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Gangsters 2 PC CD-ROM

Published by Sold Out Software
Developed by Hothouse Creations Ltd.

Released: Out Now
Price: £4.99

The original Gangsters was a game that never realised its true potential. In theory the game should have been a classic but as it turned out it was confusing, frustrating but above all disappointing. Gangsters 2 sees a slight shift away from the original with the action now being real-time instead of turn-based. The game is set around Joey Bane and his quest for the vengeance of his murdered father. The game is based around the fictitious 'State of New Temperance' and sees you (as Joey Bane) gaining more control of the state as the game progresses. Let's take a look and see if Gangsters 2 has been implemented better than the original.

The first thing you will notice is that the interface is much improved from the original game. It is now much simpler to control your gangsters. The game is no longer divided into two sections like the original. Your are permanently viewing the city but the newspaper, which contains the news headlines, finance details and other info can be called up at anytime and thankfully the game pauses when you do this. Control is far simpler as are the tutorials. You can also pause the action and give orders which helps keep everything under control. The basic tutorial (subtitled) is quite short but gives you the knowledge to perform the basics. The manual is quite detailed and explains how to go about completing the first of the 20+ missions. This is a valuable addition and helped make me more comfortable with this game in 10 minutes than I ever did with the original.

The graphics in the game are something of a disappointment. The main street view makes it awkward to control things and you have to constantly switch to the overhead mode to see what is going on. In the street view the building still annoyingly pop up and down as you scroll the map. In the overhead view when you put your pointer over a building/person it gives you a tooltip that tells you what/who the building/person is. It does not do this in the street view so in effect the game is constantly encouraging you to change views. The change from night to day has also been crudely done. There are no gradual changes from dark to light here, darkness just pops up as if by magic. This could have been done more elegantly.

Other annoyances include the fact that you can't recall your mission objectives correctly. Although your advisor gives you bullet points to summarise your objectives you cannot recall the cutscene that shows you where the enemy offices are. Again this is a bit sloppy and it means you have to make mental notes of where everything is at the start of a mission or go around shift-clicking on buildings to find out who is located there. Path finding is also poor. I ordered Joey to drive past the gangster's office and assassinate him. He did this no problem but when I ordered him back to his office he just kept driving around the block and frequently kept going back to the place of the shooting where he was then fired upon. It took about 2 minutes for him to return back to his office. My final gripe with the game is that as you progress through the levels you get to give your gangsters experience points (these are allocated at the end of the level). This system is very good and adds more depth to the gameplay but what cripples this is the fact you can only take 3 with you into the next mission. This is annoying as once you are in the following mission you can hire other gangsters and they are usually inferior to the ones you left behind.

Despite the failings of Gangsters 2 it is still a good game but like the prequel, it is a game that could have been so much better. If you found the original Gangsters confusing you'll be pleased at how the interface has been dramatically improved but still disappointed that it doesn't fulfil its true potential. Text feedback is not a problem and the game as a whole is very deaf gamer 'friendly' so if you can live with the above faults then this may be the game for you.

Recommendation: Still not the gangsters experience that most people are looking for. It has it's good points but there are still problems that prevent if from being a recommended game.

Suitability for deaf gamers: No real problems for deaf gamers.

Overall Game Rating: 3/5