A new generation of gamers has been born in the past couple of years, with the advent of social network games like Farmville and Mafia wars. “Real” gamers might scoff at the time wasteing, casual nature of these titles, but their popularity is undeniable, with the monthly active users number somewhere around 232 million, something Blizzard can only dream of. It’s also quite likely to get even more prolific soon, with the release of Mafia Wars 2.
In terms of gameplay, things have taken a more graphical turn this time, with the game’s general manager Erik Bethke explaining, “Our goal with Mafia Wars 2 was to build on the Mafia Wars franchise in a way that feels familiar to our loyal players, yet provides a brand new world of criminal mischief to explore. The game makes fighting a visceral, social experience and wraps it in a story and art style we think our players will love.”
There’s even a bit of a story now to get things started, though from the sounds of it, no hint of character development or end game, as that’s not really what players of this type of game are looking for. Starting out as a recently released from a 5 year jail stint, you’re set up by your crime boss to begin retaking over, stuff.
You can have fights in up to 3 combat arenas, which covers the “beat up your friends” aspect of popular social networking games. You can also use upto 100 items to customise your home base, ticking the Farmville “check out my x” aspect and you can also invite your friends by spamming them with “I just did X in Mafia Wars 2”.
Kotaku has a great break down of how often in just the first 40 minutes of play time you get asked to invite your friends. As expected, it’s quite incessant.