The Godfather II for PlayStation 3

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EA Redwood Shores



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X360, PC

Release Dates

04/07/09 Electronic Arts
04/16/09 Electronic Arts
04/09/09 Electronic Arts

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Review: The Godfather II

By Sqrl 07th Apr 2009 | 5,905 views 

With The Godfather II considered one of the greatest movie sequels of all time, EA has a lot to live up to in its video game sequel of the same name. So, is this title an offer you can't refuse?

With The Godfather II being considered one of the greatest movie sequels of all time, EA has a lot to live up to in its video game sequel of the same name. The opening sequence starts you off at Hymen Roth's birthday party in Cuba during the final days of Fulgencio Batista's rule. As these key scenes from the movie unfold, reminding the player of the major plot and characters, it will become obvious to the more astute Godfather fans that the game is taking a few liberties not only in its scene selection but in some cases even the order and details of the events. The changes are at least somewhat necessary though, as the new character- the player-controlled Dominic - has a fairly sizable role to play in the plot, appearing in numerous key scenes from the film. The basic point of a given scene always remains intact, and the changes actually keep the scenes interesting, even for those who may have the originals memorized.

The basic gameplay itself is a third person sandbox shooter with RTS elements mixed in, very much in the same vein as GTA. The difference is that in The Godfather II you start out as the head of your own organization and build it into the dominant organized crime family. This change to the formula requires several new features including the highly advertised "Don's View" which provides you with a 3D map of the city that you can use to survey your business, plan attacks on rivals, and manage your entire crime empire with only a few button presses. The management you will be dealing with won't require constant fiddling and micromanaging though, you will mostly be assigning hired guards to your businesses, deploying your made men to strategic locations, purchasing upgrades for your men, and managing your daily cash flow.

We got ourselves a couple of wiseguys!

The game proper kicks off as Dominic is made the Don of his own family and Michael asks him to wrest control of New York City's organized crime operations back from the enemies of the Corleone family. Before you have a chance to take off though, the game wants you to select the first soldier you wish to add to your family. The family tree is literally the power structure of your family, containing a total of 9 positions with yourself at the very top. Under you is your Underboss who has two Capos with a total of four Soldiers working for them. You also have a Consigliere position, but for now the only position you can fill is that of your first soldier. The men presented each have fairly unique personalities and a range of specialty skill-sets to choose from. The specialties available include Arson, Demolitions, Safe-cracker, Engineer, Medic, and the Bruiser, each class has extremely useful abilities that you can utilize during your missions to either create shortcuts, unlock doors, blow through the walls of a building, revive you when you get knocked down, bust doors in, blow up buildings, etc., etc. Utilizing these abilities properly will play a fairly large role in determining how successful you are. For now, you can only have the one soldier, but additional slots are made available throughout the game. Once your first capo spot opens you can promote your best man, this promotion grants him an additional specialty making him an extremely useful asset by allowing him to do the work of two men! At most you can have 3 men in your crew at a time, and whether you send them out to take over crime rings for you or just bring them along is entirely up to you. Selecting your crew makeup, positioning, and abilities can have a surprisingly large effect on both how successful you are and how you actually go about accomplishing your goals within a mission.

Customizing your family doesn't stop there though. As you earn cash, you can buy upgrades for your men, increasing their accuracy, damage, health, survivability, and even reduce the amount of time it takes them to get out of the hospital if gunned down or post bail if they get arrested. Each man you add to your family has a gun license which determines what tier of weapons he can use, upgrading tiers requires that you take your men online and earn honors points to improve their gun skills but is only required to earn the highest gun licenses which, while nice to have, are not strictly required. Furthermore each man you're not using can be sent to defend your businesses or to attack your enemy on their own (or with other made-men in your family).

