Guild's The Godfather: Blackhand Edition Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    May seem a little random, but this game is definitely worth a review. All I can say is break out the Louisville Sluggers and Tommy guns, 'cause this is a Wii game worth a play and a half.

    <div align="center"><img src="http://wiimedia.ign.com/wii/image/article/762/762503/the-godfather-blackhand-edition-20070207050744846_640w.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /></div>

    Movie to video game adaptations nowadays are usually pretty rough. They're nothing more than cheap marketing tools to get people to see a movie or to milk people who already saw a movie and loved it. But a few years ago, there was a sudden emergence of video game adaptations of three older movies: Scarface, The Warriors, and this, The Godfather, considered by some to be the greatest movie ever made. And really, it is a great movie, quite possibly the best ever made. And I have to say, EA really did a good job avoiding the pitfalls of most movie games and paid their respects to the Corleones in this game.

    Instead of stepping in the shoes of one of the main Godfather characters, you instead take the role of a Corleone enforcer, whose name and identity are up to you. You can customize your character greatly to fit your preference. It really makes a nice touch here. I have to say, I made my character a dead-on look alike of the great Billy Mays. Big black beard, blue shirt, tan pants, slicked back black hair, everything. It's great seeing him beat the crap out of people. Anyway, while the story isn't a first person of The Godfather, it follows the plot of the movie. You'll be there in many of the famous scenes. I think they did a great job of incorporating spiffy action into non-action filled sequences, since instead of altering the plot like most movie games do, they simply fill in the blank spots that they decided not to add to the movie. You'll be hiding the gun behind the toilet for Michael, you'll witness the death of Sonny Corleone, and you'll see the Don get shot. It stays true to the story while helping create it's own, and that's something hard to do for movie to video game adaptations. It's a very nice positive and a great way to set you in the mafia ruled, feuding New York of the mid-1940's.

    The gameplay I guess you could classify as a "GTA clone", but that doesn't do it justice. It's open world and such, but it's got a surprising amount of depth that not even GTA can do. Outside of completing the main story, you've got a slew of other things to do, mainly controlling New York City against 4 other families. To do this, you mainly have to control shops and rackets, whether it be through friendly negotiation or force. Some shop owners are giddy to get protection from the Don; others are firmly in the grasp of the other families. Hustling control of a business is a very nice mechanic that works great. Each shop owner has a pressure meter and a weakness. The pressure meter has to be filled to a certain level before they will accept your offer. You do this by essentially threatening them, whether it be verbal threats, physical threats (punching and stuff), or other methods (threatening innocents, breaking items in the shop, brandishing a firearm, etc). Rackets, on the other hand, can be instantly bought out for a price or you can scare the owner into giving it to you (usually this happens if you have to take over an enemy controlled store and racket by shooting all the guards and such). Again, another great mechanic that improves the game greatly. There's also hit missions you can take, which are simple assassination stuff. However, if you want to get more money and respect (more on respect later) for each hit mission, you'll need to kill the guy in the requested way. There's a varieties of requests you'll get, from beating them to death, shooting them, throwing them off a roof, and chucking their sorry ass into an oven. These missions are fun and add some much loved action to the game. You can finally engage in mob wars if you gain too much vendetta against another family (you get vendetta from killing gang members, taking over shops, etc). Mob wars really are tough, I have to say, and almost a detraction from the game. When in a mob war, you'll face constant attacks from the rival family, whether it be drive-bys in cars, or having random members on the street blow you away with shotguns. At times, it just feels too much, and it seems almost a necessity to either hire a massive squad to protect you or to barricade yourself for the half hour or so that the war lasts. And in order to win a war, you need to bomb a warehouse of the rival family, which is no easy feat. They're heavily guarded, and coming across bombs aren't easy either. You also can't lose the vendetta easily, so starting a mob war can happen from something as simple as accidentally running over a bad guy. And I have to bring up this again, but the enemy mobs are relentless in finding you and gunning you down. One time, I was just leaving one of my safehouses (basically where you save and store ammo), I walk out the door, and get gunned down in 5 seconds. I had no time to run to a car, run back inside, anything. And with an endless stream of guys trying to chase you down, you'll get incredibly pissed off after you're tenth car full of baddies try to gun you down. If you eventually do some painstaking research and preparation, mob wars can be a lot of fun, but if you don't want to, their nothing than a big needle in your ball sack.The normal, story missions are also pretty nice and diverse, although are pretty heavy on driving. You'll accompany the Corleone gang on lots of their famous escapades and gain their trust and become one of their own. Some missions are your basic shoot 'em up, some are driving missions (whether it be chasing or chauffeuring), and there's even a sprinkle of stealth missions. With this, you'll earn respect and go through the levels of the Corleone family. As you gain respect, you get some RPG-like leveling up, improving lots of different aspects about your character, from negotiation skills to driving to shooting to hand-to-hand combat. You can also partake in being an "operator" by bribing and blackmailing the police. Apparently every cop in 1940's New York is as crooked as Richard Nixon's cock, so you can find any boobie on the street to pay a few hundred bucks to. Bribes increase your Bribe Meter, which will, as long as it has some funds in it, force the cops in the bribed area to lay off your back and even help you out. On the subject of cops, I really miss having epic police chases in this game. The cops will chase you if you have enough warning, but that's pretty damn hard to do unless you decide to gun down a bunch of coppers drive over every pedestrian you can find. Basically, unless you want a chase, you won't get one. It seems like the cops are nothing but essentially henchmen in this game, and the real force to deal with is the other families instead.

