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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action Adventure

 

Publisher

Sierra

 

Developer

Radical Entertainment

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 10, 2006

 

 

- The setting and storyline are perfect for the “What if…?” premise

- Looks great (but the PC version looks even better)

- The satellite phone means you’re never without a ride or access to your empire

- Buying all that cool stuff

- Voice work and soundtrack is excellent

 

 

- Choppy animation at times

- It’s relatively easy to lodge vehicles into environmental objects which almost always means the car will explode, taking Tony with it

- Confusing city street layout

- "Golf swing" mini-game for dealing and intimidating got on my nerves

- Some repetition when it comes to missions

 

 

Review: The Godfather: The Game (XB)

Review: True Crime: Streets of LA (XB)

Review: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)

DVD Review: Scarface: Platinum Edition

 

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Scarface: The World is Yours

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the woman."

           - Tony Montana

 

Scarface: The World is Yours hinges on a "What if...?" scenario stemming from the terrible climax of the film.  Instead of being riddled with bullets and blasted in the spine at close range with a shotgun and then splashing into a pool, what if Tony escaped?  If Tony managed to escape, what would be his next step?  How would he go about re-claiming his criminal empire?

 

scarface the world is yours          scarface the world is yours

 

In the unlikely event that you're unfamiliar with the film on which The World is Yours takes its cues from, Scarface tells the story of a violent Cuban criminal, Tony Montana, that makes his way to the United States, where he quickly works his way up the ladder of the criminal underworld.  Once reaching the plateau, Tony finds his life completely unfulfilled, even with a fortune, the trappings of wealth, and Michelle Pfieffer for his wife.  On top of that he begins snorting as much cocaine as he sells and his heightened paranoia and insane rages eventually leads him to his downfall.  The game begins seconds before the end of the film, his mansion under siege by a Bolivian hit squad sent by a no-nonsense cocaine supplier, Alejandro Sosa.  You take control of Tony, as unsavory as a criminal can be, just before he's blasted into oblivion.  He escapes with his life (and a gun, of course) and vows to rebuild his criminal empire and get revenge on Sosa.

 

"All I have in this world is my balls, and my word, and I don't break 'em for no one."

          - Tony Montana

 

Radical Entertainment has built the game around Tony Montana's personality, as such there's much swearing – so much so, that I found my own everyday vocabulary changing – and the machismo practically drips off the screen.  Plus, Radical has gone out their way to replicate Tony's insane greed.  Early in the

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game, Tony gains access to an "exotics" catalogue which allows him to purchase, via a clunky satellite phone, just about anything he wants, including a massive list of vehicles (including boats) and various goons that will bring said vehicles to wherever Tony is, as well as not so useful furnishings for his mansion, like plastic pelicans, which

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increase Tony's reputation (another important mechanic in the game).  These items aren't free though, which is where the drug economy of The World is Yours comes into play.

 

Plain and simple, the economy is all about drugs and keeping the heat of rivals and law enforcement off your back.  Tony needs to secure supplies of cocaine for distribution to dealers and fronts throughout the city, which he then sells for massive amounts of cash.  Tony starts small with local deals but toward the end of the game he has control of his own production plants in the outlying islands and must manage an empire of store fronts, which can fall under attack from rival crime bosses.  Gaining control of these fronts and clearing out rival gangs forms the bulwark of gameplay.  Usually before buying a front Tony has to complete some minor errand for the store owner, like blowing up waves of gangsters that have been terrorizing a drive-in theater. (As another level of strategy and more stuff to blow money on, Tony can upgrade each front with extra security and even hired guns.)  For a sandbox type game, it actually gets relatively complicated toward the end, but there’s still a ton of action.

 

scarface the world is yours          scarface the world is yours

 

One of the sources of dissatisfaction with the GTA series is that the combat is stiff and imprecise.  The World is Yours features a lock-on system which helps in both ranged and melee fighting in that while locked-on Tony can target specific body parts with the right stick.  It certainly helps with ammo conservation during the trickier encounters, and it also helps when building up Tony's balls.  Tony's balls meter is added to every time Tony caps an opponent, drives dangerously, or taunts opponents as they die.  Once the balls meter is full, Tony can enter a short burst of first-person Blind Rage, where he becomes invincible, ammo is unlimited, and every enemy Tony kills boosts his health.  While it might feel contrived in any other game, it fits within the Scarface universe, but even better it maintains the overall pace of combat.  (And yes, you can find a sperm bank and empty your balls meter for some instant cash.)

