Re: Mafia 2
Well I loved GTA 4 despite its performance problems. I'm playing through Mafia now that I got with my preorder of Mafia 2. My first impressions were how awfully slow it was, combat ordinary, city doesn't really feel alive and zomg the cars are so slow you start moving backwards going up inclines.
But 10 missions in and I'm appreciating the way the missions flow together. In GTA you get markers and do random missions then maybe one mission that links with the next character, it's like 50 mini stories. Mafia feels like one strong story. I liked the farmhouse mission and the shootout in the church and I think cars are paid more special attention than GTA games.
Also I don't think you can compare destruction for an online game with a single player experience. Of ourse BC2 is precomputed because the server only has to send a simple message to each client "wall goes boom". Otherwise the server has to calculate the physics of each object destroyed and then transmit the position of all those objects to every player. Let's not forget there may be more than one object being destroyed at any one time. Completely unecessary overhead when precomputing does a great job.
I hope they get the combat right in Mafia 2, it could take the action to great places. I also hope the city feels more "alive" in the sequel. At the very least I look forward to outrunning the police when I speed.