    For the core gameplay itself, The Godfather works great on the Wii, surprisingly. Yes, it's very waggle heavy, but it pulls off the waggle great. Hand-to-hand combat is incredibly in depth, providing tons of accurate motions. You can also do a variety of things when you grab people, such as throw them, slam them against a wall or counter, punch them while holding them, choke them, and even chuck them through a window or off a roof top. And I tell ya, throwing a prostitute through a window is fun as hell. Gunplay is just as good as well, using both a lock-on and free aim mode. Lock on requires very little motion control and instantly locks onto the dead center of a target, and it cycles through targets easy. It's great for just shooting up a room full of unsuspecting guys. However, the free range controls utilizes Wiimote aiming for pinpoint accuracy, and works well for hitting key areas that affect a baddie. Shooting a shoulder will make a bad guy drop his gun, shooting his leg will make him drop to the floor, and shooting his head will result in a "boom headshot" instant kill. Another pro with guns is the ease of switching weapons. Simply hold the C button and move the analog stick to choose which weapon to use. There's a Magnum revolver, a snub nose handgun, a shotgun, and a Tommy gun. There's also hand-to-hand weapons such as a baseball bat, golf club, or garrote wire. You can also use explosives like Molotov cocktails or dynamite, which can be switched to by holding C and using the D-Pad. And since you can use a cover mechanic, shootouts are great fun and realistic. You can't always barge into a room and shoot everyone dead while taking a few bullets. You gotta use strategy and be prepared. The other major part of the game is driving, which is nice and smooth. There's no goofy motion controls here, just plain analog stick moving. Powersliding also works well and is great for keeping your speed up in chases. Together, the gameplay and mechanics all work great and hand-in-hand. The main drag about the game is just the lack of diversity in its environments. It seems like practically every store has the same layout and looks exactly the same. So you'll find yourself finding cover behind the same box more than a few times and negotiating in what looks like the same store a lot of the time. I'll go more in depth about that in Graphics.

    The graphics are the main weak point of The Godfather. As you could tell from the screenshot, this isn't a pretty game at all. It's quite ugly. It lacks a lot of texture. Sure, the Wii is pretty weak on texture, but even this is bad. Practically nothing in the way of lighting effects or grittiness. It does have a nice, lively world to navigate and it never drops a single frame in speed, but it still doesn't stop an ugly game. The environments are also incredibly repetitive too. A lot of them are reused time after time. When it's not reused, it's incredibly similar. There's not a lot in the way of distinguishing features in locations, and navigation requires a map. The main thing you'll also notice is the difference from Michael Corleone's model in the game compared to his character in the film. There's a large difference, mainly because Pacino didn't lend out his likeliness to the game (he did it for Scarface, however). The audio, on the other hand, is pretty nice. Quite a few actors from the original film come back, and while they're still 30 years older from their original times, they aged well with their voices. Compared to Sean Connery reprising his role as the old James Bond in From Russia With Love, it's a nice touch. You're still missing keynote voice over work from Al Pacino (Michael), Marlin Brando (The Don, although he did do a small piece in the game), and John Cazale (Fredo). Their replacements aren't bad (although I found Brando's too be pretty mediocre), but you can tell it's not them. They were able to nab the famous Godfather music, however, in particular the original theme. The rest of the music is very fitting to The Godfather and its environments. Explosions and minor voice over work are also pretty well done.

