Review: Godfather II

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Movies that are made into games simply suck. They are made to capitalize on the marketing hype of the movie and they are always rushed. The Godfather II was released YEARS ago…1974 to be exact! So with this game, there’s no movie tie in marketing, no rushed work and no buggy engine. This game was made to retell the story from a different point of view and for once, they got it right.

GF2 puts you right into the story arc of the film. You start off as a Don called Dominic who works for Michael Corleone. You have to build your own family by taking out the opposition. You build crime rings, embezzle money, do odd jobs and murder enemies to move up the crime ladder. All of this happens in the background of the GF2 storyline. How cool is that?

There are tons of options in GF2. You can customize your character to look the way you want. Mine was the first black Don of the Corleone family. You can use what is called the Don’s View to keep track of everything that’s going on in the city. The family view is setup like a hierarchy. You can upgrade your family members, give them weapons, increase their skills or send them to defend one of your businesses. You can also monitor all of your collectibles, which is an assortment of items and weapons you’ve found.

As you earn money from your businesses, it’s all tracked under your financials. This gives you details on your income and expenses. This is tracked daily. Since you must hire guards to protect all your businesses, you have to pay them. This can get costly so make sure you don’t over protect your businesses. You want to earn a profit to buy upgrades and hire more family members.

Graphically Godfather II is commendable. It’s not as good looking as GTAIV, but it comes close in some areas. The characters look very good and they’re animated smoothly. Sadly, while this is an open world game with driving elements, driving is not fun at all. The streets are short and crowded and you can never really pick up much speed. This isn’t GTA though and there’s not much of a need for speeding. The driving element is there to get you from point A to point B.

There are certain gameplay elements that are really annoying. For instance, what’s the sense of trying to sweet talk a prostitute if you can’t close the deal or bring her into your storyline? At least you should be able to take her out on a date and bring her into the family. When you sweet talk them you either get a good or bad response and that’s it. It’s really a waste of time and I have no idea why it’s in the game.

There are a ton of options in the Don’s view and it can be daunting. It’s somewhat intuitive but you can easily get lost in the menus trying to figure everything out. Once you do, you’ll pretty much stick to what you need to know. If you are a stat collector there are some nice stats to keep track of, but most of us just want to finish the game.

My last gripe is the amount of detail that was put into missions where you have to trash establishments. First off, having to trash your own property is ridiculous. I walked into my own place and lit the bar on fire. It allowed me to get further in the game but it just doesn’t make sense to trash your own property. This behavior would not be allowed in the Godfather universe. Also, burning the bar is all I did. I don’t really consider that trashing a place. On some missions breaking one glass is enough to qualify for ‘trashing’.

The biggest draw of the game is the story. It goes places that I wish GTAIV went. In GTAIV you have to deal with the minutia of dating or constantly driving your cousin around. I think this is the reason so many got turned off of GTAIV. In GFII, everything you do progresses you in the storyline or the goal of the game. The biggest thing for me however, is creating my own version of the movie by playing the game. This is something newcomers to the world of Godfather won’t have the pleasure of realizing.

Godfather II was a commendable effort by EA. It’s got a great story, great gameplay and enough options to keep you busy for weeks. It’s one of the first movie to game tie-ins that plays really well. While it does have some rough edges, fans of the film and open world games will love it.

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