The Godfather was a surprisingly good game on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, so hopes are high for the Xbox 360 version, which is due to hit store shelves later this month. We've spent some time playing the final build of the game, and although it's very much the same game, the noticeable changes go a long way toward making the game feel like a new experience.
Of course, the most apparent difference between The Godfather on the Xbox 360 as opposed to the other versions is the look of the game. The graphics aren't a huge leap if you're playing on a standard-definition television, but if you have a high-definition TV, you'll see crisper textures, shinier surfaces, and a greater level of clarity overall. Beyond that, the characters also look more lifelike due to improved facial animations. But although they're expressive, those faces aren't always pretty. Not only are there some ugly mugs in the game, such as the imposing Luca Brasi, but you'll also see your character's face get bloodied and bruised as he gets into scuffles. The body animations still look a bit stiff and awkward at times, but for the most part, the characters look good and move naturally. The fights in particular are a lot of fun to watch, mostly because the fighting system in the game makes it easy to beat your opponents to a pulp in very satisfying ways. To make the brawls even more exciting, there are brand-new execution moves that are exclusive to the Xbox 360 version of the game. One that we saw showed our character pushing an enemy to the ground and then violently stomping on his neck. In addition, the game's rendition of 1940s New York looks sharper and more detailed than before. There seems to be a bit more variety to the cars, and they each still handle quite differently.
The updates don't stop at the graphics, though, because the Xbox 360 version of The Godfather also includes brand-new missions. According to Electronic Arts, there are more than 25 new missions in the game. However, only three of those are story missions, which we won't spoil for you here. The rest are assassination missions and favors. We got to play through one of the favor missions early in the game. The way favors work is when you try to extort a merchant, they'll ask you to do them a favor. If you comply, the merchant gives you a cut of the earnings each week. Early in the game, we tried to extort the owner of a bakery. Before we got a chance to go through the normal routine of trashing the place and smacking the owner around a little bit, she politely asked us for a favor. It seems that a dirtbag drug dealer was operating out of the alley behind the bakery and scaring away all the customers. A quick trip outside and we ran into the drug dealer, pumped him full of lead, and returned to the bakery for a reward. This particular favor mission wasn't difficult or especially interesting, but it did add a bit of a twist to the very familiar gameplay mechanic from the previous games.
Another new twist comes in the form of your crew. As you gain respect, you can recruit thugs to accompany you and help do your dirty work. You can also bribe police officers, who will be there to back you up in a fight. Also, your crew members can act as trigger men, so if you have someone to rub out, you can hop in a car and drive while your crew shoots.
You can look forward to some online features that are exclusive to the Xbox 360, as well. There are 38 achievements in the game, including several that you'll get through the normal course of the story, like becoming Don. There are some achievements that require you to go out of your way to meet specific objectives, though, such as performing all of the different execution moves in the game. Beyond the achievements, there's also an online leaderboard. Every time you save your game, you're given the option to upload your stats to Xbox Live, so other people can see just how tough you really are.
We'll bring you the full details on all the additional content in the Xbox 360 version of The Godfather in our review later this month, so be sure to check back soon for more information. The game is scheduled to ship on September 19.