we know this is overpriced, but then this pack isn't really targeted to us.  From the actions Activision has made in the past year, they are not here to win the hearts of gamers, they are here to make money and lots of it. They really don't care about giving back to the commuinity.  Most of us will eventually buy the pack may it be peer pressure or that the price comes down low enough that we feel the money is justified.  And for those people that don't end up buying it and are enjoying another game, good for you, just don't start bitching when Activision makes another move like this....its all business.