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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA LA

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 18, 2006

 

 

- Playing in the shadow of the events of the film was a great choice

- A huge cityscape to explore

- Extras include clips from the original film

- Solid shooting, fighting, and driving controls

- If you've played a Grand Theft Auto game, it's easy to get right into the action

 

 

- A few bugs

- City is almost too big for its own good

- Cookie cutter interior areas

- Will scream "Me Too!" to diehard GTA fans

 

 

Review: The Godfather: The Game (XB)

Review: The Godfather: The Game (PS2)

Review: Grand Theft Auto Double Pack (XB)

Review: True Crime: Streets of LA (XB)

 

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The Godfather: The Game

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Based upon the movie, which was based upon the novel by Mario Puzo, published way back in 1972, The Godfather: The Game recaps the main events of the film with your character acting in the background of all those instantly recognizable scenes from the film (and more).  Sneaking around the palatial mansion of Hollywood producer Woltz to deliver a (dripping) package; the meeting between Sollozo, Michael Corleone and the police Captain that ended with a bang and brains splattered on walls; repaying Paulie's disloyalty; watching Luca Brasi take his dying breaths (something I always thought he deserved -- he had his own baby thrown into a furnace!); and going to the mattresses in a bloody gang war; if it was part of the film it seems to be jammed into the game. (It doesn't stick to the source material at all costs, there are some liberties taken.)  If you're a fan, it's pretty fun stuff, even if the main story arch is over so damn quick.

 

the godfather the game          the godfather the game

 

In the spirit of the sandbox Grand Theft Auto games, the world of The Godfather is a sprawling 1940's New York, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, businesses to extort, rackets to discover, "jobs" to complete, different outfits to buy, cops to bribe, hoods to plug, warehouses to demolish, friends to make, banks to rob, and vehicles to hijack.  It's all in the name of working yourself up the Family ladder, to gain respect (experience points put toward five different character attributes, like Shooting), and, ultimately, becoming the Don.

 

The Godfather includes both melee combat and gunplay, and both are implemented in such a way as to make it both easy to use and satisfying when you pull off the more complicated moves, like heaving your opponent against walls.  While holding down the left trigger, the selected enemy remains firmly in your sights while you wail away using the right stick.  Normally, I loathe having to use the stick to direct attacks but here it feels like a natural way to execute the moves -- jabbing by simply pushing up repeatedly, throwing punches by leaning back and plowing it into an opponent's face by pulling back on the stick then flipping it forward, or a combination thereof.  Though you can enter a 3rd Person free aim mode for more accuracy when a gun is necessary, simply locking on and 

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pressing the right trigger and possibly adjusting the crosshair to hit specific areas of your target.

 

The assortment of weapons should satisfy everyone.  Besides the old standbys like the Tommy gun, snub nose pistol, Magnum, and garrote, you'll also have access to Molotov cocktails, flaming 2x4s, dynamite, and explosives powerful enough to wipe out pretty much anything.  Some of these items can be upgraded by finding

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black market contacts which are scattered all over the city.  And while these items are all useful in taking out opposing Family members, one should not overlook the more straightforward approach: running them over with your car.  For more precision strikes though, nothing beats paying off the cops, contracting some muscle to help, and approaching possible targets on the sneak.

 

You save your progress at safe houses located throughout the city and during story missions a checkpoint system is used so that you're not stuck with replaying the entire mission because you died at the end.  It works really well, but I may only be saying this because the last two 360 games I played were Dead Rising and Ninety-Nine Nights, which feature frustrating save options.

 

There is a constant stream of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic throughout the city.  There are 14 different vehicles, from quick, sporty coupes to lumbering delivery trucks, but in a city so big, you would think there would have been more variety.  The same can be said of most of the interior areas which all seem to be cut from the same cloth but because you move from exterior to interior with absolutely no loading, it's a trade-off that's almost forgiveable.  Which brings me to the somewhat uneven graphical package of The Godfather: The Game.

 

the godfather the game          the godfather the game

 

Vehicles look like they were pulled directly from a Dick Tracy comic book.  Bold, solid colors without the same kind of grittiness found throughout the rest of the game certainly makes the cars and trucks easier to see, but it just doesn't match-up.  There is noticeable pop-up when driving around and if you stand around long enough you'll see other weird pops and glitches.  The world has at least two holes in it, one of which I found trying to escape a bank after blowing the vault open.  I crouched on the stairs, got stuck as a hail of police bullets ripped into me, then I started falling, falling into an abyss... hmmmm... maybe the developers were just being existential.  The character creation is a great feature at the beginning but I managed to create a hood whose eyes continually bugged out of his head, looking more wacky than threatening.  However, compared to the Xbox and Playstation 2 games, the Xbox 360 version is the best looking, particularly the explosions.

 

The Godfather: The Game also features the likenesses of many of the actors from the film, including Marlon Brando (Vito Corleone), James Caan (Sonny Corleone), and Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen).

 

One misstep that could be addressed in future Godfather games -- a sequel is all but assured, check our Q&A -- is a robust soundtrack.  Music from the late 1940's and early 1950s might not be as catchy to modern ears as the latest Shakira or Jessica Simpson or whatever the hell teenagers are listening to these days, but it would help establish time and place.  Period cars and clothing is one thing, backing it up with appropriate music would have been nice.  What music there is seems to be pulled directly from The Godfather soundtrack and although it's haunting it does get a little tired.

 

As a game, and more accurately, as a game based on a movie, The Godfather: The Game turns out to be relatively good; on its own merits, not just because its set in the Godfather universe.  It's part of the "thug in a sandbox" action genre, so if you don't mind playing a criminal and can accept a few minor bugs here and there, The Godfather: The Game is a solid title.

 

- Omni

(September 22, 2006)

 

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