Review by nwowwe723

"The Godfather: An offer you shouldn't refuse"

It's been pretty well established that video games and movies don't' tend to mix well. Whether it be games made into movies or movies made into games. While there has been the occasional exception, Goldeneye 007 perhaps being the most notable example, games based on movies generally range from terrible to simply forgettable. Most of the time this is a direct result of the game being a tie-in to a film currently in theaters and so the game is rushed out to capitalize on it while it's still high in the public mind. Occasionally however, we get games based on films that have been released well beforehand, and that is the subject here: The Godfather: The Game. It's worth noting that The Godfather has been released one almost every platform available in the past decade or so. Debuting on the PS2 (and then Xbox) and then getting updated rereleases on the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii and the PS3, and there was even a modified version for the PSP. As such, The Godfather certainly didn't have the compressed release schedule that most movie-game tie-ins have.

Being based on one of the most critically acclaimed films of all time, The Godfather does a decent job of translating the story of the movie into a playable format. Instead of controlling a character from the movie, you take control of a completely original character who takes part in several iconic scenes from the movie and also expanding on events only mentioned. For the most part however the events of the film take a backseat to storyline of your character slowly working his way up the ranks of the Corleone family. In essence this game isn't so much a retelling of the movie as part of a larger story that is the mythos of The Godfather. Purists may complain that the game doesn't center around an established character like Michael Corleone, but making an action oriented game like The Godfather with Michael as the playable character would undoubtedly tarnish the spirit of the movie far worse then they could ever claim this game does.

Arguments about the story could rage back and forth endlessly, but that misses out on perhaps an even more important question: is the game fun to play and the answer is yes. The game does a good job capturing the 40s and 50s atmosphere with everything from the clothes people wear to the way the buildings and cars look. The Godfather features 5 different classes of guns that can be upgraded to more powerful (and sometimes comically absurd) versions by finding the right black market vendor. The controls are fairly intuitive no matter which platform you happen to be playing on, and with all the different controllers they have to be mapped to that's no small feat. One of the only real weak spots is the targeting system which has a tendency to be a bit erratic, especially when there are multiple enemies in the area (but how many 3rd person shooters don't have similar problems?). The controls on the Wii are undoubtedly the best of any of the releases. EA really did a good job integrating the motion controls to bring an enjoyable gaming experience. There are plenty of creative ways to finish off your enemies with the variety of firearms, melee weapons and even the environment at large.

Now starting out as a PS2 release, the visuals of the game won't compare to contemporary games when you look at the current-gen rereleases, but they remain adequate. Most of the iconic characters from the film are given photo-realistic face scans that look fairly good. Most of the building interiors are recycled from a handful of different layouts, but it isn't the first (nor the last) game to do this. The enemy AI is fairly aggressive (these are mobsters after all) and can be a bit cheap at times, particularly in regards to spawn points, but not so much as to be in detriment to the gameplay. Musically, a great deal of the iconic soundtrack from the film makes it into the game as well as some original compositions that match up with the established soundtrack fairly well. Of course the Godfather soundtrack is iconic and it retains its full effectiveness here. There are a handful of period songs thrown in here and there, but not much attention is given to them. The overall gameplay experience should be fairly familiar to fans of the GTA series in that both are open sandbox-style games.

While The Godfather: The Game isn't to games what The Godfather film is to movies, it is an enjoyable game to play. In terms of comparison, it's probably closer to the summer popcorn action film: something that is designed for fun but that won't win over people looking for something deep and meaningful. It's definitely worth a look if you are a fan of the sandbox genre.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/13/12

Game Release: The Godfather (US, 09/19/06)

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