Review by jadedMac
"EA took it to the mattresses."
Let it be known that before playing this game, I had never either seen the movie or read the book. Now let it be known that after playing it, I have rented the movie and borrowed the book from my library. The Godfather, for those who find theirselves in my position, is a tale an Italian Mafia family in the 1940s and 50s. Lately there are two types of movie based games: Cheap action titles that take all of five hours and a thumb to beat, and games that take the lisence and expand upon it. The Godfather truly belongs to the latter. You do not take on the titular role or even one of the secondary characters from the film.
The Godfather's unique approach to the title is thus: You start by creating a guy who is down on his luck and into trouble. Your dad was killed 10 years ago and you've been promised revenge as a child by Don Vito Corleone, his Mafioso leader. While getting your butt handed to you in a backalley when a mafia strongman comes to your rescue on orders from The Godfather himself. You then begin your climb to the top of the Corleone Crime Syndicate, having a hand in more than a few of the films more memorable themes.
The Story is amazing, having come straight from the film with no changes at all (minus a few scene edits here and there to accomodate your character's presence.) Although it is not required by any means, seeing the movie can help to explain in greater detail some of the reasons you have to do certain things in the game (a few plot elements of the movie are not used in the game simply because they have nothing to do with your character himself, who is pretty much just one of the tertiary thugs for most of the game).
The gameplay in this has a few problems that keep it from being truly perfect. The major problem is the driving. It is fun, fast, and furious, but then at the same time it is a little bland when compared to the rest of the game. There are maybe 4 car models in the entire game, and some of these handle very well, almost too well, in fact. The driving areas are often times a breeze, making the difficulty seem uneven when compared to the heated firefights you can find yourself in. The other flaw is that sometimes the targeting system, which is incredibly fun when it is working (which is 99% of the time), can sometimes seem a little out of whack. For example, if there is a guy reloading down the hall but also one five feet beside you shooting at you and taking your health down, your character will fail to realize this and you'll have to turn full circle just to target him. There is also a free-aim mode, but this is only good for when you know that nobody is about to sneak up on you.
Thats about it for the bad parts. The Controls themselves are very solid all around, and the thing has a lot to do in the downtime between missions, such as bank robberies (deviously fun to plan and execute) and extortion (which uses a system similar to The Punisher to frighten your victims) The hand to hand and melee fighting use a system very similar to Fight Night Round 3, where you use the L trigger to target and the right thumbstick to attack or dodge. This works well.
Also, though you can only start by creating his appearance, you can eventually earn enough money to upgrade your mafioso's wardrobe with a selection of nice suits and dressy-type clothes. This is fun when you first purchase them but ultimately the selection is a bit limited and not as robust as the appearance editor. However it's large enough that you can have some fun with it.
I am really torn with the graphics here.The main characters (including yours) look incredible. With the exception of one character whose actor would not return to the role, everybody looks almost exactly like their real-life counterpart. Even the NPCs (albeit with alot of repetition) look pretty good. The problem with this repetition, however, presents itself in the interior design. Alot of the interiors are used over and over again, so that every bakery, tobacco shop/barber is set up the same, though bars and hotels have a few different setups. This is somewhat understandable as the game has no load times except during cutscenes and when you first load your game from the menu. Still, less repetition would have done a better job.
The Guns, the Cars, the Voiceovers. They are all very very good, and with the exception of a few deceased (R.I.P.) and an unwilling actor, all of the actors return to their roles. The NPC dialogue can be a bit sketchy or even cheesey but it still charms me to hear "Pubububublease don't hurt me!"
All in all: 9/10
The Godfather is a great game with a couple of very minor issues. The Gameplay and Story are the shining stars, and it can make a fan out of the uninitiated. Go ahead. If you buy it, it won't fail to entertain... now thats an offer you can't refuse.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 04/21/06
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