PC REVIEW: THE GODFATHER

What happens when you cross The Godfather with Monty Python? Someone makes you an offer you can't understand. Although that's paraphrased and bastardized from something that I did hear Eric Idle once say, The Godfather is a game that you should not refuse to play. by Cole Smith

March 31, 2006 - The Godfather is based on one of the most famous, movie classics of all time. We're talking the 1972 version with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and of course, Abe Vigoda. Yes, Abe Vigoda was in The Godfather. He played the part of Salvatore "Sally" Tessio - and at the time of this writing, he is still alive. That means, not dead.

Expect all of the famous scenes of the film to be included in this game. From the horse's head in the bed to the making of a non-declinable proposal. The game begins with your father being gunned down. With little future ahead of you and your family, your mother approaches Don Corleone on his daughter's wedding day to ask that he take you under his wing. Don Corleone is of course one of the biggest mobsters in the country. This is an offer he simply can't refuse and you begin your career as a low-level thug enforcing various family practices such as extorting businesses for protection money.

To accomplish your first order of business you have to visit local businesses in person to have a conversation with the owner and convince him to pay a weekly protection fee. What you're protecting him from is you and other Mafia thugs. If he's uncooperative, you will have to demonstrate the damage that may befall his establishment, and his person, by trashing the place and giving your fist a workout on his face. Once he agrees to pay his weekly fee, you move on to bigger and better places. Some of these businesses are fronts for gambling dens and prostitution. You might even decide to buy some of these places to increase your weekly revenue and get in on some action.

The gameplay is similar to that of Grand Theft Auto in that there is a certain amount of freedom in your violent and ultimately illegal profession as you work your way from the bottom of the organization to the top. There are lots of businesses to exploit, missions to accomplish, vehicles to drive, characters to kill and crimes to commit. While the gameplay remains true to the film, there is lots of extra content that is anything but filler. It's as though we're actually living in that same time period, and the film was a documentary displaying only the highlights of your life. In the game, we're also living behind the scenes.

All of your illegal activity does not go unnoticed. While you are running with the most notorious crime family in America, you are not immune from the law. The more killings, car thefts and general illegal activities that you commit the higher your badge meter will rise. The meter will display up to five police badges, the more badges that are displayed, the more heat you've generated which is sure to result in a police chase. You can choose to outrun them in your vehicle or merely bribe them if you have the cash on hand. If they capture you, they will shoot you. Then you have to get revived at the nearest hospital - which will also cost you. You can see how necessary it is to have cash on hand in this racket.

Control in this game is simplified but very satisfying. The vehicles are extremely easy to drive. You can maneuver in and out of traffic at a quick pace without spinning out of control. You will encounter some slowdown when things heat up and the cops are on your tail.

Hand-to-hand combat and the use of guns are also very easy to use. You can employ a lock-on system during combat and use the analog stick to throw kicks and punches around. With the use of other buttons you can choke your subjects, hold them over ledges or just throw them from the roofs of buildings. The lock-on system can also be used with the weapons that range from a .38 revolver to a submachine gun. You can forego the lock-on system for more of a first-person shooter style. Either way the system works well for your preferred method. Since your character is supposed to be a relative expert on such weapons, the only challenge should be hitting your target, not operating the weapons. Other weapons such as Molotov cocktails, explosives, bats and lead pipes can also be put to good creative use. Your inventory allows you to carry all of these weapons at once, so you won't get bored.

Environments are a mixed bag. The streets of New York are replicated to great effect with the actual street names, landmark buildings and districts such as Hell's Kitchen, Little Italy, Brooklyn and Midtown. The insides of the various shops, however, look way too similar. With recycled textures and architecture it's hard to tell one bakery or hotel from another. At the very least, there are no load times when entering these joints.

The character models look amazing. They are voiced by the original cast. You can't get better quality than that. Even the music is taken from the movie but I have to admit that the theme song gets a little tiresome after a while. Yea, we're playing The Godfather - I get it already.

The Godfather is not a perfect game but it's a hell of a lot of fun. There's nothing particularly frustrating about it so the challenges won't be insurmountable to casual gamers. Hardcores can immerse themselves in the mob world and enjoy the game as an interactive movie. It's a win-win situation for everyone. Whacha' waiting for? Go get it. Don't make me have to tells ya' twice.

