The Godfather II game doesn’t follow the storyline of the original movie — moving scenes around, completely altering characters, and leaving out the Robert De Niro half of the movie.
Oh shit. Was that a spoiler? Oh well. Anyway…
There are two immediate schools of reaction that are possible here. First, the die hard Godfather fan in you can say “oh, COOL, something different.” Second, the die hard Godfather fan in you can say “oh, shit, it’s different. This sucks!”
April 7, 2009
I felt like the first half of the altered story, which begins in a Cuba scene that’s halfway through the Academy Award-winning film, was interesting. But I was left scratching my head. Godfather II is almost universally regarded as one of the best movies ever made. Why didn’t Electronic Arts take advantage of that?
You are Dominic, and you’re about to become the Don of the Corleone Family in New York. What follows is an endlessly repetitious repeat of the first Godfather game with about a third of the story elements that made the first game a hit.
This is a GTA-style sandbox game, meaning you get to steal cars and shoot things anywhere you want. But even though the game lets you explore three cities, there isn’t nearly enough room to maneuver in Godfather II.
Your mission is to take over and retain control a number of businesses and crime rackets, and that’s what you’ll spend nearly all of the day-or-so of gameplay doing. You attack a business. A rival family attacks you. You defend. You attack more businesses.
The early story elements show potential. We see Fredo’s character really develop in this game. We see Roth, the Floridian mastermind, in all his glory. You even get to take a shot at Fidel Castro. But the game just isn’t finished. The story elements just stop suddenly. You spend the first part of the game doing all these missions, viewing a ton of family dialogue, and then suddenly Michael Corleone orders you to basically hurry up and finish the game by giving you a mission to eliminate all your rivals. The dialog stops. The storyline stops. Suddenly you’ve degraded to a teenager who first discovered the Grand Theft Auto III PC cheat codes and starts blowing shit up with machine guns.
But that’s not the only problem. The gameplay is seriously flawed. You have to hold or tap X to run, but you also have to use the right thumbstick to control your direction. You only have one right thumb, though. Forget about driving. You’re going to crash and get stuck. Speaking of getting stuck, at least twice during my run-through, I became trapped between a wall and some sort of game element and had to blow myself up and die to get unstuck.
Shooting is also kind of worthless. You hold one button to automatically target an enemy — not the nearest enemy, just one enemy — and another button to shoot them. Repeat as necessary.
This game clearly didn’t have the budget it needed to live up to the movie. The game should have gone back and forth, just like the movie, between Michael’s and Vito’s storylines. I’d have also been really happy to see the game set only in Vito’s world as you grow and develop his crime empire.
The best part about the game is probably developing your own family and equipping, clothing, upgrading, and going to war with them. Each character of the dozens available has its own personality and skill set, and it provides some entertainment. But even this presents its own set of problems. You basically have to bring a bunch of guys with different skills on every mission. Some doors have to be blown up, some can be knocked down, and some can be lock-picked. That’s pretty stupid — I’m sorry. Now we’re just grasping at straws, trying to find some use for these guys specific skills.
The game just isn’t cerebral enough. It’s got guns, tits, swearing and explosions, but nothing about this game leaves me feeling as if I’ve accomplished something afterward.
This is a fuck up, EA. You turned Godfather II into Godfather III.
And you broke my heart. Now Al Neri is going to kill you on a rowboat.