The Godfather II Multiplayer Hands-On

Mustache? Check. Polyester suit? Check. Murderous rampage through the multiplayer modes of EA's latest film adaptation? Check.

Running around the grounds of a multimillion-dollar mansion with a tommy gun in tow, riddling bullets into anything that moves, is pretty fun. Doing so in a Day-Glo blue polyester suit? Well, friends, that's just classy. EA's upcoming third-person action game, The Godfather II, is full steam ahead for a February release, and earlier this week we had a chance to try out the 16-player online multiplayer mode at a press event in San Francisco. While the combat action itself might be pretty straightforward (apart from the questionable fashion choices), what sets online play apart in Godfather II is how the single-player and multiplayer modes affect one another.

This is a rather compromising position.

Throughout the single-player campaign in Godfather II, you'll be playing as up-and-coming mafioso Dominic Corleone in an adventure that doesn't follow the plot of the classic Francis Ford Coppola film from 1974 as much as it intersects with it. In a story that takes you from Havana, Cuba, to New York City and, eventually, Miami, you'll be earning your reputation as a mobster and recruiting members to your "family." Each member of your crew will have specific specialties--some will be skilled with weapons, others will be good with demolitions, and so on. Offline, you'll use those skills for your own private interests; you know, the usual mob routine: shaking down businesses, screwing over your rivals, and making life miserable for all the innocents who get in your way.

That same crew you recruit in the single-player game will carry over to multiplayer matches as well. In fact, after completing the first mission in the game, you'll earn your first crew member (in addition to your main character). While you only play as Dominic in the game's story mode--dispatching crew members to assist you on specific jobs--you can choose to play as any member of your crew in multiplayer. Maybe you'll want to choose the guy with the high demolition rating, or the guy who has a license for a high-powered sniper rifle; if you choose to take him into the fray, you'll be able to use all of his attributes and skills to your advantage.

Wait. Back up. What's this about having a "license" to use a particular weapon? Isn't this a game about free-wheeling, mustachioed ne'er do wells, the kind of guys that are more apt to slit a throat than shake your hand? Well, yes, but the game's use of licenses for weapons isn't really a nod to firearm regulation; rather, it's a rudimentary mechanic for leveling up your gear in the game. By playing in multiplayer matches, you'll earn both money and "honor points," which your characters will carry over into their single-player game. You can then cash in that honor for upgraded licenses for more powerful weapons.

For our multiplayer time with the game, we had several crew members to choose from, several of which were maxed out in terms of their skill sets. After choosing a crew member to play as, we also chose our starting weapon from a list that included pistol, shotgun, machine gun, and sniper rifle. A handy tip: Starting a multiplayer match with a puny little Ruger pistol is an excellent way to lose. That said, even if you start a match with a gun you dislike, you'll find numerous weapon and item drops strewn around the maps.

Godfather II's multiplayer modes run the gamut from straight-up team deathmatch to more involved campaigns that involve specific objectives. There's Assault, where teams try to invade their opponents' base and blow it up; Fire Starter, where the goal is to set ablaze and destroy as much property as possible, scoring points in the process; and, our personal favorite, Safe Cracker, where opposing teams try to reach and crack safes spread throughout the map--opening a safe will earn the team cash and points.

All of the skills your crew members have earned in the game can be used in these various modes. For instance, a player with an elevated safecracking ability will be able to open up safes quicker than a player with an average rating. The same goes for abilities like demolition and fence-cutting--all of which are activated simply by walking up to the item you wish to interact with and holding down the Y button. The higher the ability rating, the less time it will take to pull it off.

There was a deliberate decision to make the multiplayer maps in Godfather II as symmetrical and fair as possible. As the developers told us, they made the conscious decision to find some of the best spots in the single-player game--places that would make the most sense for multiplayer chaos--and then do their best to make sure that the map was as fair and balanced as possible. As a result, there's no advantage to starting on one side of the map as opposed to the other. That said, there's still plenty of room for diversity; in our time with the game, we blasted it out on the grounds of a millionaire's estate, shot sniper rifles at foes amid the towers and scaffolding of an oil reserve, and had breakneck close-quarters battles on the narrow rooftops of an urban cityscape.

Controlwise, Godfather II feels a bit like a less intense Gears of War. The third-person action perspective gives you a good view or your surroundings, but the character you're controlling isn't necessarily as responsive as you might like. You aim with the left trigger, fire your weapon with the right trigger, and sprint with the A button. Swapping weapons is a bit clumsy--you can cycle through your weapons by pressing left or right on the D pad, or you can hold down the left bumper to bring up a menu wheel, where you can then choose the weapon you want by pointing to it with the right stick. Neither method is as quick as you might hope, especially as the weapons and items (including up-close weapons like baseball bats and garrotes, or explosive items like the ever-popular Molotov cocktail) pile up.

Tommy guns may not be as accurate as you would like, but they get the job done.

That said, the weapons themselves are pretty effective in terms of being fun and being indicative of their time; the tommy gun, for example, is completely inaccurate at long distances but has a distinct, almost antique feel to it that makes it seem very much a product of a bygone era. The base-level sniper rifle we used demanded headshots to be truly useful--here's hoping the upgraded rifle you earn with the licenses is more effective even if your aim isn't. Finally, we have to make a special mention of the fire and explosion effects that are in the game. Toss one Molotov and watch it go up in a blinding, white-hot flash of blasting fire, and you'll be hooked. Now put those firebombs in the hands of 15 other friends and foes, and you've got a recipe for fiery chaos.

The game will have some decent character customization options so that your mobster of choice will have the suitable amount of '70s seediness, and at any time if you're unhappy with one of your crew members you can "mark him for death." Then, once you take him into a multiplayer match and he's inevitably killed, he'll be out for good, giving you the chance to replace that open slot in your crew with a more suitable choice. Yes, it's harsh, but that's the life of a mobster. You may as well enjoy it while it lasts. Godfather II is due for release in February of 2009.

