Review: Godfather II, Straight Outta Cuba

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The clock is approaching midnight in Havana, Cuba and Michael Corleone is attending a party for Hyman Roth.  In the midst of the fiesta, Fulgencio Batista makes an announcement of his departure of Cuba, and resigns his Presidency.  The Revolution has begun and Fidel Castro makes his move to take over Cuba.  As the Cubans riot the streets because of this dramatic change of government your first mission as the playable character Dominic, is to lead Michael Corleone to safety and reach the awaiting plane for departure back to New York City.  Not often do I walk every part of the map in a single-player game, but EA Redwood Shores’ Godfather II’s eye to detail made me do just that!

codenagodfatheriinov287Control yourself first, then the Familia. The control system for Godfather II is very similar to GTA IV and Saints Row.  You can enter (or hijack) a vehicle using the “triangle” button and run/drive with the “X” button (sprint by tapping “X).  Equipping yourself using the weapon wheel (L2 +”R3”) is very convenient and easy to view your inventory.  When you want to drop the guns and use your fists press L1 and R1 (left and right punch) continuously to deliver blows.  While you can vault over low walls, you are not able to jump.  As far as your family, when you have men in your crew, you can call them over to you by whistling “square”, or have them complete a task on an object by pressing “O”.

blog_jhasan1_012709Just Like the Movies, Listen to Tom. Tom Hagen (Voiced by Robert Duval) is your Consigliere, so be sure to listen when his messages pop up.  Throughout the story Tom will join your family and there’s no better adviser.  Tom will keep you informed when your business is under attack and will give you the opportunity to send your “made men” to the scene and defend it.  Tom also advises you to hire guards at each business you take from rival families.  So pay close attention to Tom, as his guidance is key to a successful Don.

Decisions Make You. Godfather II is a decision based story in a sandbox world.  You’re asked questions along the way concerning your next move or judgment, to which there is no right or wrong answer.  What you choose will be your destiny.  So choose wisely.  Although no matter how many times I attempted to pick up chicks in the nightclubs I was never successful.  Maybe it’s the Tommy Gun in my pocket.  Sometimes you may want to listen in as characters talk among themselves, you may pick up a hint as to who is really interested in joining the family.  I found this pretty neat, especially as I noticed the further away I stood, the lower their voices were to hear.  Nice touch EA!

What Happens In The Family Is Everything. You’re the new Don of New York and what that means is you need a good family behind you to get the job done.  Within your own safehouse or businesses, certain characters can be interviewed as a possible soldiers.  Those characters will have a cash crest over there head indicating their eligibility and a smaller icon indicating their class.  Using your controller, you press on the D-pad to ask certain questions about their background and specialties.  There are six classes eligible to join your family; Bruiser, Demolitions expert, Arsonist, Medic, Safe cracker and Engineer.  You’ll want to staff your family with a Safe Cracker and Demolitions expert right away, Bank Heists are a must.  Each and every character has their own background and one of twelve different ‘personalities’.  So a bruiser for example might have an alcohol problem, and swig bottles during brawls in bars.  Godfather II really stepped up their crime activities, and the numerous ways to generate revenue.  Rackets are your primary source of income.  Take over enough Rackets and you’ll own that Crime Ring.  Controlling a Crime Ring gives you and your family perks, such as; brass knuckles (Prostitution), bulletproof vests (Diamond Smuggling).  I chose Prostitution right off the bat.  While the idea of beating up slackers with a set of brass knuckles is fun, I was in it more for the chicks.  What’s a Mobster game without a strip club?

para_17_imgTakes A Don To View The World. EA has bundled all your Godfather needs in one view.  Pressing start enters you into the “Don’s View” which is your main arsenal in Godfather II.  From this menu you can see the current city your in, and what businesses are located where.  The action takes place across three 1960s-era cities (New York, Miami, and Havana).  Each Family on the map has a color to identify themselves.  Now I’ll admit, there are plenty of icons on the map view which can confuse you.  There is an understanding learning curve, but you will get used to it.  For example, several men over a building represents how many soldiers are guarding that business or yield sign shapes show you The Don’s Connections.  While in the Don’s View, pressing “square” shows you a bit more.  You can check out your finances; those soldiers you hired aren’t cheap ($100 a day, each).

