The Godfather: The Game
The First Two Godfather films sit atop the tallest of the celluloid trees, so it's no small task for EA Redwood Shores, the in-house studio previously involved with the Tiger Woods and James Bond franchises, to convert it into 3D accelerated form.
So lias EA noticed just how much GTA sells and it now wants a piece of the action? Were horses' heads left on pillows until developers qot the picture? David De Martini, the game's executive producer, claims it was nothing so sinister.
"When you look at The Godfather, there's only about ten action-oriented sequences in it. So the approach we aqreed with Paramount was that we wanted to create The Godfather living world, not necessarily a 'movie qame'. You're handed very specific moments from the film, so well intersect and wrap around The Godfather story, both the movie and book,"
Snch lineage gives yon some impressive co-stars, namely Robert Duvall, James Caan and the late Marlon Brando, wlw lent their likenesses and recorded dialogue for the game - altliough Brando was so ill, he may now be replaced with a voice actor. Frankly, sticking Michael Ironside or David Ducltovny on the box and claiming you've got an all-star cast doesn't have quite the same impact.
"If you think of the most familiar scenes from the film, they'll be there, but presented to you in an organic way," enthuses De Martini. "So, you're not going to be able to select a Horse's Head mission, but you will be involved in the liorse's head activity. "You start the game as one of the Corleone children, so there's a lot of pre- and post-story surrounding scenes in the movie that you get the opportunity to play out. So when Sonny (Caan) gets shot. you won't be able to stop that, but there were things leading up to it that are alluded to in the book but not the movie... These are the kinds of activities you'll be involved in However, respect and revenge were arguably only a small part of the film's power. Far more important was Michael Corleone's conversion from blue-eyed war hero to ice-cold gangster. Was all this lost when Al Pacino refused to be featured? (The Michael character remains, but looks and sounds different.)
"We didn't get his likeness," concedes De Martini. "We got every other actor and it's hard to say why Pacino didn't want to do a deal. However, we've associated some of those characteristics with your character, who parallels the path of Michael to some degree - you ex|x?riei)ce betrayal and loss too." Chin-stroking industry watchers like what we are, meanwhile, might wonder if Pacino's refusal to take part was more to do with the upcoming Scarface game - to which he most definitely has lent his likeness...
However, as far as Godfather action is concerned there's plenty of it, and on two strategic levels. The Open World game has nine tough neighbourhoods to control, five warring families and 200 interactive building locations - often housing some racket or other for you to disrupt or take over with characteristic GTA stylings. Above this, meanwhile, lies a Risk-style strategy game where you try to weaken the other families block by block.
"It's your job to gain respect, money and territory - there's always a dominant family in every neighbourhood and when you've taken over all their businesses, only then will it become Corleone. As you take over these interactive spaces, you weaken these families and can then go after their borough strongholds such as New Jersey and Brooklyn."
Despite real, valid efforts to keep the game within the rich backdrop of the Godfather movies, the nature of mass-market gaming will inevitably clash with those who know the value of celluloid. Since we've played Mafia though, we know that subtle and intelligent treatments of organised crime are possible. It appears this is the direction EA is heading towards, rather than a bland exploit 'em up. Here's hoping.
Download The Godfather: The Game
The Mafia, Eh? When they're not extorting money from local businesses, they're taking mistresses and killing each other in front of the kids. It's a romantic world, the most famous and well-respected film of which - after Mickey Blue Eyes of course - is The Godfather. You know the film even if you haven't seen it Mention Francis Ford Coppola to a newborn infant, and he or she will say: "The one with the horse's head and the silent scream in the third film, right?"
Making a game of a film with such awesome stature could be seen as needless. This isn't Star Wars - there's no pod racing and Cantina Dance Dance Revolution included for the benefit of the games industry. Yet EA has taken it upon itself to bend the GTA formula to the plot of the film, add protection rackets and release The Godfather: The Game.
If you love the film, you'll feel an immediate sense of relief when you start the game - the facial detail is excellent. The cut-scenes are well-acted and lip-synched, as you've every right to expect with the late Brando on-board.