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Discussion

51 comments
zgort
zgort

"That same crew you recruit in the single-player game will carry over to multiplayer matches as well." wait does that mean that each individual person brings their own crew into multiplayer, or gets to choose a character based upon their single player crew? i hope it is the second choice...

alfred66
alfred66

First one was waaay too easy.. this one better have some different types of missions.. and will I still have to do everything even after I become the boss of the whole family?

Strigidae
Strigidae

I hope the storyline is not as short as the 1st one.

purple_T
purple_T

i hope its not as repetitive as the first thought... it was a killer towards the end... same things all over

jbm08
jbm08

i likked the 1st 1 and this 1 could only be better

youngblood_smsk
youngblood_smsk

i played the first 1 its wos ok but godfather 2 looks awesome i hope there's more freedom then the other 1

metalliod
metalliod

The graphics aren't good,It looks too skinny and textures are pretty smoothed up.Well lets hope the game is better then the graphics.

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

Ok you can only get 1 or the other, better Graphics or better Gameplay. Why can't we get both? Surely the developers have had years of experience now in gaming, why haven't they got both right. Awesome Graphics and Awesome Gameplay

kardconsing
kardconsing

The graphics are not the best ,who cares, im hoping the gameplay is good. I really like the first one.

sherif77
sherif77

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pulica_muistul
pulica_muistul

omfg, graphics don't look BAD people...they're just not up to the standards of some games theese days but they don;t look bad at all...bad graphics would be if someone released a game that looks like the first Tomb Raider next year...this looks ok...anyway, wait 'till it comes out then we can all see what it's like....

brylawler
brylawler

PS2 graphics? are you kidding? these are the guys who made dead space. they know graphics.

issanity
issanity

Quit crying graphic babies. Which would you want better graphics or better gameplay? Haven't you figured out by now you can only get 1 or the other?

lacedelli
lacedelli

graphics could use some polishing, it's not like we're playing PS2

domtux
domtux

i love godfather! i own all the movies and beat the first game 100 percent. cannot wait for this

darksamuri92
darksamuri92

me either amn that godfather view looks awsome.

MURDA_B
MURDA_B

This one should be better than the first one from the looks it looks good

The_Bully16
The_Bully16

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

skateFoot
skateFoot

i hope this isnt as disappointing as the first one(even though it was still good)

Setsuka13
Setsuka13

Hey _screamsoftly_. It's a beta at this point. I'm sure things will be a little (or a lot) different when the launch time rolls near.

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

This would be one of those games id just have to pre-order. But unfortunately, EA's quality control (which has always been pretty poor) is at an all time low right now, so ill wait til its its been reviewed & probably buy it when its £20. I've preordered so many amazing games over the past couple of months just to have them turn into major regrets at wasting £39.99... all of them have been Electronic Arts, thats on PC & Xbox 360. (PC being the worse affected, DRM Spyware/Virus hybrid ftl)

biggest_loser
biggest_loser

Yeah this game is REALLY going to get up over GTA IV, its downloadable content AND Mafia II.

philrox
philrox

Graphics seem low...

sortacanadian
sortacanadian

personally even if the graphics remain this bad, i'll still be happy if there are many different period weapons that sound really good (i find that meaty gun sounds are important to the feel), are accurate depictions, and cause the appropriate amount of gore/blood effects. If the fun in this game is going to be all about shooting, the death animations and such better be satisfying. I know it's awful but that's the truth of the matter.

sortacanadian
sortacanadian

yeah the graphics at this point in time leave a lot to be desired, however i think in the screens, the fire/explosions look pretty good

GamesMaster08
GamesMaster08

looks like Saints Row 2 graphics! With is a good thing :)

Retherex
Retherex

no he was in the middle of a execution and his hat fell of and it happend to fall right down while the picture was taken

_screamsoftly_
_screamsoftly_

What is happening with that guy's leg in the first screenshot? It looks like he has a hat stuck in it. I can't believe they're capable of making a 360 game look that bad.

Demaster000
Demaster000

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

RawForceCOM
RawForceCOM

is online play required for the upgraded "licenses"?

Shunjinko
Shunjinko

Seriously, those are some lame graphics I just hope EA doesnt murder the gameplay from the 1st too

prehuang
prehuang

I really want to see what this game got for there is a GTA4...I enjoy GF1 much more than GTA3...just the music and clothing...Do not dispoint your Fans on this,EA!!!

j-urski
j-urski

what the f... the graphics ? looks like gta 3

Hellboard
Hellboard

looks like its gonna suck again!

onuruca
onuruca

say hi to 2002 graphics

stupid4
stupid4

This looks pretty tight. Originally I was worried about 2009, but it is shaping up to be a good year.

gutterdude
gutterdude

I've alwayed wanted grand theft auto to in a more simulation of organized crime direction. Running your own family and recruiting men and all that jazz. I hope that your men have the possibility of betraying you. And if they do I want there to be like little signs of it and allow you to have another guy tag him or something. Buuuut alas i am realistic and I know that this game will probably blow or just be mediocre.

ARO1993
ARO1993

i mean it doesnt sound like the multiplayer is incredible but either way i cant wait for this game and im not gonna complain if i get some extra stuff too

Mercenary848
Mercenary848

Sounds great I just wonder if its possible to murder all of the friendly mobsters in the game.

terry_tate
terry_tate

sounds pretty cool but i hope the controls turn out better than they seem to be at this point.

RedChuckz
RedChuckz

Multiplayer that is lame at least you guys could of spend that time polishing the game more then making a multiplayer look at GTA it ruin it.