Open world games based on the gangster lifestyle have become anything but innovating, and almost all of them are held up to the standard which Grand Theft Auto presents with every addition to the series. So far, none of the open world games which have been released have been able to meet that mark which GTA sets. With the release of the Godfather, it is clear that Grand Theft Auto is still the Godfather of open world gaming.
The Godfather loosely follows the storyline of the 1972 movie it is based on. Those that have seen the movie will see some of the memorable scenes played out in front of you. Your character is a child whose life was greatly impacted by a mafia shootout at a young age. Skip a few years ahead, and he is a young man on a quest for vengeance. Soon he’ll find himself in the ranks with the Corleone family on a mission to run NYC. Of mention is the use of “MobFace” technology, which has basically been ported from the “Tiger Woods” series into all of EA’s games. You can make your mobster look however you want (while remaining in the spirit of the theme).
The storyline itself was pretty good, although almost every mission went like this: Go blow something up/kill someone, get in a car, and drive as fast as you can to a safehouse. While you’re driving, random barricades will magically appear and cars will magically catch up to the fastest sportscar on the game and ram you. It got really frustrating constantly having to dodge cars which shouldn’t have been able to catch up to me.
In addition to the missions you’ll get to participate in “Hits” which are essentially: Walk into store, shoot target in face, then walk out the backdoor while a few mafia members shoot at you. Drive away and you’re done. Some are more elaborate, but for most that is the extent of things. Lastly, you can perform “Favors” for fellow members of the Corleone family. These follow about the same trends as missions do, although sometimes a bit more intricate.
Gameplay itself is typical of what has been done in most open world shooters. You can move around NYC in any of the 5 areas: New Jersey, Hells Kitchen, Brooklyn, Little Italy, and Midtown. Each has a different feel to it overall, but it seems like a lot of the textures were re-used in multiple areas, so the entire game ends up looking drab and repetitive. On top of that, nearly 3/4 of the buildings cannot be entered, and in the ones you can enter you can extort the business owner and possibly take control of a racket there too. The issue is, the interior designs get incredibly repetitive to a point where I know the blueprint of the building as I enter it. Even the warehouses scattered across the city tend to follow the exact same structure.
Aiming is handled by an auto targeting system, leaving only a few times in the game in which you’ll need to actually use the manual aim. The targeting is usually pretty good, but sometimes when the enemies are ducking in and out of cover very fast you won’t be able to get any shots in with auto aim. You can also take cover on almost every wall, targeting people who you can’t even really see popping out, and getting easy headshot kills. Running through enemy warehouses became really easy due to this, and ended up requiring almost no skill to win in shootouts.
There are just 5 guns in the game: Small Handgun, Pistol, Magnum, Machinegun, and Shotgun. Each gun has 3 levels which you can purchase, changing the weapon in some cases, but they are basically the same. As you can guess, all 3 pistols fire almost the exact same, and there is little difference in using them because all of your shots will be headshots anyways. In addition to the guns, you’ll find a lot of melee weapons scattered about, but are basically useless since you could be using a gun easily.
The melee system is rather innovative when fighting with your hands. You can click both control sticks to start choking your enemy, silently taking them down. You can also target them and box them much like EA’s “Fight Night Round 3″, using the motions of the stick to determine which punch you throw. For example, pushing the stick up will jab, while going from right and turning it up will do a hook. It isn’t quite as in depth as the Fight Night system, understandably, but it is still pretty fun.
There are 4 other families you can take out in your conquest to become the Don of NYC. To do this, you need to raid the enemy compounds and blow them up. This is a fairly easy task once you’ve got a few fully upgraded weapons. I found it rather dumb that you don’t have to do anything to the 20+ businesses in each area in order to take over the area. The only purpose extorting businesses has is to get a little bit more money every pay week. But the amount is so minute compared to the money you receive from doing missions, hits, and favors that it isn’t worth the time.
For those that have played the non-next gen version, in this one you’ll get a handful of new missions, some new hits, and a few new places to extort; nothing really to warrant buying the next gen version and playing through again. But if you do want to pick the game up, get the 360 version.
The game’s graphics are poor in general, involving a lot of repeat textures and a very low draw distance (the distance at which content is loaded). You’ll have cars popping out of nowhere in front of you, leaving you moments to avoid them. The main cast has some nice character models, as does your own character, but as a whole the character models aren’t that great. I felt like I was playing an Xbox game, which isn’t surprising since this is basically a port from the Xbox version.
The cast’s voices are almost all done by their original actors from the movie, and the voice acting is among the best I’ve heard when playing a video game. On a whole, the sound quality is near perfect.
As far as replayability is concerned, I had trouble wanting to play more than the main mission once I was finished. I don’t see how people would enjoy running around and going into businesses which feel as if you’ve already extorted them. Someone with a lot of time on their hands may enjoy owning every business and region of NYC. But most aren’t that way and will just play through the 12-15 hour campaign.
The Godfather is another open world game which falls short of the mark Grand Theft Auto made. It captures a lot of the spirit of the movie, but fails to match the gameplay standards which we’ve come to expect of an open world shooter. Buy this for memories of the movie, or just go rent the movie and watch it. Either one will give the same result only one will cost you $5 and the other $50. Take your pick.
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