But as you go through the training missions, this relief will become muddled with a mild sense of discomfort The hand-to-hand combat system is plainly designed for the analogue sticks of a console controller. Pull back to raise your fist push forward to punch. Sounds intuitive. But translate that motion to a mouse, make it wildly unresponsive, and you'll need a square metre of desk space just to accommodate your own dumb flailing. The keyboard alternatives amount to a mute 'sorry about the mouse thing', and it's a real shame, because what could have been a natural way to chuck people around their own shop has been coated in treacly faff and fed to a fat clumsy idiot.
Extortion gives you a regular income to back up your mission earnings, and to get businesses under your wing, you have to 'negotiate' with the owner. Raise your fist, smash up the shop, kneecap a customer, it all serves to up your earnings (provided you don't go too far). It gives a good sense of progress, seeing the mini-map change as your empire grows. But as the only distinguishing feature between this and superior titles, it's just not enough.
My involvement in the game was constantly broken by stupid oversights. I spent the last of my money bribing an officer, yet somehow had the cash Luca needed to complete the mission. I drove over a member of the Corleone family, and he responded with a cheerful "watch out for this guy - lie's going places". And my personal beef - vocal NPCs. Give them a wider range or shut them up. In five minutes of play, I heard. "Have you ever been to Topeka?" nearly 300 times. Maybe four.
I know they're not real people, I really do, it's just the sign of a great game when these possibilities are taken into account This is based on a 34-year-old masterpiece, so it has a positive duty to be great, or not use the name. And it's not It's not great at all. I wanted so badly to be enjoying myself, with all the effort that had gone into the characters and likenesses, but I wasn't allowed to. And now I am cross.
Six dusty baps please
And don't think I'll be paying...
Being a baker in the late 1940s wasn't easy. Yeast was scarce and flour had been replaced by its cheaper sister, sand. Also, bread was illegal. The reason people flocked to the profession was the hats, the arousing mushroom shape attracting dozens of potential mates and providing the perfect hiding place for a single bowling skittle. This explains why bakers hang around in groups of ten (unless it's your second go).
Grand Theft Auto's got the 1980s and '90s covered, and the Don's not about to start a turf war, so his game hearkens back to the '40s and '50s, when cars were black and suits were brown, but green (money) and red (blood) still determined who's king of the streets. The game's story line weaves in and out of the events in the classic Mario Puzo book and Coppola film of the same name.
The GTA games are big'uns, with new areas or cities to open up as you progress and enough minigames and side activities to keep the violence-lovin' corrupt youth of America busy for weeks and weeks. And while The Godfather seems more epic because of its grand Mafia tale, it also feels more limited in scope. From what I've seen so far, the very brown, old-timey New York doesn't seem to offer much in terms of variety in environments, but in the final game, you'll see more of the city as you take over territories from rival families. Side missions include breaking up illegal rackets (to make them your own, of course) and "convincing" local shops that you're their new landlord and need the rent money, but you won't be playing basketball or lifting weights here-- everything fits into the Godfather context.
Combat's the best part of The Godfather so far. You can target and shoot individual body parts, which is no big deal. But when it's time to get up close and personal, you have several melee options: throw a guy against a wall or off the roof, punch with quick jabs or giant haymakers...even choke a guy to death while feeling his heartbeat fade through your controller's vibrations.
It isn't that often I get a chance to revisit a title, but it is always a great chance to reexamine old ideas. To that end, I'd like to point you at our reviews for the PS2 and Xbox version of this game. I though that this game was good the first time I played it and this is no different. What is different is that it's even better this time.
Most of the game is identical to the original versions, as the alterations made for the Xbox 360 seem to revolve around small enhancements that improve the game play already there. First, you'll find additional missions to extend the length of the game. You can now hire other members of the family to assist you in battle, making some of the harder combats much easier. There's more to do when extorting business, an overall graphical upgrade, more appearance options, and you can even bribe cops to fight for you. All in all, some really excellent changes.
None of this would matter much, if it weren't for the presentation. The game does look better, and from what I could tell by comparison, it also offered a longer draw distance. There's something nice about looking at the Empire State Building from a couple of miles away. For a real bang, light something up and watch it explode. It looks really amazing now.
From an audio perspective, I've revised my previous opinion. The dialogue is as strong as ever, and there's much to be said for the Godfather theme running throughout the game, but I've learned something in my time playing sandbox titles. I really think that something like the radio from GTA is an important part of any of these games. Lacking anything to run in the background, it's like there's a distinct absence from the game. As if an important character is nowhere to be seen. I know that the timeline of the game would've made it difficult to include some sort of background chatter system, but I think it is quite important.