    Overall, if you're a fan of open world games and/or enjoy The Godfather, this game is for you. With in-depth, mafia mechanics, great Wii-exclusive controls and content, and a great use of The Godfather name and universe, it truly does make this a proud moment for movie to video game adaptations. While you do have to cope with some shit graphics and some annoying mob war mechanics, the overall package outweighs these nuisances.

    <b>Presentation</b>: It keeps very true to The Godfather's original story without butchering it, and it creates a world like no other. You'll go through the key plot twists and points of the movie while still having the freedom of an open world. If movie games want to get better, look no farther. Menus are easy to navigate, although I found some loading times to be annoying (this could be because I was playing off a burned disc). <b>9/10</b>

    <b>Graphics</b>: I won't lie, they're pretty shitty. Lacking in detail, lacking in lighting effects and overall "zazz". Locations and models are reused heavily. The environments are full of cars and people, though. <b>5/10</b>

    <b>Audio</b>: Most of the original cast reprise their roles for voice over work, but still missing some keynote work from Pacino and Brando. Still, for actors who have since aged 30 years, they voice over work sounds very nice. The imitators are a mixed bag. The original Godfather soundtrack, including its classic theme, are used to great extent and bring the world to life. Sound effects and other minor voice over work are decent, just nothing impressive. <b>8.5/10</b>

    <b>Gameplay</b>: A great open world that takes a lot of GTA-esque mechanics while adding something entirely unique. An in-depth system of bribery, negotiation, and racketeering come together with top-notch waggle-controlled hand-to-hand combat and pointer-controlled shooting. Leveling up and going through the ranks of the Corleones is great fun. Mob wars can be incredibly annoying at times, however. A lack of large cop interaction and some repetitive environments also hurt. However, these all become minor issues when compared to the more-than-solid gameplay and mechanics. <b>9/10</b>

    <b>Lasting Appeal</b>: Like most open world games, there's a lot to do. Hit jobs, negotiations, leveling through the ranks, etc. There's also plenty of reason to replay, as finding the hidden extras (such as bags of money in missions and the 100 film reels in the city) and getting perfect marks on all the missions is a lot to strive for. The feuding between the families also means there's almost always a business to take over or a mob war to fight. <b>9.5/10</b>

    Overall: <b>8.6/10</b>

    Kinda a random review, but I started playing this again and it's great fun.
     
  2. DeltaBurnt

    Member DeltaBurnt I'm bored

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    I admire your ability to sit down and write reviews to the end and not be distracted by things like new anime episodes ( [​IMG] ).
     
  3. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Well, I don't really have a whole lot to do on a day off and I don't watch new anime episodes. Most of the anime I've watched/am watching finished long ago.
     
  4. Hadrian

    Former Staff Hadrian Better than Craigslist

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    Loved this game, so much more than 3D GTA's. Also I found that things like driving have been improved on the Wii version, didn't like it on the Xbox.

    This Scarface, Rogue Trooper & Resident Evil 4 show that with some good effort games can be ported well to the Wii, they really show how shit Ubisoft & Activision are when they ported a shit ton of games during the Wii's first year.
     
  5. saxamo

    Member saxamo Spaaaaace!

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    I've heard much about this but I will have to go out and try it for myself! Thanks!
     
  6. DeltaBurnt

    Member DeltaBurnt I'm bored

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    Even if I have no anime to watch I end up just playing Left 4 Dead xD

    Maybe my lazyness will pass like most phases do...

    Anyways, good review. Where the hell is your Sands of Destruction review?
     
  7. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Lol, I forgot about that one. I just kinda lost interest with the game. I guess I can write a review if I push myself to play a little more.
     
  8. DeltaBurnt

    Member DeltaBurnt I'm bored

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    I actually never knew about the game until you said you were planning a review for it.
     
  9. X D D X

    Member X D D X GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    What a coincidence! I was just about to get this. I've been meaning to play this for so long.

    The graphics didn't seem that bad from the videos I saw. I though the explosions looked pretty cool. Guess i'll have to wait till I play it myself.
     
  10. Gore

    Member Gore GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    One thing which bothered me was the fact that you need to go to your safehouse to save and there is no overlying map or a map.. "widget".
    Or maybe I was playing the game wrong.
     

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