Features:

  • Respect and Consequences: Players will use their powers of loyalty and fear to earn respect throughout New York City. Decisions made by the player in the game will have lasting consequences.
  • Persistent world of The Godfather: Your character will interact freely with other characters in the world. Depending on your needs and how you choose to play the game, by violent or intimidating means or respectful or negotiating means, the characters in the world will remember your interactions
  • Blackhand Controls and Pressure Point Targeting: Being a gangster has never felt so good and Blackhand will put the power of intimidation in the hands of the player. An analog control-based combat system will give players the use of both analog sticks and shoulder buttons to execute punches, kicks, grabs and even allow you to strangle an opponent. Pressure Point targeting will help lock on less lethal parts of an opponents body so they're still around to give information vital to you.
  • Create the New Face of Crime: Use "MobFace" feature to create a new member of the Corleone family with your own tough, street-wise looks. Customize facial features and hair, suit up your created mobster in era clothing, and then lead him through the classic world of The Godfather
  • Control New York: The Corleone's control of New York will be challenged by the four families from the fiction including the Barzini Cuneo, Stracci and Tattaglia families.
  • Academy Award winning composer Bill Conti and Emmy Award winning composer Ashley Irwin are collaborating to create over 100 minutes of new music, in addition to the classic soundtrack from the film.

By Cole Smith
CCC Senior Writer

Rating out of 5
The Godfather (PC)
4.5
Graphics
The characters look like their movie counterparts. This is one of the best movie-adapted games I've ever seen.
4.4

Control
The controls are very easy to access and very forgiving. Technically the game is relatively solid.

5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music, the explosions, the voiceovers. Everything sounds as good as it looks - even better
3.5
Play Value
There is lots to do in this game and it won't hurt to play it one more time to find new places to terrorize and new people to hurt.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
Preview by Devin

"I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." We've all done it. We've all wondered what it would be like to be a mob boss. Money, power and respect. Every time you sit down in an Italian restaurant, you look around and pretend that someone has a hit out on you. You eat your veal picatta, sip your wine, you keep an eye open waiting for the hit. Out of the corner of your eye, you see a strange, shadowy fellow slowly standing up with a napkin draped over his hand. Slowly he makes his way towards you, while checking to make sure the coast is clear. You kick your table up to reveal your tommy gun, and you go to town on your would be assailant. "EAT LEAD" you scream over the hail of bullets. Of course, this is all just going through your head because we will never be in those situations as times have changed. But wouldn't it be great!? The danger! Excitement! Lucky for us Electronic Arts is churning out The Godfather: The Game, which will allow us all to live out our mob boss fantasies in one of the most visually realistic looking games I've seen to date.

New York 1945, you've just been accepted in the Corleone Family; one of the largest and most respected mob families in New York. However, you do not play as one of the famous Corleones. Rather as a mobster you create. The Create A Mobster feature is fairly limited. After all, women had very small and limited roles in the mob, and most guys wore suits. You pretty much create your own 1940's Sicilian "New Yorka!" And just like in any good mob family, you start at the bottom, the very bottom.

The Godfather is held in a "living world", very much like the Grand Theft Auto series or Spider-Man 2, so you go around and pick up little jobs to increase your rep on the street. The higher your reputation, the better jobs you're given. Jobs can have a lot of different dimensions to them. One of the first jobs in the game is to visit a local grocer, who is under the protection of the Corleone family. After visiting, the grocer gives you some information about a new cop, who needs some "attention", a butcher who needs to know how things are run in your town, and a new comer who's causing trouble with the locals. This is where some nifty features come in. You can go and bribe the cop to keep him away from anything wrong you may be doing. You then get to go visit your new butcher friend. He isn't exactly sure how things are run in the town, and you offer the protection of the Corleones. Of course the butcher will not be too keen on the idea, but you're Sicilian, and you're going to make him an offer he can't refuse. This is where the games Extort feature comes in. It works very much like The Punisher's interrogation feature, where by the push of a button you pressure your subject into doing your bidding.

When you begin your extortion, you are given the control to either apply more pressure on the subject, which usually means more force and violent behavior, or if you have a lot of respect you can ease off the subject. The respect comes into play and determines how people will view you. If you tend to use more brute force to get what you want, people will begin the view you as a monster and you may have to speak with the Don and be told to tone it down. If you tend to go lighter on people, especially opposing families then you'll be viewed as weak and walked all over. But either way, speaking with the Don would be one of the biggest treats of the game, as Marlon Brando returns to his immortal role for one of his last performances ever.

The voice-overs really add to the game as famous Godfather actors such as Robert Duvall, James Caan and Marlon Brando lent their voices and likenesses to the game. The sound will be top notch with not only the actors but also the original motion picture score by Godfather composer Nino Rota. The Godfather also delivers some of the most stunning and realistic visuals that I have personally ever seen in a game. The character models are so incredibly detailed from the way their hair is parted to their five o'clock shadow to the stitching on their clothing. The city itself is an amazing sight as every NPC has incredible detail; with drunks staggering into the street, paperboys shouting the top headlines, and steam from the manhole covers adding to the noir feel of the film.

EA put a lot of effort into the Godfather to make it a game not based on the movie, but a realistic experience as to what it would be like to be a part of the story. The Godfather will be a sight to see, and I'm hoping, will not disappoint.

 

System: PS2 (shown), Xbox, PC
Dev: EA
Pub: EA
Release: Mar 2006
Players: 1
Review by Cole

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best