All in all, this is a good game. With the little additions, I'd say that this is definitely the version to own, as it simply has that much more to offer.
the Godfather is one of those movies that defines modern cinema. A tale of loyalty and respect set within the world of organized crime. The movie has become an American icon, ensuring that anything that bears its name will be held to the highest scrutiny imaginable. This rings especially true in the world of videogames, where the fans can be a jaded and discerning lot, likewise ensuring that The Godfather, the videogame bearing the movie's name, has some awfully big shoes to fill.
The Godfather is essentially Grand Theft Auto set in the world of the Corleone family. In typical GTA-influenced fashion, you can roam the streets of little Italy, causing havoc with your fists and six-shooters while jacking cars to run over pedestrians in a completely nonchalant manner ' and all without giving the main storyline much attention. Its stuff you've all seen before, sure, but The Godfather ups the ante a bit by using the movie license extremely well.
While the videogame doesn't take you through the movie's main storyline or let you play as any of the main characters found in the movie, it does answer questions not addressed in the movie. Ever wondered, for instance, about the origins of that famed horse head? Well, that, along with many other small tidbits is answered within the game, ensuring that any buffs of the movie will absolutely eat up every moment in the game.
Plus, the mechanics of the game are all pretty sharp, too. The various controls are all fairly tight (the gunplay especially so), which is better than most GTA-inspired game can say. The missions are, for the most part, well-structured, with a few really notable moments pepped throughout the game. There's a few times when the game really hits its stride, offering up an engrossing experience when you play a key role at pivotal moments in the movie.
The visuals and audio do a decent job of creating a believable world found in The Godfather. The visuals won't blow you away, but they're also not distracting, except in cases where the likeness of a character isn't used (as with Al Pacion's character). The audio is a bit hit and miss, as well, with some excellent voice-acting provided by the late Marlon Brando, but in cases where the original actor weren't used, it suffers notably.
The Godfather had some big shoes to fill, and in many ways, it did a great job. Fans of the movie can't go wrong here, and likewise, fans of free-roaming, non-linear action titles have a lot to love here as well. It might not be an offer you can outright refuse, but it comes pretty close.
At first I had memories of every franchise title that had come before. Blade 2. Enter the Matrix. ET. Shocking, horrifying games that served only to teach us that movies and video games don't mix. It wasn't until I remembered Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, one of the few successes that I stopped sweating in fear.
Fortunately, it looks like Godfather is well worth playing. This game has two things going for it right off the bat. First, it was designed to be at least a pseudo-sandbox title, following in the tradition of games like Grand Theft Auto, which promised a great deal of freedom. Second, the Godfather was filmed over twenty years ago, so the risk of a game pushed out as part of a gigantic marketing is minimal, although I do smell a DVD box set somewhere on the horizon. With those elements in mind, I dove in, and joined the Corleone family.
I'm glad to say that this game does not forget that like all gamers, you are men (and women) of action. Instead of walking you through a calmly paced, occasionally tense New York from the film, you'll have all sorts of ways to smash and crash your way through this game. Gameplay gets broken up between extortion and missions surrounding the film narrative, and for the most part this works. You might be a little disappointed in the treatment the film narrative receives, but on the whole, I think the developers succeeded at making this game an entertaining experience in its own right. The controls aren't always the best, as cars can be a serious pain to drive, but the game has a good lock-on gunfight system that makes it easy to take part in a firefight and also cap your opponents in vital areas. Fistfighting is also cool, since you can really hammer on an opponent, going so far as to even strangle them, if they disrespect you.
Once again the original Xbox shows its age and maturity all in one title. You can tell exactly how far we've come in the difference between this game and your average Xbox 360 title, but that doesn't stop The Godfather from looking gorgeous. With voice acting that, to my knowledge, uses some of the actors from the film, and a soundtrack that would've made Ol' Vito himself proud, there's a nice degree of immersion you can get just from watching the cutscenes.
Although I'm suspicious of the game's length, as I unfortunately wasn't able to play it to conclusion as of yet, even if it's a short title, I'm already enamored of it. This game is good, hands down, and you won't do wrong putting your money on it.