Amazing visuals with a familiar storyline that will hook you from the beginning, Godfather goes beyond expectations.

User Rating: 8.8 | The Godfather PC
The Godfather moves the very popular movie series to the realm of the PC. It takes the familiar story and merges it with a unique character to allow the player to immerse themselves in the tale presented before them. It is a gritty and sometimes violent story that gives you much to do and a vibrant city to perform these actions. Godfather puts you in the shoes of a side character that is not directly releated to the film in any way. This way, you can see all the memorable scenes from the movie played out before you without having to change anything. You start out as a lowly unofficial enforcer who is sent out to expand the business empire by shaking down local businesses and illegal rackets to grow the Corleone empire. As you become more successful, you move up the ladder until you become the Don of New York.

You start the game by creating a character. This is the first thing you notice that allows you to have an individual identity in the game. You choose from hair styles to the shape of your face down to the type of shoes you wear. It is a nice touch to give the player a way to envision themselves in the game. Everything is customizable and you can choose to upgrade your looks later with the addition of more clothing and grooming options as the game moves on and you become a major player in the city.

Variety is the key to The Godfather. Like a Grand Theft Auto game, you are given the opportunity to perform many activities. You have the story missions when follow the movie plot and pick up on most of the critical events that happen. You have the extortion rackets where you go into businesses and get them to pay protection money. You get to go through contract hits where you are asked to kill someone in a particular way. You can even destroy rival family compounds by infiltrating and bombing the locations. You are never at a loss to have something to do. The main story does follow the events of the movie fairly closely. You are not featured in the main story, but assist critical events in happening. You chase down the killers that assassinate Sonny at the toll plaza in one sequence. Another involves you assisting with the removal of one horse head that can be put in a bed for a wake up surprise. All of the major likenesses are in the game with the exception of Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino. James Caan, Robert Duvall and Abe Vigoda are among the many characters that were in the film that play themselves. They even managed to get a performace from Marlin Brando by piecing together dialoge from the movie into sentences. It is a feat to behold.

The game does have a significant amount of driving and you can drive any car you find in the game. While this sounds good at first, the game does not have a good driving mechanism. Cars tend to have floating physics and handle like a current race car over a car from the 40’s. If you are going to drive a jalopy of a truck, you figure it should handle sloppy and sluggish. But it actually will perform sharp handbrake turns and accelerates to a top speed most trucks would envy. The performance issue with the cars tends to take you right out of the game. The game would have been wise to take a page from Mafia and create car physics that were a little more realistic.

Visually, the game is a feast for the eyes. All the main characters in the game with the exception of Michael Corleone are dead ringers for their real life counterparts. When you first get a glimpse at the computer generated Marlon Brando, you will be floored by the details. The moles, wrinkles, it is just a stunning attention to detail that brings you into the game. The backgrounds are full of detail. It feels like a faithful recreation of the era that the movie is set in. Explosions are also vivid in detail and have a visceral feeling that makes you grin with sweet satisfaction. The only real problem is that the interiors of the buildings that you enter are repeated over and over. As the old saying goes, “You’ve been in one flower shop, you’ve been in them all.” With the stunning city and character models, you would think they could of come up with more interior visuals.

The sounds that you hear in the game are a mixed bag. James Caan, Robert Duvall and the rest of the cast are here and they sound fantastic. The only missing component as has been stated before was Al Pacino. It is unfortunate, because he could have rounded out one of the best voice casts in a video game ever. The fact that they were able to put together the voice work of Marlon Brando to get a credible voiceover says volumes about the creators of the game. The same attention to detail goes into the weapon sounds. When you let off a blast from a shotgun, you almost feel the recoil in your arms. Same with a Tommy Gun. It is a satisfying sound to the ears when you hear weapons that sound realistic. It took awhile, but you start to notice there is a real absence of ambient music. During certain sequences, you get a short musical score, like the assassination attempt on the Don or the baptism of Michael Corleone, but beyond that, it is a quiet ambience that is pierced by the occasional crowd noice or honking horn. Eerie silences about and it just seems out of place in this game.

The Godfather gives the player an experience that will pull them into an epic family struggle to control a town while dealing with the day to day operations that keep the family going. Side missions like assassinations and compound takeovers flesh out the story and add to the experience. With so many options, you will be hard pressed to not enjoy the game.