There are four reasons why I'm eager to get my hands on Mafia II: its strong emphasis on realism; its theme; the time period in which it takes place; and its use of space.
I was unable to play the original Mafia and wasn't even aware of it until just a few years ago, but as I heard more about it I realised that it sounded like a game I would enjoy, so when 2K Games announced its sequel I decided that I needed to try this franchise.
First of all, hearing about the original's emphasis on realism was an exciting prospect to consider, and now that I get to experience it in its sequel I'm rather excited to see how it is implemented. Having the police chase you for speeding or running a red light is something I'm not used to, the indiscretions in GTA and other games of its ilk going by largely ignored in favour of the more violent crimes. Knowing that I need to be more careful with my actions doesn't just change up a familiar formula, it also drastically changes my approach to playing, and it's the results that stem from this key difference that I'm eager to explore. I'm also interested to see where else this emphasis on realism is enforced in the game, but as I am unaware of how it worked in the original I'm left to speculate, meaning that I will just be making assumptions until I can finally play the game.
Thematically, the game might not be anything new, with Mafia movies and videogames as familiar to us as aliens and dragons, but even so, Mafia II appears to be attempting to tell a mature tale and knowing this leaves me with a hope that the game will be a cross-between what Rockstar tried with Grand Theft Auto IV, and the maturity Starbreeze demonstrated with their Mafia tale in The Darkness. Whether it succeeds on this remains to be seen, but if I'm right and 2K Czech manages to pull it off, I expect the final result will be something special indeed.
Besides, it's set in the 1940s, which piques my interest for two reasons. First of all, the aesthetics such a setting will provide is unlike anything we have seen in videogames, and that excites me. Screenshots confirm that its appearance is distinct and unique, and I look forward to spending time in that world. Which brings me to my final reason for anticipating the game, its space. I'm really intrigued by what sort of interactive entertainment this 1940s setting will provide, with the design of the city, the buildings and cars that permeate it, and how things like physics and weight (of the cars especially) will feel like in an older time period a particular area of interest for me. The fact that a day/night cycle and weather will also be in the game is just the icing on the already seemingly awesome cake.
Overall, Mafia II looks set to provide me with a game space that is as detailed and immersive as Liberty City, Rapture or The Wastelands of Fallout 3, and if I'm right about that then to be able to spend time in an environment set in such a time period, with a more realistic approach to its mechanics and dynamics is an incredibly enticing and exciting prospect for me. Hopefully Mafia II delivers on the expectations I've created for it, but even it doesn't, so long as they nail the city and its atmosphere, I suspect I will thoroughly enjoy it later this year.