The Godfather: Mob Wars Review

Movies and video games are often viewed as two mediums that should never mix, and given the abysmal failure of Doom at the box office and Fantastic Four on consoles, that’s perfectly understandable. However, things can change and though the thought of an enjoyable video game movie may always be a distant dream so long as Uwe Boll is around, it cannot be denied that the steady advances being made in technology are giving developers a better chance at offering adaptations worthy of their cinematic counterparts. The Godfather: Mob Wars for the PSP is a great example of what kind of quality we can expect in terms of visuals and narrative with higher production values. Unfortunately, very little effort was seemingly put forth by Electronic Arts in bringing the gameplay up to par with Phillip Campbell’s incredibly well written storyline. While this certainly doesn’t mean that it is a failure by all accounts, it does come up rather disappointingly short of expectations.

Unlike other console versions, The Godfather for the PSP completely removes the aspect of free roaming, leaving players with only one clear-cut path in beating the game. In its stead, they’ve introduced an exclusive card-based strategy game dubbed Mob Wars (hence the name). This completely separate mode allows you to control all of the Corleone family’s assets, and use it to essentially take down the rest of the rival families. In any given turn, you can draw a set of cards, hire goons of varying levels to defend your territory, invade other areas, and/or initiate card attacks. While the concept of this game does sound interesting on paper, the fact of the matter is that it simply has nothing to do with the story arc. Considering that the game progresses in such a linear fashion, it doesn’t make any lick of sense that you’re given complete control of everything so early on. What’s more, there’s no possibility of being able to move about the city, so you’ll neither be able to see the effects of your actions nor the growth of your empire. Had Mob Wars been more properly linked to the actual story mode, it could have been a very interesting and enjoyable feature.

Probably one of the best things about the game is the new and original plot, which puts players in the role of a vengeful son seeking justice for his father, a murdered Corleone family associate. Many years have passed after the incident, and eventually you start mixing with the wrong crowd. Your mother, worried about your well being, pleads with Don Vito Corleone to intervene and set you back on the right path. Not able to deny a request on the day of his daughter’s wedding, he obliges and sends Luca Brasi, who later saves your life when he finds you being beaten by petty thugs. After being rescued, you’ll begin your training as an up-and-coming mafioso by partaking in a few introductory missions which will help you become better acquainted with the basics.

The game controls are fairly simple and relatively easy to memorize, but it’s a sloppy execution at best. Locking onto targets with the left trigger does not always work properly, and in many fights, if you spot an enemy and tag him too quickly, you’ll end up firing straight into the ground. Of course, there is always the option of manually aiming your shots for more precision, but it’s hardly practical for large scale firefights since you have to sacrifice movement. Regular problems also occur when you try to step out from behind a wall and fire at an enemy hiding on the same side. For example, if your character is hugging the wall on the right side of a door frame, and you happen to lock onto a target that is standing in the right of the room, you won’t be able to peek out far enough to shoot him, although he will be able to hit you. The game is also prone to hangups lasting anywhere from a split second to nearly four. It all can get very frustrating at times, but with a little practice and patience, you can learn to get better at gunfights and the problems won’t be as apparent, although there really is no way to get past the frequent lockups. Hand-to-hand combat, in contrast, is straightforward and surprisingly intuitive, although a bit complicated. The basic grab will be the foundation for many of your moves, and it can be initiated by holding the left and right triggers. Depending on what you press afterwards, you can perform a wide variety of moves from strangulation to throws. There are also execution commands available that can allow you to quickly, and sometimes brutally, dispose of your victims. It’s all quite morbidly entertaining.

One of the more interesting features of the game involves your character’s ability to intimidate and extort other people. How difficult that can be depends on two primary factors: your reputation and your victim’s threshold level. Those who don’t offer up much resistance can simply be talked down, while others may have to be threatened with violence. Depending on the person, it can also be a combination of the two – but whatever the situation, it’s always critical that you never push them too far as it can sometimes result in retaliation. Unfortunately, many players will find out very quickly that it doesn’t take more than some patience and a simple process to accomplish these goals and, eventually, they will have no problem taking their victims to the cleaners.

The game tends to suffer from some heavy glitching at times. Characters will occasionally float during cutscenes, enemies will pass through objects and other characters, and bullets will penetrate solid metal walls without inflicting any damage. In spite of all that, however, The Godfather: Mob Wars ranks itself among some of the most beautifully designed titles ever to be released on the PSP. Levels, such as Jack Woltz’ manor, are recreated with a high level of detail, and characters like Don Vito Corleone, Tom Hagen and Luca Brasi are practically a spitting image of the real thing. It definitely doesn’t hurt that many of the movie’s actors have lent their voices to the game, either.

Despite The Godfather: Mob Wars’ impressive visuals, voice acting and decent attempt to offer a dynamically different experience from other console versions, awkwardly mapped controls, an uninspired mini-game, recurring bugs and an overall lack of depth keep it from being a truly unique handheld experience. That being said, it still is a moderately enjoyable game that should appeal to casual gamers looking for something to play during their free time.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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