Tutorials will get you by. The Godfather II has a great tutorial system.  As you progress in the game, a short but informative tutorial cut-scene pops up briefing you on critical lessons of the game.  Be sure you pay attention, as you’ll quickly figure out intimidation is the key to success in Godfather II.  Everyone has two points.  Their bending point and breaking point.  Intimidate someone long enough, and you’ll score some big money.  Go too far, and you’ll break them which can result in them attacking back or worse, you killing them and losing that income.  Finding someone’s weak spot such as destroying their in-store inventory (Tv’s, radios etc.), will get you a 25% bonus of income from that business.  Remember, if you forget how to accomplish a certain goal, press select and hop on over to Tutorials.

codenagodfatheriinov286Customize Your Gangster Look With Polyester. What’s an EA game without being able to customize your character.  Your an Italian Mobman, Dominick, and you should look straight out of The Godfather movie, so dress the part, will ya?!  Using “Mobface”, I found that looking like a Don just felt better as I worked on my “BlackHand Brutality”.  Unfortunately, Godfather II did not incorporate the PlayStation®Eye, ie. Tiger Woods Golf, but you can attain a respectable Godfather goomba look with slicked back hair, an above normal nose size, and a pair of suspenders.

The Non-Playable Characters (NPC) Should Be MADE. I was quite taken back by the AI intelligence in an Action Open-World game.  If you commit a crime such as: hijack a vehicle, run someone over or even get into a fender bender, you’ll notice an “eye” icon in your map icon.  This indicates a pedestrian has witnessed the crime you just committed and you have to be quick and choose between several decisions to avoid the police from chasing you.  1.  Leave the scene of the crime.  2. Payoff the witness (press triangle) or 3. Threaten/beat the witness leaving them too afraid to rat you out.

You Could Take Your Game Online. Just like GTAIV, Godfather II’s online play is just ok.  You can take one of your family members online with your preference of class.  Since some of the multiplayer modes will require a specific class to defeat the other team, make sure you choose wisely; Demolitions for Assault, Arsonists for Fire Starter and Safe Cracker to open safes.   Be sure to upgrade your family members in single player mode as those skills will be transferred over to online gameplay.  While the most common form of online play (during the time of this review) was Team Death Match, you wander around the map trying to kill the enemy (blue vs red) within a score or time limit.  Your goal is to accumulate loot, and earn honors.  You can earn honors by completing certain tasks.  For example, when you’re a Medic, healing 5 of your teamates will earn you an “honor”.  With those accumulated “honors” you’ll be eligible for upgraded weapon licenses.  Remember: the skills or money you have in single player will carry over to multiplayer.

Pros
Great Ongoing story
Construct your family the way you like
Plays like GTA IV but with strategy
Completing favors

Cons
No GPS in the 1960’s
Lack of jumping
Minor glitches (ex. cutscene audio collides with NPC gameplay audio)

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With the inclusion of creating your family, running several Crime Rings and organizing crimes Godfather II takes an existing sandbox game, and upgrades it to an open-world strategy Mobster game. We loved how many different ways it was to make money (bank heists, favors etc.) because it is, after all, the root of all evil.  Be sure to enjoy the story mode and complete side missions since there are plenty of XBox 360 Achievements and PS3 Trophies to rack up.  From the comfort of my sofa, I rigged bombs onto moving cars, sniped Police officers from atop billboard signs and roamed the streets of Cuba.  Where else but in “Godfather II”!

9/10

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Readers Comments (7)

  1. Wow, great review! You’re the first blog site that I have seen that has such an in depth review of this hot release! Being that I am of Cuban descent, I can’t wait to get my hands on this game and destroy the revolutionaries myself! My granddad will be proud!!

  2. Do you need to watch the movies to understand the game at all?

  3. good interview the only website so far no ign yet thats my favorite i”m happy to see it got a 9/10 i loved the first one on the wii no i have to play it on 360 gay /the controller was a lot of fun

  4. @jd
    Well if you loved Godfather 1, I’m sure you will enjoy Godfather 2. You may find it a bit confusing at first with the Don’s View, but it’s a feature worth getting used to.

    @mzitt11
    Watching the movie will be a nice compliment as you play the game. I purposely watched all 3 films prior to the review as to get refreshed with the series. Godfather II is the best of all the movies!

  5. Good review…playing through it at the moment
    myself 🙂

  6. 9 might be pushing it, but i gave it an 8.5 so not too far off. Did anyone who played it feel like it was a tad short? Maybe I expect too much, but 16 hours seemed short.

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