The Godfather Review

Releasing on the heels of Saints Row comes The Godfather, an overhauled version of the current-gen sandbox Godfather title. While it’s still the same core game, you’ll find plenty of new features and improvements upon issues with the current-gen version. Godfather fans and action game fans alike should definitely give The Godfather a look – but they should also be wary of a few key issues the game still suffers from.

The Godfather is one of the greatest movies ever made, and the game makes wonderful use of the franchise. Voiceovers were recorded by Robert Duvall, James Caan and of course, Marlon Brando for the Godfather himself. It really pays off to have that original cast lend their voice. When you walk up to Don Corleone and hear Marlon Brando’s voice, you really can become immersed in this 1940s/50s environment. The entire experience seems very authentic and is one of the better aspects of The Godfather.

The game’s storyline basically parallels that of the movie, placing you right in the midst of all the major events of the classic film. You begin as the son of a deceased member of the Corleone family, involved in foolish gang activities. Luca Brasi of the Corleones saves your life, and takes you under his wing as he intuitively teaches you how to play the game.

You won’t be playing as a character from the movie, which is mostly advantageous. While you won’t be involved in the exact capacity that characters from the film were, you’re able to participate in virtually any event that occurs due to no character limitations. Not only that, but you’re free to design your character as you see fit. Want a fat mobster who wears suspenders and has tiny eyes and a huge mouth? Go for it. Bald guy with huge eyebrows and a suit? Be my guest. The character customization is very in-depth, and while it doesn’t offer quite as much as Oblivion did, it still beats the system found in Saints Row.

Both your character and other NPCs are nicely modeled, with several features new to the Xbox 360 version of The Godfather making them truly shine. There are loads of new animations to help give characters a more lifelike feel. Self shadowing characters are new to the 360 version, but the most noticeable and nicest graphical feature is the persistent facial damage. Get into a fistfight, and expect to see results: your character’s face will bruise, and unlike most games, the aesthetic damage that your character suffers won’t magically disappear a moment later. It will take several hours of in-game time before you see the bruises begin to fade away.

While the voice work is top notch, the actual speaking part on behalf of the character models suffers a bit. Their lips do clearly show what words are being said, but they have this mechanical quality that looks very unnatural; it’s almost as if their heads were ripped off of a speaking robot from an old Disney attraction.

Unlike Saints Row and other GTA-inspired titles, driving is a fairly minor affair in comparison with the on-foot action. In fact, while you are free to do whatever you want, the driving seems like nothing more than an afterthought. Even with four new cars, the grand total only adds up to a measly 14. The Godfather luckily doesn’t suffer from GTA-syndrome, where the car you’re driving is suddenly the only thing to be spotted on the road – but that’s only because there is such a major lack of variety among the vehicles. On the upside, cars do feel and handle fairly well, so chases with the police can be pretty intense.

Initially, The Godfather may seem like it’s a huge recreation of 1940s New York, and to an extent, it is. However, once you spend enough time exploring, you’ll realize how extremely linear the roads are, and how limited your actual exploration space is. Sure, this is NYC, but Grand Theft Auto III was able to give you a very large, open city to delve into. The number of roads are limited, and what is there is extremely linear and you’re constantly forced to traverse the same roads over and over because there is no other route.

The Godfather’s fighting system is extremely easy to use, yet allows for a lot to be accomplished. Targeting is done with the left trigger, while the right analog stick is used for all of your melee attacks. Clicking both analog sticks allows you to choke your opponent, and using a variety of triggers and analog stick movements, you can slam your target into cash registers, throw them out windows and execute them. Executions have been beefed up, more than doubling the previous total to a respectable number of 47. These include a Steven Seagal-esque neck breaker and weapon specific attacks such as shooting the enemy in the head point blank with your weapon. Each is very rewarding to pull off, and requires nothing more than a press of the right bumper.

You’ll find that the game paces you nicely between story missions, hits, favors and extortions. You’re free to pick and choose what sort of task you wish to do whenever you want to do it, although the best way to go about it is to complete a variety of different tasks. Focusing on one particular type of activity will end in a snooze-fest. Story missions progress you through the main campaign and story of The Godfather, while hits and favors are side-missions that act as a distraction from the story.

Extortion plays a main part in The Godfather, as completing these will help you to become the Don of NYC, and more immediately, earn you a nice consistent flow of cash. The basic premise is to take over as many businesses as possible for the Corleones, by forcing the owner to pay you protection money. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, from punching or choking the owner to damaging the store. Initially, this seemed to be the funnest portion of the game, but whereas story missions and hits have a specific goal, you’re effectively doing the same exact thing every single time you extort a business. The formula is simple: intimidate the owner, get him to pay, and then if there is a racket inside (an illegal casino or business going on behind the scenes) assault it and pay off the leader to earn more cash. Even with 10 different ways to extort a business, it boils down to the exact same process, and it becomes fairly repetitive after taking over several businesses.

Speaking of which, repetitiveness is what plagues The Godfather’s music. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderfully done and sets the mood extremely well, but when you hear the same battle theme each time you get into a fight, you’ll wonder why there isn’t some more variety. Compound that with the repetitive nature of extortions, and you’re facing a pretty dull task in taking over a business.

The biggest question surrounding The Godfather on the Xbox 360 is whether or not it’s worth a purchase to owners of a current-gen version. It’s not easy to give a direct answer, as fans of the movie or the current-gen version of the game will most likely want to give the game a look. Given the innovation and online multiplayer found in Saints Row, The Godfather falls short of being the superior sandbox title on 360. It’s definitely a quality game that Xbox 360 owners shouldn’t be quick to pass over, but if you were annoyed by the game’s repetitiveness or didn’t enjoy The Godfather in your first go around, then there isn’t enough here to warrant a purchase.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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