The Godfather 2
|a game by||Electronic Arts Redwood Shores Studio|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||6.5/10 - 31 votes|
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|See also:||Third-Person Shooter, The Godfather Games|
If I Can reach and intimidate the owner of La Maison Rouge, New York's swankiest titty bar, then I'll be running the city's prostitution ring. With that comes "perks", if you know what I'm sayin'? That's right! It unlocks the brass knuckles. So I ordered my demolitions expert to blow open the back entrance to the brothel, frantically whistling at him and my henchman to draw them away from the bomb, around which they were scurrying fervently.
Once we made it inside, the terrified girls began pawing at the wallpaper, trapped in an absurd, looping animation. Guards poured out of doorways, standing next to my soldiers before realising what was happening. My shotgun had stopped making noises by this point, and so each blast appeared to be an elaborate, bloodless miming routine. Once I'd reached Lady Vaughn, the proprietor of the filthy business, I began to put the pressure on. Grabbing Vaughn by the shoulders, the game helpfully announced I'd found the woman's weakness: punches. Aha! She soon folded under my punching might, and La Maison Rouge fell under the protection of the Steve Family. Later on the game would spawn my car on top of me.
That's The Godfather II summed up in a single mission. A poor man's GTA with some clever ideas laid on top. This is a highly ambitious sequel, and the features EA have introduced are intriguing, and absolutely engaging when they work as intended. You're the Don of your own family, starting out with some low-level muscle you hire based on their skill set -demolition, arson, safecracking, or kicking people in the face. These men can be upgraded with cash to increase their health, their specialities, or perhaps shortening the time they spend in prison. They can also be promoted through the family, from soldier to Capo, to your most trusted advisor - your Consigliere.
Locations in the game's three cities can be owned. Bars and restaurants operate as fronts, bringing in money, while brothels and other key locations operate as part of a larger crime ring -own the whole set and you reap rewards, such as body armour, armoured cars, and the brass knuckles I mentioned. Opposing families will post guards at these places in order to hold on to them; your property once you've taken over. Taking over is a matter of getting through whatever defences exist, and smacking the owner until they agree that they need protection.
The game's strategic options are unexpectedly complex, you can even send your made men - trusted Family members - off to capture territories i without you, and to defend them if your guards are losing the fight You're always warned when an attack is taking place, as well as how many enemies and guards are at that location. Your rival family's made men can be murdered, but only in a specific manner - anything,else and they'll merely be hospitalised.
To find out how they should be killed, you've got to do favours for randoms in the street who'll then hand over the relevant information. Why wandering pedestrians hold this intelligence, and why you can't beat them into submission like everybody else remains a mystery. Killing rivals' made men is optional, though it'll make the eradication of a family considerably easier.
Sadly, the management aspect of Godfather Il ls completely undermined the rest of the game. The driving is shoddy, as cars feel weightless and handle like shopping trolleys; shootouts are fidgety and awkward; the Al embarrasses itself at every turn by ignoring enemies and running in circles; visually the world is bereft of detail and utterly lifeless; and the cities are tiny when compared to the genre incumbent Grand Theft Auto IV. The underlying game here is, without a doubt poor.
Redwood's ambition should be celebrated though, and you'll find yourself just about able to persevere with the wanky car handling. There's a great feeling of progression to be had in gradually tightening your grip on a city, and the payoff once you're in total control is satisfyingly explosive.
The Godfather II is an improvement over its predecessor, though that's hardly a gratuitous compliment. How about this - The Godfather II is surprisingly not as plain as you might have thought it would be, all things considered. Especially when you make, as I've done here, a really stupid looking character so that every cutscene becomes ridiculously comical.
You don't look like any kind of Don I've ever seen...
While the game follows the plot of the movie to a certain degree - familiar characters and events from The Godfather: Part II will appear - you don't play any of the major characters. Instead you play the part of Dominic, who's more 'made-up man' than 'made man'.
You can customise your character's appearance in a variety of different ways: hairstyle jaw line, skin colour, etc and they'll trot about during the cutscenes like some kind of wacky clown child.
Remaining true to the movie though, is the violent and ruthless executions. Our favourite is, naturally, the Tommy Gun in the mouth, though the baseball bat (also in the mouth) is a fun way to off someone too.