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Platform
PlayStation 2

 

Genre
Action

 

Publisher
Sierra

 

Developer
Radical Entertainment

 

ESRB
M (Mature)

 

Released

October 2006

 

 

- Superb voice cast

- Excellent music

- Enough gore and foul language to make you think DePalma directed the game

 

 

- Uninspired gameplay

- Tedious NPC interaction mechanism

 

 

Review: Scarface: The World is Yours (XB)

Review: The Godfather: The Game (XB)

Review: The Godfather: The Game (PS2)

Review: Grand Theft Auto Double Pack (XB)

DVD Review: Scarface: Platinum Edition

 

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Scarface: The World Is Yours

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

scarface the world is yours           scarface the world is yours

 

First, a full disclosure statement: I've never seen Scarface.  I've seen clips, I've seen it advertised half a million times on Spike TV, but I've never actually sat down and watched it.  That being said, I have done some research which has helped me establish the events in the film and how the events in the game relate to that.

Scarface: The World Is Yours is the latest in games which are derived from gangster films.  The game kicks off with a recreation of the climactic gun battle at the end of the film.  However, instead of dying in a hail of gunfire, Tony Montana survives (barely) and finds a nice shady spot to lay low, recuperate, and plot his revenge.  Hey, he took over Miami once, he can do it again, right?  As you play Tony Montana, you cruise around Miami circa 1980, getting back in touch with some old contacts, working your way back into the scene as the man who can deliver the coke, and taking out all of your old business partners who screwed you over by hiring Bolivian gunslingers to snuff you.  It's violent, it's foul mouthed, and it's over the top.

 

I hate to say it, but it's also been done before.

 

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For those of you who've played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you'll be in very familiar territory here.  So familiar, you'll think "Hey, I know that hotel!"  Yes, GTA: VC was inspired by and an homage to Scarface the movie, along with Miami Vice and that period in Miami history where the cocaine cowboys shot it out on a regular basis.  Scarface the game apes a lot of Vice City's

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gameplay when it comes to tooling around town and the atmosphere it creates, though it goes for a far more realistic and gritty feeling as opposed to Vice City's more stylized color pallette.  There are illegal street races to be run.  There are roving bands of gangbangers that you can either bust a cap in or stare down.  There are high speed chases from the cops when you go nuts with a MAC-10 in the street.  Highly reminiscent of Vice City, perhaps overly so.

 

There are some distinctly unique kinks in Scarface which set it apart from Vice City.  Part of becoming the king of the cocaine cowboys is rebuilding your castle, which gets trashed in the opening shootout sequence.  As you progress through the game, earning money and rebuilding your rep as a badass coke kingpin, you can redecorate your pad with all manner of furniture and accoutrements, from jukeboxes and humidors to more sentimental items like the ashes of loved ones.  You'll also be able to purchase a wide array of cars and speedboats, take over numerous "legitimate" businesses to help cover your activities, and hire a variety of flunkies who'll do everything from bring the limo around to blow away the competition for you.  But, as in all things, you have to start small: building up influence and securing turf from the rival gangs, doing people favors in order to prove that you're cool and worth doing business with, and paying off Vice so they don't bust you after you redecorate a building in an interesting new color scheme called "hint of intestines."

 

scarface the world is yours          scarface the world is yours

 

So, what's good about the PS2 version of Scarface?  It plays very smoothly and there is very little in the way of stutter or slowdown when you have multiple enemies and effects filling the screen.  The soundtrack is almost worth the price of admission on its own, with an eclectic blend of 80's rock, hip-hop, reggae, and country.  In addition to the licensed tunes, Jay-Z provides Scarface with an original soundtrack that sounds fantastic.  The voice cast is top notch, though only two of the original actors from the film appear in the game.  Al Pacino does not reprise his role as Tony Montana;  that honor goes to Andre Sogliuzzo, who does a very good imitation of Pacino from twenty-five years back.  As I mentioned, the game's dialogue is definitely not for those with virgin ears.  Expect various conjugations of the "F" word throughout the game, including when you fail a mission.

 

The faults in Scarface lie in three key areas.  The first is the PS2 hardware itself.  Character models, while fairly well detailed, are a little on the blocky side and there's a distinct repetition in skins for the NPCs.  Moreover, Tony himself seems to have his wardrobe pre-determined based on your stature in the game.  The ability to play around with Tony's threads and dictate your own sense of cool (ala Saint's Row) would have been nice.  The second major fault is in Scarface's thoroughly annoying NPC interaction system.  I thought Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was obscure, but Scarface takes the cake for its method of interaction.  Whenever you're talking to an NPC for a specific reason (buying coke, selling coke, intimidating some punk getting in your face), you have to perform a function similar to the swing simulator found in golf games.  When you're trying to build up cash in the early stages of the game, buying and selling by performing the same little "press and release" function just to get the most amount of coke for your money and vice versa is enough to drive you nuts.  It reduces the potential to demonstrate how much of a badass Tony Montana can be down to simple hand-eye coordination.  After a couple cocaine runs, you'll likely walk away for a few hours just to cleanse the aftertaste of tedium from your mouth.  The third and final fault, as I said earlier, is the distinct feeling that you've done this before.  It is perhaps a painful jest that Scarface the game can't get out of the shadow of Vice City, even though both of them owe a great deal to Scarface the movie.

 

For those of you diehard fans who can quote Scarface the same way other people quote Monty Python, Scarface: The World Is Yours is exactly the game you've been waiting for for the last quarter century.  Those of you who're not quite so zealous will find a pretty good GTA-style action game with plenty of style, but nothing that you haven't seen already.

 

- Axel Cushing

(November 2, 2006)

 

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