Reviews// The Godfather II

This will result in a period of peace and harmony

Posted 8 Apr 2009 17:24 by
Games: The Godfather II
The Godfather movies are a cultural phenomenon, many people who do not think Citizen Kane is the greatest movie ever made think that The Godfather is. It gets an incredible 9.1 on IMDB user ratings, placing it as the number two movie, but this time behind The Shawshank Redemption. But, and get this, The Godfather: Part II places third, immediately behind it in the eyes of IMDB readers the world over. The laughable The Dark Knight places sixth though, so maybe their opinion is nothing to go on.

The Godfather movies deal with epic themes: loyalty, passion, greed, brutality, ambition and most importantly of all... honour. And the games do not fall far from the same tree.

When the game hit my desk, I was less than enthusiastic - I have not seen the first two movies, nor had I played Mob Wars or Don's Edition or indeed the Wii's Blackhand Edition. Indeed, I only saw the third movie because I was taken to a screening by US Gold to celebrate the launch of the 1992, best forgotten, Amiga version. (46% in Amiga Format magazine, by the way).

Although it is widely considered to be vastly inferior to its two prequels, I still feel warmly towards The Godfather: Part III (movie), since it was the first ever press screening or première I ever attended. IMDB users however, give the third movie a pitiful 7.6 - a towering achievement for most movies, but a dismal failure for a The Godfather movie. In short, I can barely be considered to be a The Godfather fan.

But when the editor tells you to review a game, you have to at least give it a cursory examination, if only to better help you conjure credible reasons for why you should not review it. And so it was that I sat down to play Godfather II. The name is especially apt because not only is this game the sequel to the 2006 game which was based on the first movie, but it is also a gamification of the second movie.

The first thing that happens as you begin the game is that you enter the Mob Face section, where you can use tools that will be familiar to anyone who has played any EA Sports game in order to customise your character. A fairly serious failing of the 360 version is that it is easy to accidentally commit your changes before you have finished, and once I did I could not easily (or at all, in fact) find a way to return to the character editor. So, with a Dominic Corleone that looked more like Luke Duke, I set about playing the game.

The first scenes take place on what we must assume is New Year's Eve 1958 in Havana, Cuba... a city which (in an allusion to Meyer Lansky's Hotel Riviera) the mobsters point out has bigger hotels than any of them have so far managed to build in Vegas. The New York Families have brokered a deal with President Batista to take control of the Cuban underworld and divide up the spoils. This will result in a period of peace and harmony between the bitterly feuding Families. But as they celebrate their impending victory, Fidel Castro's rebels invade the city, and the mobsters are forced to make their escape to NYC, where their typical rivalry comes back to the fore.

Initially, as you run and shoot your way out of Cuba, The Godfather seems like a typical third-person shooter. However, as you begin to explore the free-roaming sandbox environment of New York city, it becomes clear that the game has more in common with Grand Theft Auto. GF II drives forward the narrative with game-engine cut scenes that result in you having an non-stop linear sequence of missions to undertake.

At first, following these acts as a great tutorial system for what is, it must be said, a reasonably complex game from a control system perspective. But the evolving gameplay mechanics hide the increasing complexity of the controls behind a veneer of sophistication that makes them appear simple.
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Games: The Godfather II

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Mike 9 Apr 2009 15:02
I wonder why this review isn't on MetaCritic or GameRankings?
nigel de jon 16 Apr 2009 16:03
strange how everyone else says this game is cack, as expected

did the writer get a free trip to vegas in return for sucking EA's festering member?
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DoctorDee 17 Apr 2009 08:38
nigel de jon wrote:
strange how everyone else says this game is cack, as expected

did the writer get a free trip to vegas in return for sucking EA's festering member?

This writer has not had a freebie from EA since Christmas 1992, when his wife got so incredibly drunk of free EA booze that I had to take her home early (thus missing out on more free booze myself). She vomited in the back of the taxi, and the writer had to bung the taxi driver £25 quid for cleaning. She also vomited on my new Vans.

The writer stays away from Vegas, because the last time I was there, a "gang member" took issue with me asking him not to shout and scream outside our hotel door at two in the morning, and threatened to shoot me in the "motherloving" face.

As for what everyone else says about the Godfather II. I do not really care what they are saying.

I liked the game greatly, and I thought its strengths: attempting to do something interesting and different, far outweighed its weaknesses. Graphical glitches and poor AI were not enough of a concern to me to overcome the fact that the combination of action, management and strategy is compelling and entertaining. It is a game to which I will return, soon and often.

If you prefer to stick to GTA, be my guest. I acknowledge GTA's popularity, but it doesn't appeal to me.

OptimusP 20 Apr 2009 10:14
I agree with DoctorDee, there are many games that some people still like even if it receives bad scores by a lot of people. Alien Syndrome is loved by quite some few for example. I loved Gotcha Force even if it was a pile of primitive everything.

Hell, there are guys who love Wee Cheer because the incredible accurate motions the game forces you to do.

The real problem this industry/press and gamers has is a lack of perspective.
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