 

David McKenna, the pen behind screenplays for American History X, Blow and SWAT, produced an original storyline for The World is Yours, and for the main story points it certainly feels like an "expert" has helped the project, taking characters mentioned in the film but never seen and injecting them into the game without feeling like the characters were shoe-horned in to keep fans satisfied.  Some of the non-story missions come off a bit clunky in their repetitive nature, but the overall feeling is that a bunch of competent people collaborated on its execution.  And it doesn't hurt that the list of voice actors is about as long as your arm.  Besides the stellar work by Andre Sogliuzzo (channeling a mid '80s Al Pacino), the list also includes such notables as James Woods, Michael York, Cheech Marin, Bam Margera, and Ricky Gervais, as well as some of the film cast, Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer.  There is a truckload of dialogue and almost all of it is above the video game average.  It's not all found in the cutscenes either; 250 NPCs can be tapped for unique conversations. Most of these encounters are tinged with humor.  (Keep in mind that Radical Entertainment is a Canadian company, so that may help with some of the references, "curling" in particular.)

 

Before reaching into the downsides of Scarface: The World is Yours, there are some other positives that should be mentioned, like the fact Tony can access his arsenal through car trunks (no more running off to a gun shop).  Purchasing certain henchmen open up “non-Tony” missions; you’re still working for Tony, but you’re playing much dirtier.  (It’s hard to believe but there are some things Tony Montana just won’t do.)  There are many places to save Tony’s progress up the criminal ladder, not just a few safe houses.  The soundtrack options are incredibly deep.  Though it doesn’t support custom tracks, there are 120 tracks from various genres, eras, and artists; to put it all together players can try out the Mix Tape feature which allows a high degree of flexibility when it comes to what music you want to hear.

 

scarface the world is yours          scarface the world is yours

 

Scarface: The World is Yours pushes the Xbox hardware almost to breaking point – moving between indoor and outdoor areas is seamless, no loads whatsoever, and with the amount of detail the game pushes this accomplishment alone is an achievement.   Though it may pale a little when compared to the likes of Saint’s Row (on Xbox 360), it looks very good, particularly if you can run it at 720p.  The framerate does get chunky at times, but it’s usually not distracting.

 

“You know what capitalism is? Gettin’ f*****.”

        - Tony Montana

 

No game is without its blemishes, no matter how polished or cool it is, and Scarface: The World is Yours is no exception.

 

Though Tony Montana’s 1980’s Miami is a great place to explore, the layout is often confusing as hell.  Until you become more familiar with each area, you’ll spend a lot of time flipping between the action and the map screen.  There are also shortcuts (that are not marked on the map) that cut down on the amount of driving, but that still doesn’t mean you can drive in a straight line to the next objective.  And on more than a few occasions I managed to lodge vehicles in various objects, which almost always resulted in massive damage to the vehicle and/or an explosion which instantly kills Tony if he’s too close.  When Tony dies he loses any cash he hasn’t laundered and any cocaine he has so when these “mishaps” crop up its cause for much aggravation if you haven’t saved recently.  The golf swing-like mini-game involved with dealing coke and intimidating people started to get on my nerves.  You hold down “B” and the “swing” starts, then let go when you hit the sweet spot.  Getting the timing right is crucial to maximizing profits, but I would have appreciated a bit of randomness as to how often it shows up.

 

Sounds good, looks good, takes about 40 – 50 hours from start to finish (plus more to complete the game 100%), it’s filled with action, and is a good time for those that like being a criminal in a virtual sandbox.  It has its shortcomings, but they don't outweigh the cool factor of playing as a philosophical, potty-mouthed, drug-dealing kingpin while wearing the most ridiculous fashions the ‘80s had to offer and doing it all while driving a Caddy with a leopard skin interior.

 

- Omni

(October 11, 2006)

 

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