Well, it's The Godther. It's a game... got to be good right? Eh, not so much.
Now, don't me wrong, I was ecstatic when I found this game brand new, sealed and all for $5.96. What a deal, I thought. In truth it is...but only for $5.96. I can't imagine anyone buying this game when it first came out for $40+. You have probably heard by now that this game is a blatant ripoff of the Grand Theft Auto series. Well, that sentiment may or may not be right (I have never played the GTA games), but to be fair, I think that that particular sentiment is due to the fact that the player character in both games can hijack cars, extort businesses, and perform hits. There, it would appear, the similarities cease.
The Godfather the game is spawned off some of the greatest source material ever, and it definitely shows. The atmosphere accurately depicts that of both Copolla's Holy holy and Puzo's original novel; the family, the don, political undertones are all there, only this time, you are right in the thick of it.
You play as a [insert your characters' name here] who is taken under the Corleone family's wing at the request of your mother on the Don's daughter's wedding. ("No Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter's wedding day.") This is interaction is viewed via cutscene. The scene then shifts, and we see Luca Brasi coming to your avatar's aide in a gang fight. This is when your Corleone family initiation begins.
To get your start in the family you are tasked with extorting businesses to earn some starter cash. After the first few, things heat up, and you are contacted by family members and the main story kicks into action.
Just about everyone has seen the Godfather movies. The iconic scenes (the horse's head, Sonny's murder, Michael's baptism) are all here; this time however, you play an integral part in their execution. YOU deliver the horse's head; YOU are there at Sonny's demise (powerless to prevent it); YOU need to whack all the other dons during the beginning of Michaels reign as Don. It's all you, and therefore, it's pretty cool.
The end of the story missions are definitely the brakes for this franchise, however, as, after their completion, there is no reason to return to the gritty city streets. No incentives like GTA's famous stunt jumps, no minigames, no races, no easter eggs. Now, obviously an easter egg is out of place in this somber and dark game representation of the Godfather trilogy, but come on! Throw us a bone, EA! The city of New York stretches before us. The rival families have felt our wrath. Give us something to do!
Unless you count the hidden "film reels" that unlock 15 second clips from the first movie, there is no reason to revisit this game after completing the very scripted story missions.
The graphics are definitely aging. As should be expected, the textures are not the best, since it is the whole of New York being rendered, but what were the developers thinking when they used textures that make Half Life 1 look as good as the sequel compared to this? I understand that the game is now 2 (3?) years old, but Just Cause came out shortly after and sports some astounding visuals while rendering 30x more than this game did, environmentally. Then, of course, there is the monotony of the interior textures and layout. If you've seen one racket, you've seen 'em all. The vehicle models look like boxes on wheels, the lighting is way off, and the object distance makes me look farsighted! (I have worn glasses for 10 years now. I am myopic.) It's pretty bad when you are driving along a Brooklyn that looks just like the Little Italy you just passed through, but when, on top of that, a car pops up in front of you?! *swerve* Phew! AW CRAP! PEDESTRIAN! @#$* Then your cop heat is at max, and you didn't even mean to hit the guy. He just materialized in front of your car. That won't fly in court, let me tell you that. Part of the fun in these games is intentionally running over the occasional pedestrian, but when they practically drop in out of nowhere? That's just wrong. The poor guy never had a chance.
All told and truths disclosed, this game kept me entertained for the duration of the main story. The combat is exciting and well varied. Muscling shopkeepers only got old after the 30th time (that's 29 times that it was fun!), and the execution moves were entertaining and easy to pull off. In the end it was approximately 5 hours and one sitting worth of shats and giggles. $5.96 is roughly = to 5 hours of gameplay and enjoyment. However, my heart goes out to the unlucky people who bought their copy when it was first released. Now, even though this is a fair and unbiased review of one game only, I would like to recommend that anyone who wanted this game to be so much more than it was check out Scarface: The World is Yours, Just Cause, and True Crime: New York City.