|System: PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 7 Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Adam||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
The list of video games based on popular movies and television shows is a long one. Companies have continually made incredibly horrible games using these licenses as justification. From the abysmal E.T. on the Atari 2600 (game crash of 84 anyone) to the recent crapulence of X-men The Official Game, very few of these titles have actually been good. Recently though, some of these games have actually not been completely unplayable such as The Godfather, Scarface, and now the Sopranos: Road to Respect.
In Road to Respect, you will play the part of Joey La Rocca. Joey was orphaned when his father was whacked for snitching on the mob. He is forced to grow up without a father and turns to a life of petty crimes. At least until Tony Soprano sets him straight and takes him under his mob boss wing. The games storyline follows Joey on his quest for respect, redemption, and to get his life back on track. To do this, he works for Tony as a hired goon by cleaning up messes, offing the occasional rival, and constantly trying to prove he is not a rat like his father. The storyline is good and really drives the positive experience of this game.
The mechanics of Road to Respects combat are fairly decent if not too simplistic. Players have both light and heavy attacks as well as the ability to grapple and use weapons. There are several combos using the light and heavy attacks although you wont really need to learn them in order to progress through the game. The meat of the combat comes in the form of grappling. While grappling, players can continue to punch and knee their opponents or use special attacks to help finish them off quicker. Every wall in the game can be used to smash your enemies heads. Joey can also use things like table-saws and refrigerators to make quick and brutal work of rival baddies. There are also a host of special moves that Joey can use at any point to demolish an opponent. These consists of choking, breaking arms and feet, smashing heads off of the ground, twisting of family jewels, and straight out execution style shootings. Joey will also find a wide variety of weapons just lying around that he can use to punish his enemies. Everything from shotguns to sledgehammers can be found and used to dispose of your enemies quickly.
Did I forget to mention that Road to Respect was a very violent/adult-themed video game? It is incredibly vicious at times and comes complete with topless pole dancers, lap dances, and more cussing than a night spent with a drunken sailor with anger issues. This game is clearly not meant for anyone under the age of seventeen. But if you are of age, this game is a great adult experience, at least for awhile. After the initial brutality shockfest, you will come to the realization that this game is not incredibly deep. You will perform all of the games super-violent moves over and over again. These begin to become less spectacular and more tedious every time you do them. The game attempts to remedy this by being fairly short and by adding a couple of mini-games to distract you from the repetition. Road to Respect will allow you to play slot machines as well as some poker with your favorite mobsters. The slots quickly become boring and the poker, while fun, is a little too easy to win.
Respect is the name of the game, yet it only plays a small role in the actual gameplay. Joey has a respect meter, if this meter reaches zero your family will whack you. He will lose respect if he is too much of a tough guy in conversations or if he pulls out his gun in an inappropriate location. During conversations, Joey will occasionally get the option to reply with a tough, neutral, or smooth response. Unfortunately though, these responses really dont affect the game that much. Although you are a mobster, using a gun in this game can be fairly dangerous and inefficient. While it may help you finish off opponents, many areas of the game will quickly sap your respect meter if a gun is used. I played through this game using a gun less than five times. Most of the time, it just wasnt worth it. However, if your respect meter runs low you can always just pay a tribute to Paulie to refill it and also to unlock concept art.
Road to respect is definitely not a Grand Theft Auto clone. There is no driving and no open world in this game. Players are mostly confined to indoor locations and many of this game's areas are reused several times. The graphics in this game however, are fairly good for a PS2 game. Character models are close approximations of their real life counterparts. The voice work is also very well done. Players can expect to hear a seemingly endless series of F-bombs from most of the shows cast members. The music in the game isnt that great with a few exceptions. One of my favorite moments in the game came from beating up a pimp and his crew to the sweet tune of Sir Mix-a-Lots Baby Got Back.
Although this game isnt really a gem by any means, it is surprisingly better than most movie/television based video games. While that isnt necessarily a ringing endorsement, this game is actually worth playing. The combat is at least fun initially and the storyline will keep you playing until the end. Fans of the series should definitely play through this title. Anyone who is looking for another Grand Theft Auto-like game however, would be better off playing a game like The Godfather, Scarface, or Saints Row.
CCC Freelance Writer