So while Mafia II was, on the whole, a solid game with a pretty comprehensive story, there were a few blank pages…particularly surrounding protagonist Vito’s wily companion, Joe Barbaro. So in a dedicated DLC that borders on being a spin-off, Joe’s Adventure tells you about its namesake’s story while Vito is in prison. After you get through the first two missions, however, you realize that this is really more of a watered down version of Mafia II, which lacks the compelling story or artistry the main story of the game had.
Honestly, I’m generally pretty lenient when it comes to DLC reviews. I’ll admit most of the mid-level DLCs, the ones that offer more than “horse armor” but less than an actual expansion pack, lack the quality of the content in the actual game. We see this again and again in pretty much every game where it happens and it usually ends up a question of how much will be pruned from the game. There are examples that end up surprising you with how much they can add, in particular DLC like Fallout 3’s Broken Steel. Usually, though, they end up along the lines of Kasumi Goto in Mass Effect 2, where yeah…you have a new character…but dialogue is limited, she is not a potential romantic interest for Shepard and there really just isn’t much reason to use her outside of her one loyalty mission. Joe’s Adventure is well…worse than that.
If you read my review of Mafia II, you probably got that the game is mediocre outside stylish cut scenes that push an intriguing story. The big problem with Joe’s Adventure is that…well…they remove almost all the cutscenes! After the first fifteen minutes, Joe’s Adventure has its story largely reveal itself through blocks of text that explain why you need to drive from Point A to Point B. This, obviously, lacks the emotional charge of cutscenes and simply isn’t especially interesting. The missions themselves lack anything that really separates them from any other monotonous romps through the city. The only notable gameplay addition is a point system that really doesn’t make that much sense and doesn’t actually do anything to impact the mission.
To boot, Joe’s Adventure doesn’t come especially cheap, clocking in at $10 worth of any given game currency and, honestly, I don’t think it’s worth that much. I, personally, didn’t really find Mafia II to be an especially great game. It was a mediocre action game that lured you into playing it from start to finish with a solid story and good presentation. But the story’s over and Joe’s Adventure doesn’t have that good presentation. As such, there really isn’t much there to enjoy.