Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Godfather

Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.
Review By Insane

EA are known for a lot of things. They are known for buying out companies. They are known for releasing the same game on as many platforms as possible just to get more money. They are also known for releasing at least six thousand games per year, half of which are titles such as FIFA and NHL, that are identical to last years efforts only with an updated year number. They are also known for releasing either very good games, or very bad games. This is one of the former.

STORY: In Little Italy during the 1940's, the Mafia rule the streets. Wiseguys from the five major families – Tattaglia, Stracci, Barzini, Cuneo and, of course, Corleone – hold New York in a tight grip. Murder, extortion, gambling and violence are rife. The Corleone Family are in a slump. The other families are growing stronger and threatening their territory. You are a petty thief who's landed in a bit of trouble. Your mother has went to Vito Corleone, Don of the Corleone Family, and asked him to intervene. By working with and for the Corleone Family, you finally have a chance to be a fully fledged wiseguy – a Made Man – and work your way through the echelons of organised crime to make a name for yourself, avenge your father's death and, hopefully, to become Don of New York City.

The story of The Godfather: The Game takes place over the events of The Godfather Part I and The Godfather novel. Your character is involved in, or somehow connected to, most of the main events of the first movie including the death of Luca Brasi, the attempted assassination on the Don and others.

GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto because of its free-form nature. You are free, from the start, to hijack any cars and drive the whole way around New York City. Apart from the main story missions, which we'll get to in a minute, you have a wide selection of sub-missions and extra things to do such as mob hits, extorting businesses, holding up banks, buying new weapons, robbing rival families delivery trucks, bombing compounds, burning businesses, taking over rackets, discovering hubs and warehouses and just plain old killing.

The main story missions build you through the stages of being a mobster, starting as an outsider, building your way up to becoming an associate, soldier, capo and underboss. They're great fun, ranging from simple executions to stealth missions, races and time trials. The story missions, although interesting, are very easy and can be completed within a few hours. The bulk of your gameplay will be spent making money with which to buy new weapons, safehouses, ammo and buy out businesses. You do this by extorting businesses.

Extorting businesses is done by threatening the owner round to your way of thinking, either by beating him up, destroying his shop, killing customers or getting his respect by buying clothes that gain you respect, like suits. When you extort a business, you get a percentage of their money per week. Most businesses are legitimate, but some might have rackets upstairs, such as brothels or gambling rings. By buying these out, you can work your way up to the warehouse or hub that supplies the rackets. Taking over these will gain you more and more money and help you raise the ranks easier.

As you work your way through the game, you will be given missions by different members of the Corleone family and eventually become connected. Completing the missions nets you cash and unlocks more missions to complete. It also gets you Respect. Respect is like Experience Points. When you level up, you get to upgrade one of your attributes, including health, strength, reload speed and driving ability.

The gameplay, although varied, is limited in that the game is quite short story-wise and that if you want to upgrade your weapons to complete some of the later missions, you'll end up completing a good portion of the extra missions (such as taking over business, rackets and warehouses or cracking safes) along the way, so by the time you complete the story, you'll have completed most of the extras as well. Still, great game.

GRAPHICS: The graphics are amazing, especially during the cut-scenes where you can see the characters up close and personal. During the game, however, the colours are quite bland. It being post-war New York, it's full of browns and greys. All the characters wear dull suits, the cars are all black and the buildings are very simple affairs, the only noticeable colours are the neon signs of the shops.

Speaking of, all the locales are quite similar. All the compounds are exactly the same, the only differences being the driveway. All bakeries will look the same, all pubs, clubs, restaurants etc use the same interiors, with only a few alterations. This does get quite boring sometimes and smacks of déjà vu as you enter an establishment.

This doesn't really affect the game much, but it's always nice to have pretty graphics, even when commiting several federal offences. Other than that, the graphics are great. The blood is very red and the explosions are very fiery. Jolly good.

SOUND: The sound is great, most actors from the movie reprise their roles (Al Pachino declined the use of his voice and likeness in the movie. Marlon Brando died before the game could be completed, but did record his voice for it. Unfortunately, most of this could not be used, so the Don you hear is an impersonator.)

The gunshots and car noises are pitch perfect, as are the voice actors. I didn't once cringe at any bad acting, and loved every second of it. The Godfather music plays throughout the game and it changes depending on the scene, whether it be a chase, a hostile takeover of a compound or just cruising through NY. Great!

PRESENTATION: Finally, a movie tie-in that doesn't play the movie in the background during menus! The menus are very well made, featuring pictures of 1950s New York. The menu will give you all the info you need, including a map showing all the rackets, warehouses and such as well as who owns them, the usual report telling you how many people you've killed, cars hijacked, times died etc. and a menu showing how powerful your mobster is in the family. All this plus a meter to inform you of how much each rival family and the cops hate you. Very well-made and concise.

CONTROL: As it's a PC game, it can be customised to the Nth degree. All the normal controls are decent enough, you using the keys to move, attack etc, and the mouse to look and aim as well as navigate windows. Anything you don't like can be changed and you can use a joypad if you so wish.

EXTRA: By completing missions and certain objectives within the game, you can unlock clips from the movie itself. Collecting the in-game film tokens unlocks even more of these. This, plus the extra missions within the game, buying clothes, taking over the whole of New York and the weapon upgrades mean that even after completing the story missions, the game can keep on going for a good while longer.

PLAY TIME: About fifteen hours, give or take a few, depending on how much money you ran around earning to get weapon upgrades. That's fifteen hours to complete the story missions, however, about three or four more to get all the upgrades, rackets etc. But fifteen hours well spent!

REPLAYABLE: The missions are very easy and well done, so completing them again would not only be good fun, but also allow the game to be picked up and played for short or long hauls. I replayed many of the missions just to see the cinematics again, which are amazing.

OVERALL: Get it now! You could probably complete the story missions in a night, and the only reason you would do anything else is just to get all the weapons or to complete the game 100%. An excellent game, full of interesting features, even if it is a bit much like the GTA series.

SYSTEM: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, XBOX 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii 



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