The Godfather: Blackhand Edition Hands-On

We grab a Wii Remote and get our hands dirty on our way to becoming the Don of New York City in The Godfather: Blackhand Edition.

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In The Godfather: Blackhand Edition, you take to the streets as a Corleone soldier and perform a wide array of gestures to virtually choke, punch, slap, and shoot scores of no-good thugs on the streets of New York City. Although the basic story in Blackhand Edition is identical to the previous home console versions of The Godfather, the game plays quite differently thanks to its unique control scheme. And beyond the controls, there's quite a bit of new content to be found in this version of the game, as well as some significant tweaks to existing gameplay mechanics. We got our hands on a Wii Remote and Nunchuk and took to the streets to see just how differently The Godfather plays on the Wii.

The combat is much more hands-on in Blackhand Edition, requiring you to actually throw punches and shake down thugs as if you were a real-life mobster.

Up front, The Godfather: Blackhand Edition is the same game that has already been released for the PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, and Xbox 360. Blackhand Edition includes all of the updates and added content found in the Xbox 360 version, as well as some further additions and refinements exclusive to the Wii and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. The most significant change made in adapting the game to the Wii is, of course, the controls.

The Blackhand control scheme is a new way for you to control your in-game character using the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. The combat and shooting aspects of the game have been completely reworked to take advantage of the motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii. When you're on foot you move around with the analog stick on the Nunchuk and lock on to targets using the Z button. Once locked on, you can pull out a gun and start shooting. The targeting reticle will stay on your target, but you can use the Wii Remote to point at different pressure points, such as knees and arms, so that you can immobilize or disarm your enemy. There is also a free-aim mode where you can run around with the analog stick while aiming with the Wii Remote. We found the targeting system to be easier and more effective than the free-aim mode.

The Blackhand controls have the most influence on the hand-to-hand combat in the game. You can grab an enemy by holding the Z button on the Nunchuk and the B button on the Wii Remote. At this point, you use the two controllers as you would your hands, throwing punches by punching at the screen with the Wii Remote in your hand, slamming enemies against walls by shoving both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk toward the television screen, and even head-butting enemies by quickly bringing the remote and Nunchuk up toward your head. In our experience the controls worked well, and the gestures felt natural and translated well to the action onscreen. However, using gestures isn't always as responsive as simply pressing a button, and as fun as the Blackhand controls are, it seems that they could become tiresome after you've strangled, shoved, and slapped several hundred enemies.

The Wii Remote is used in more ways than shooting and smacking enemies, though. There are 50 executions in the game, which are special finishing moves that you can perform after you've weakened an enemy enough. Using one of a dozen different execution gestures, you can perform these brutal moves. You can snap necks, shoot enemies in the head execution style, and so on using these special gestures that are illustrated with a pop-up diagram in the bottom right corner of the screen. In addition to the executions, you can do things like flick the Wii Remote to open doors, and perform special gestures with the Nunchuk to reload your weapons. To reload a shotgun, you move the Nunchuk up and down to mimic the pump action of the weapon, and to reload a revolver, you flick the Nunchuk as if you're emptying the cylinder. Ancillary actions like opening doors and reloading weapons seem trivial, but along with the rest of the Blackhand controls, they make the game feel and play completely differently from previous versions.

Interestingly enough, driving is one of the few parts of the game that doesn't use the motion controls.

In addition to the full story from the original versions of The Godfather, this game includes all of the upgrades and additions from the Xbox 360 version. On top of that there are also five new hit missions, six new venues, two new vehicles, a fuel truck that can be rigged with a car bomb to produce massive explosions, a new "weapon wheel" to make it easier to choose your weapon on the fly, a completely reworked character development system, a brand-new family to contend with, and the ability to call in a "hit squad" to back you up in a fight.

One of the most interesting changes that we saw is the reworked skill system. In previous versions of The Godfather, as you earned respect you would get points that you could allocate to basic attributes like fighting, shooting, and speed. The result is that earning respect and leveling up didn't matter much, and you didn't have much flexibility in terms of how your character developed as you progressed through the game. In Blackhand Edition, the entire system has been changed. Now there are multiple paths you can take when leveling your character. There's the enforcer path, which is a blunt and violent path focused on strength, violence, and intimidation. The enforcer path is for players who want to be like Sonny Corleone.

