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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Redwood Shores

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 20, 2007

 

 

- Driving using a Wiimote/Nunchuk combo is much more responsive and improved from earlier renditions

- Surprising amount of new and improved features

 

 

- Fighting controls are too effective while Free Aim shooting is too frustratingly ineffective (although lock-on shooting more than atones for that “crime”)

- Not exactly the prettiest dame in the brothel

- While there’s plenty of new features, if you’ve already played earlier versions of The Godfather, novelty of Wiimote/Nunchuk controls isn’t much of a reason to get this edition

 

 

Review: The Godfather (360)

Review: The Godfather (PS2)

Review: The Godfather: Mob Wars (PSP)

 

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The Godfather: Blackhand Edition

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

The Wii has followed in the footsteps of all its Nintendo predecessors: from the NES to the Nintendo 64, to the GameCube, to even the Game Boy variations and the DS, every Nintendo system has the reputation as being the family-friendly console of choice, perfect for familial gaming sessions. That’s especially true for the Wii and its innovative Wiimote and Nunchuk motion-sensitive controls providing gaming fun for families with titles such as WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Rayman Raving Rabbids, Wii Sports and Wii Play.

 

godfather blackhand edition          godfather blackhand edition

 

It’s not the system you expect to see the definitively M-rated The Godfather: Blackhand Edition, which copies the Grand Theft Auto open-sandbox gameplay featuring an anti-hero leading character. Blood, beatings and bullets all around, this is most definitely not the typical Wii game.

 

An offshoot of last fall’s The Godfather for the Xbox and PS2 (with other versions appearing on the PSP, PC, Xbox 360 and most recently the PS3), The Godfather: Blackhand Edition may not be perfectly suited for the Wii-playing family. But it

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does provide plenty of punch for any Wii player looking for a mature foray into the Family led by the infamous Don Corleone.

 

Just like the earlier games, The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is based on the Oscar-winning Godfather film. You are a low-ranking mobster straight out of Brooklyn looking to work your way up the family ladder to reach the role

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of Don in New York circa 1945-1955. The Corleone storyline is perfectly woven into the gameplay, securing itself a footnote in the Godfather’s tale. Plenty of actors that were in The Godfather film trilogy lend their voice and likeness, from the late Marlon Brando to James Caan to Robert Duvall. The Godfather story is only the backdrop in the game, serving as the background for each and every character, as you play a GTA-style sandbox adventure in the middle of the War of the Five Families spread throughout the various districts of New York and New Jersey .

 

By far the most appealing draw to The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is the Blackhand Control that takes full advantage of the originality of the Wii’s controls using the Wiimote/Nunchuk. The controls are slightly uneven, however. Using the controls to slug it out during fights gives you an almost unfair advantage, because the Wii’s motion sensing is too sensitive, enough so that you’ll inflict rapid-fire fists of fury upon your opponent/victim. The other controls (grabbing, throwing, weapon selection) work as they should, without an advantage or disadvantage provided to either the game’s A.I. or you.

 

Another major control component also has both positive and negative aspects. With the lock-on targeting, you won’t notice much, if any, drop in shooting accuracy and effectiveness from any other Godfather title. However, I wouldn’t recommend switching to Free Aim shooting, because this is where the Wiimote can become a drunken sailor, with little steadiness or accurate targeting. Until (or if) you can get a true feel for using the Wiimote to aim and shoot (and that’s no easy task, even for shooter-game veterans), you’re better off avoiding the Free Aim and sticking to lock-on gunplay.

 

godfather blackhand edition          godfather blackhand edition

 

Driving is vastly improved from my time behind the wheel in both the PS2 and Xbox Godfather titles. Even though you’ll be using a combo of the Wiimote and Nunchuk to drive the streets of New York , steering, braking and accelerating is really much better than expected.

 

Beyond the unique controls, what stands out in The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is the almost ridiculous amount of add-ons to the gameplay. There’s so much more in The Godfather: Blackhand Edition than in any prior title: more weapons, stories, favors, attacks, family compounds, destructible objects, execution styles and nearly twice as many missions than previously. Some of the most deviously addictive activities are hijacking rival mob trucks and heisting banks of their loot. If you haven’t played a Godfather game before, then the Wii version, which provides exponentially more GTA-similar, sandbox-style gaming than you might have anticipated, is the perfect chapter to introduce you to The Godfather gaming lore.

 

One area that doesn’t improve from any other version is the graphics. Nintendo freely admits that its Wii gaming library won’t provide gamers with the same level of next-generation graphical prowess of the Xbox 360 and PS3. And The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is clearly not the prettiest dame in the brothel, with ugly, dully colored and muddied graphics along with sometimes jerky animation. Especially noticeable here is a constant occurrence of clipping, with buildings materializing out of thin air on the horizon when you’re driving.

 

With a surprisingly large upgrade of the gameplay offerings, including generally good (although too easy/too difficult at times) Wii-centric controls, if you haven’t been “made” in any other version of The Godfather, the Wii version certainly is a perfect way to learn the Corleone “family business” for the Mature-aged gamer.

 

- Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(April 11, 2007)

 

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