I think The Darkness II's Jackie Estacado deserves an award for being more utterly screwed in a single instance than any other videogame character in history. So here's the tale of the tape: I – playing as the main character of all first-person shooters: camera-glued-to-the-main-character's-forehead – was locked in a dark, dingy room while a horde of vaguely supernatural mob goons turned my mega-mansion (and my horde of vaguely competent regular mob goons) into a gory pile of mob goop. “Mansion under attack, lol #firstworldproblems,” I could almost imagine Jackie tweeting if he hadn't also been, you know, crucified at the time.
Then one of my none-too-subtle foes wheeled a TV inches away from my eyes so as to – both literally and figuratively – rub my face in what was to come. “It's your own personal snuff film,” he proudly announced. On the screen were two of my particularly talkative underlings – beaten, bound, and on their knees, with backs mercifully turned away from the pistol pointed in their general direction. “One lives, one dies. Pick.” And I should have cared. I really should have.
But I didn't. Not in the slightest. So, what changed between the original Darkness' masterclass in characterization and this sordid tale of heartlessness and heart-eating? Simple: time.
Mafia II’s got a script that’s probably as thick as four phonebooks, but the phrase we uttered most while playing the game was, “So close.” Over and over, it’s all we could think as we watched the game grasp at greatness, only to latch onto big old handfuls of disappointment. Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and last we checked, our copy of Mafia II was neither neighing nor exploding in our faces. (We’re kind of thankful about that last one.)
Mafia II sees you take on the role of Vito Scaletta, a young Italian immigrant who’s fresh off the front lines of World War II. Or rather, he’s on permanent leave, thanks to a buddy of questionable moral fiber who pulled a few strings. Long story short, Vito dives right into the deep end of organized crime—mostly because he wants money and hates dirtying his hands with menial labor. Seriously. See, here’s the thing: Vito’s kind of an a-hole.
If your virgin ears are loathe to walk the darker alleys of the English language, modern videogames might not be to your liking. But there’s regular videogame cursing, and then there’s the overachievers. The A students. The ones who find even the “explicit” versions of songs to be tame, and the clean versions to be almost completely inaudible – like a dog whistle to human ears. And then, leading them, you have Mafia II.
Right now, Guinness World Records accepts that the game contains over 200 uses of the dreaded, yet oddly versatile word. However, that number will soon become more exact, because – as Guinness told Joystiq – “2K have promised to supply us with a copy of the game's full script under NDA so we can count the number of f-bombs ourselves and update the record with a complete figure."
Previously, sadly underrated Wii light-gun shooter House of the Dead: Overkill took home the gold-plated trophy of a certain finger-based rude gesture with 189 instances of the F-bomb.
So yeah, it’s probably a good idea to keep this one away from the kids. You know, since the blood, organized crime, hard M-rating, and authentic Playboy Magazine covers weren’t already enough of an indicator.