The overhauled skill system gives you a lot more flexibility in how you play the game.

However, if you want to be more levelheaded and diplomatic, like Tom Hagen, you can choose the operator path. As an operator your character is less focused on shooting and fighting and more focused on negotiating with other families, staying in the police force's favor, and letting others do the dirty work. As you level up along these paths you'll receive special bonuses called "perks." For instance, as an enforcer you might receive a perk that gives you infinite ammunition, or as an operator a perk might be that you can call in your hit squad twice as often. The new skill system seems to be an interesting addition to the game and should not only affect the way you play the game, but also enhance the replay value of the game by allowing you to play through it multiple different ways.

The hit squad is another addition that could potentially change your entire approach to some of the more difficult missions. In previous versions of the game you were essentially a one-man army storming into heavily fortified compounds and warehouses to take down dozens of mobsters all by yourself. You can still do that if you choose, but to make the game a bit more interesting you can now call in a hit squad of four heavily armed allies who will lend their shotguns, pistols, and tommy guns to your cause. You can call in your hit squad only when your family shield is glowing in the top left corner of the screen. The gauge fills up over time, and once it's activated, your character will whistle and a group of thugs will show up. These thugs don't work for free, but based on what we saw of the combat, the hit squad is worth the price. Since you can also bribe police offers to fight for you, you can effectively have a squad of about 10 guys backing you up in a fight, leaving you to stay safely out of harm's way. In fact, according to the developers, you can play through the entire game as a true diplomat and never pull a weapon.

The Godfather: Blackhand Edition looks comparable to the PlayStation 2 version of the game. There's a good amount of detail in the environment, and some of the new venues we saw were particularly impressive, such as a large rooftop area and a huge multilevel ship interior. The explosions still look nice, and the character animations match the corresponding gestures very well. There is a bit of noticeable pop-up as buildings appear out of nowhere in the distance while you're driving, and the vehicles don't deform as much as in other versions of the game, but for a Wii game, The Godfather is looking good.

If you own a Wii and haven't yet played The Godfather on other platforms, you'll want to keep your eye on this one. With the Blackhand controls, additional content, and reworked gameplay mechanics, this could be the most refined, robust version of the game. Even if you've already played The Godfather, you might want to check this version out, because based on what we played, it looks like the new control scheme will make this game play very differently from its predecessors. Look for The Godfather: Blackhand Edition to be released in March of this year.

Discussion

75 comments
MezaMezaMan
MezaMezaMan

Why is it not getting any hype? I think that since there arent that many games coming out this month, they should start building up the popularity on this game

Aliens51
Aliens51

Hmm... Sounds interesting.

pyromofo
pyromofo

this game just looks plain good. the godfather for the 360 is fun so now u get to go hands on wil be awesome

BurningChrome
BurningChrome

Aight! I'm buying a Wii just for this game! Sounds like mad fun and this will be the definitive version!

puppiemaster
puppiemaster

think I'll get this one, sounds interesting

xXxNathanxXx
xXxNathanxXx

This game is deff. goin to rock, im only worried if the controls are sensitive enough, not to put anyone off or anything jus in some of the vids it didn't look too sensitive but i guess i shouldn't be complaining at all since this game is still in the dev. stages...def still goin to buy it!!!!!

kellett23
kellett23

This is going to be wicked!! I've played The Godfather on the xbox and that was great but traded it all in to get a Wii. Godfather with motion control on the Wii is going to be the best, i cant wait!!

LiuKang3000
LiuKang3000

DaGame300X , What do you mean "whittle" Wii. Go back to your PS3 boards where you belong.

mek_015
mek_015

I've noticed with the Wii, the graphics aren't always top notch, but the effects are always really good

DeltaTeam
DeltaTeam

I hope EA does this right because this could be a great game for Wii owners

BulletProof007
BulletProof007

I love the movies, well atleast the first and the second and this game looks to be very fun. I can't wait to head butt some folks.

tge4
tge4

Hell Yeah! Looks like the Wii is finally going to show some good graphics! I've watched the first 2 Godfathers, and I have played and liked GTA. This looks like a good reason to buy a Wii if you already haven't.