But while you have your own Soldiers, Capos, and Underboss, so too does your opponent. Luckily, when a rival family starts to get annoying you can just go to the mattresses and put an end to those fools for good. But in order to put down a made-man you have to learn his weakness. As you're driving or walking about you'll spot people who offer missions and, provided you're willing to do them a favor first, they can share with you the weakness and favorite hangout of a rival family's made-man. Sometimes it is as simple as tossing the guy off the top of a building, but other times you may have to finish him with a head shot from a pistol. If doing favors isn't your style you can still off your target for good - you just need to experiment a bit with different ways of killing him and eventually it will take. For instance, I just happened to decide to shove a crowbar into the face of a rival Capo who was sent to defend a business I was taking over. How lucky is that?! Well...for me that is. The game lets you know right away if the made-man is dead for good so there is no uncertainty either way, and once a made-man is "offed" the rival family can't fill the position again. So once you deal with the Soldiers, Capos, and Underboss of your enemy it is only a matter of time until he collapses from an inability to mount an effective offense or even a worthy defense without his key men there to help him.

You can tell your men to hang out the windows and unload on anyone stupid enough to challenge you, but be careful the cops don't see you, as they don't seem too fond of this tactic.

Once you've beaten the enemy back and they no longer control any crime rings or fronts, they will be forced to retreat to their compound where you can finally finish them off. In true dramatic fashion the only way to kill a crime family is to destroy their compound in a violent and dramatic explosion! Compound fights can be some of the most brutal encounters in the game, but the satisfying feeling of finishing off a rival family, combined with the giant, almost celebratory explosion makes it more than worthwhile.

As you build your crime empire by taking over more and more businesses you will need to establish crime rings to gain their perks, these crime rings can be established by controlling all businesses of a given type. For example, controlling the diamond smuggling crime ring gives you and all of your men body armor which significantly reduces the damage you will take in a shootout. Other crime rings provide similar benefits ranging from armored cars and extra explosives, to reducing the cost of hiring guards or giving you incendiary ammo that doubles your damage. However, once you take control of these crime rings, your enemies aren't going to simply let you keep them. You'll have to prove you can protect them if you want protection money from their owners! In order to do that, each location can have a certain number of guards hired to defend it in case of attack. But you may not want to rely on these guards because they don't match up well to a made-man. When attacked you'll want to have someone in your own family you can send to defend your hard earned businesses, or better yet you can go take care of things in person and show them how you do business.

The "Don's View" - This is your city! People just don't know it yet...

The developers seemed to put some thought into how much down time they wanted players to have while moving from mission to mission, preparing for assaults, and/or saving etc.... The answer they seem to have come up with is the least amount of down time possible! Adding and removing men to your crew is little more than a few button clicks and a second later they are hopping into your car wherever you might be. While this may not be very realistic, it is greatly preferable to requiring the player to drive across town to drop off or pick up a soldier every time you send him off to do something. Similarly being able to save anywhere at just about any time makes it as hassle free as it can be.

Coming into this review, I was a bit skeptical of the gameplay concept since the game is essentially just a sandbox turf war simulator. With that said, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had done much more than I thought they would or could. The different levels of customization, strategy, upgrades, and crime ring perks have helped take what could have easily been a very stale basis for gameplay and instead impressed me with how much they were able to fit into such a seemingly basic concept. The gameplay has its faults, though, as by the time you're taking over your third city the game's pacing has pretty much run out and it is easy to feel that you're simply going through the motions yet again. While wrapping up the final few hours of gameplay, I kept feeling that it really needed another new layer to keep it fresh and interesting all the way to the end. They managed to keep things interesting for the majority of the game but the formula ran out of steam right when the ending was in sight. Still, I wanted to see how they wrapped up the loose ends and brought everything together in preparation for the plot in the third movie, so there was still something to look forward to.

The game's presentation is decent overall, but issues with framerate are somewhat surprising given that the game's graphical fidelity doesn't really inspire compared to what other titles have done on the PS3 lately. Things look good, and the graphics won't be a huge detraction from anything you're doing, but to have framerate issues without really pushing much eye candy is fairly surprising and disappointing. Character models hold up pretty well for standard gameplay but closer inspection reveals that they don't have a tremendous amount of detail. Cut scenes look similar to the main engine but are spruced up a bit more. Beyond that the visuals and occasional dropped or stuttered frames, the game's presentation is fairly solid with a fantastic menu system in the "Don's View" allowing great visual control of your crime empire.

" I didn't hear that, maybe you wanna say it again?...What? Not so smart now are ya?"

