Joe’s Adventures is the second DLC pack for 2k Games’ Mafia II, after Jimmy’s Vendetta. This time around, the story focuses entirely on enforcer Joe Barbaro and his antics during the time of Vito Scaletta’s imprisonment. Joe returns to Empire Bay after a long hiatus – he ended up a marked man and had to leave town – to regain his proper standing and clear his ‘good’ name.
A cool breath of fresh air for the game, Joe’s Adventures allows players to drive a new, and fun-to-drive, vehicle as well as listen to some new songs from that period in time. There are also new Playboy magazines to collect for those of you seeking more achievements. Not such a breath of fresh air is that, unlike the base game, Joe’s Adventures does not feature anywhere near the amount of voice over work – instead opting for a plethora of text to read.
All the voice over work in the base game, as well as great performances, helped immerse the player into the gritty, crime-thriller story. Save for some well-done cinematics, this is largely missing here. Now, that’s not to say there is no story of any kind – there is. You just have to read it. Taking into account all the text, there is actually more story to be found here than in Jimmy’s Vendetta. It would have just been nice to have the aural presentation found in the base game.
Throughout the course of the adventure, the player will visit several new locations around Empire Bay – all of which look great and feature several
missions to complete before climaxing with, usually, a big showdown (lots of lead flying about). These big climactic events are a lot of fun and usually feature action-packed moments that would make any geek smirk. Speaking of set pieces, the frozen lake sequence is an especially fun experience, both in terms of gameplay as well as visuals with plenty of thin and cracking ice to be found.
While the aforementioned missions are a lot of fun, the expansion’s biggest problem lies in its strange cadre of poorly-designed missions. Some are moronically-easy to complete, whereas others are straight-up impossible. One gets the feeling that many of the simpler missions are ‘filler’ to round-out the expansion’s play time which, to its credit, is about six hours or so.
Overall, Joe’s Adventures has its share of high and low-points. For $10 dollars, it is a worth-while purchase for fans of the original game, but it is clearly not the end-all, be-all DLC pack for you to spend your cash on this holiday season. This is a big shame too, as the expansion pack has some sincerely cool moments. If only there had been more of them.