DaGame300X
DaGame300X

Those are some nifty grafiX you kids have got there for your whittle wii! =)

MetroidBounty
MetroidBounty

The wii version sounds like it could be the best

eric2mrng
eric2mrng

i finished godfather on the pc.. kinda wish i hadnt now because this could potentially be a great game on the wii.. i love the fact you could complete the game without lifting a finger..!

narce
narce

This concept is what should make many Wii hedgers out there (like myself) finally buckle in and make the investment...it sound too incredible to pass up a try! Now if I could only find a store that can keep it in stock long enough!

DarthRevan891
DarthRevan891

i hope it turns out good i need a violent wii game

marck_rock
marck_rock

wow..thats great..sounds nice..i¨ll try it...but my money..offf...:P

bravo_440
bravo_440

This looks absolutely sick! it's stuff like in this game that gives wii its appeal over the other platforms, giving you physical control in the game to a degree as apposed to doing it through a controller. Again, absolutely sick.

tyderiumds
tyderiumds

sometimes too much movement hurts a game. Like the DBZ wii game. Sometimes you just feel like too much of a retard playing it. And It wouldn't hurt them to have textures, either. I'm not anti-wii, I own one and camped for it, but this just doesn't appeal to me. I'll stick to zelda and warioware.

kholdstareo1
kholdstareo1

ill get this once i get my hand on , if i may be so bold, a frickin' wii-liscious wii. makes me tear....

Kebn
Kebn

this one's got my attention

kazuma334
kazuma334

weeee i'm high for this game

panzerfaust_13
panzerfaust_13

i cant wait for this to come out, i played the ps2 version and i died for the movie.This will be my new all time favorite for sure.I hope they will release a Scarface for the Wii and my collection is complete :P

Tudio
Tudio

this preview sounds convincing to try the game

pqr
pqr

im definetly getting it

elozl
elozl

Well this is just another way to show the world that Nintendo has changed its strategy with violent content on games, and of course i dont think that someone WONT criticize Nintendo for these kinds of games but hey! that was one of the main reasons the Gamecube didnt do well in its days!

Ace_V0rn
Ace_V0rn

I hope they dont screu this one up...

lilmp89
lilmp89

this looks really insteresting....however, I think we may eventually see some controversy with the ability to inflict beatings and executions physically. Also glad that you can actually get someone to back you up in a fight...

nate64
nate64

when i heard about godfather coming to the wii i was a little skeptical about whether or not they would just tack on some rediculous controls but i should have known that EA wouldn't do that, just look at madden. But after reading this i definitely am thinking about buying this.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

sounds decent. I like the idea that you don't have to pull out your weapon for the whole game

fjgamer
fjgamer

This game is looking out to be pretty good. I own games on my Wii that need precise movements to perform actions and I know you can trust it to be accurate.

Super-Mario-Fan
Super-Mario-Fan

"However, using gestures isn't always as responsive as simply pressing a button, and as fun as the Blackhand controls are, it seems that they could become tiresome after you've strangled, shoved, and slapped several hundred enemies." Ha ha ha!! It looks like this game can help you get into shape!! XD

Novaer
Novaer

This is great ^^

Lonelynight
Lonelynight

too bad I don't have a wii and I already played the PC version

simian92
simian92

i agree with RKFS, this game could bery well turn out to be a decent wii game (i own a wii, and most of the games are just games with tacked on aiming)

DeMarsVolta
DeMarsVolta

slasher2119 thats great. so youve played it right? cause from your reaction it certainly seems like youve played it from the context of your comment. btw gimmie the name of the store where you get these games before they are actually finished and shipped. granted most ports for the wii are usually a little awkward, but if youre gonna say its not very effective make sure youve actually played it. -------- omg, when i say: "the wii controls are not very efective" i mean the controls in all wii games you st.pid dickhe.d you better think, before posting...

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Sounds great, can't wait to try it, i've been renting so many wii games im going insane!

RKFS
RKFS

"Just about every game that comes out for the Wii sucks........ Face it" That doesn't seem to be true for this game...

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

Lets all hope now for this game to be one of the first Third-Party games to make good use of the Wiimote (shame on you Ubisoft and your FarCry for the wii let us all down)

xack10
xack10

i really enjoyed this for the ps2 and if it turns out ill be sure to pick it up for my W!!

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

looks like in is shaping out to be a good game

phantoma22
phantoma22

i cant wait looks great and fun, will actually use the wii remote the best so far by far i guess.