Providing the backbone of the game's sound presentation, the selection and authenticity of the music and radio personalities is a great example of how much life can be infused into a game world with a little attention to detail. You won't be getting the warped sense of humor that makes Grand Theft Auto radio so fun to listen to, but the music that is there is representative of some of the best in the era and particularly some of the best associated with the life of a mobster.

It's really hard to judge the game's story presentation when it comes to a licensed game, especially when they aren't trying to tell the exact same story but are actually making changes. I think overall the effect was somewhat of a wash. While I wasn't fond of the changes for the most part, they served a purpose and were a good way to bring the game to a more personable level for the player to interact with. As a result, the game's overall presentation tends to be a bit of a mixed bag. While the sound quality is definitely capable of holding up its end, the visuals can be hit or miss, with some aspects of the game looking great while others like character models are unpolished in many cases.

Perhaps one of the most important to gamers right now - namely value - is also one of the hardest to judge. Trying to determine which games to fit into your budget is tough under normal circumstances, but as of late people are being a bit more frugal with their hard earned cash, and for many that may make The Godfather II a tough call. The online multiplayer and especially the benefits that can be earned to help your single player crime family are certainly worth mentioning here, but eventually you max out your family gun licenses and the multiplayer will probably lose its interest much faster than your standard FPS. It can be hard to score the value of a sandbox game like this because you never know how much time people are going to spend on a given section. With that in mind I'm scoring the value based on the amount of time you will probably get out of multiplayer to max your made-men and play through the storyline missions (about 20 hours for just the storyline with little time to play around). This is actually a good amount of gameplay by itself for a sandbox game and is probably a fair representation of what most people will set out to do with the game.

Did I mention I like explosions?

I actually give EA quite a bit of credit with The Godfather II because it would have been very easy for them to just add Godfather II story elements to the original Godfather game and just leave it at that, allowing brand recognition alone to bring in the sales. The addition of made-men and the job class system along with the crime rings and their perks has added quite a bit to the old formula, making them very different games in function. The additions realized here are almost all for the good with the only real step backwards being an arguable one in the way they've taken a fairly heavy hand in manipulating plot details to tell a different story. I personally would have preferred a more faithful retelling of the story but I think they've done about as well as can be expected with the route they've chosen. The thing that keeps standing out for me is that I feel like they made a very real effort to improve the game and make it something better than the first game. This isn't always the case with developers and publishers, particularly when it comes to licensed games and doubly so for larger developers like EA. It is the extra effort and small details that have been poured into the game that brought everything together and helps smooth over the faults the game does have. So for the readers who are cautiously optimistic about the game and like the concept, but aren't quite sure, you should definitely give this one a shot. For the rest of you who are suspicious of the concept of a "turf war" game, I still have to recommend you give it a rent and try it out - you might be pleasantly surprised.


VGChartz Verdict


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Sales History

Total Sales
1 n/a 51,148 36,597 21,225 108,970
2 5,956 22,347 26,388 13,414 68,105
3 2,098 14,178 14,058 7,563 37,897
4 1,301 8,110 11,404 5,492 26,307
5 909 6,711 8,040 4,059 19,719
6 745 5,347 6,483 3,262 15,837
7 556 4,293 5,003 2,549 12,401
8 490 3,633 3,548 1,919 9,590
9 372 3,432 3,028 1,699 8,531
10 282 3,077 2,703 1,519 7,581

Opinion (15)

Tecmo posted 29/05/2010, 12:16
not great, but def worth the 20 bucks
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Cobretti2 posted 10/04/2010, 01:41
I picked this up for $20AUD. bargain for an average came. Considering it was $120AUD new
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Goodfella posted 30/07/2009, 11:26
Horrible. 5/10.
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ps-button posted 27/05/2009, 06:14
The game is incomplete, Graphics were primitive, The only map that was challenging was CUBA because of none stop Guard fights. EA should loose some money with this. The game is garbage. Do not buy this, the worst open world game ever
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chris1_16 posted 24/04/2009, 11:16
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niksta2 posted 24/04/2009, 10:09
If it ever comes down to $10 like the original godfather game did, I'll pick it up
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