The original Godfather game from EA wasnít exactly a ground-breaking title, it had a few bugs and it was fairly repetitive in design and scope. I enjoyed it though and I felt that it needed a bit more meat on the skeleton. So, now we have Godfather II where there have been a few changes and some new elements added, especially in terms of multiplayer.Story
Dominic is promoted to Don of New York after a tragic event in Cuba plunging him into a brutal all out war with the other crime families. Godfather II provides a solid story with a great deal of character and style, as usual, weíre not going to give any deep details away so youíre going to have to play the game to discover it.Gameplay
Itís an open world game set in various cities; the playable area isnít as great as some of EAís competitors out there in sandbox land but itís the game-play that sets the Godfather II apart from the others. Itís a standard 3rd person shooter mechanic with the usual set of controls for running on foot or driving, you can get your crew to shoot from a moving vehicle with a press of a button and concentrate on driving. The game allows you to customise your character and outfit them with various suits and so on, change weapons and gain access to new abilities by spending your hard earned (stolen) cash.
What really differentiates the game from the likes of GTA IV and Saints Row 2 is that you have a complete control over your crew, of which you can recruit 3 other members to join you in your escapades. You can customise their clothes, looks, features and weapons just like you can your own player. You can buy them new abilities and get them new weapon licenses as well as making sure your crew is coordinated to match your characterís style.
Gunplay is excellent, lock-on works properly and the weapons feel great.
Your Family builds over the course of the game and you can promote your men to the ranks of Capo and Underboss, whilst you as the Don sit at the top of the tree. Story missions will open up more slots for your men and whilst you can only have 3 running with you at any given time, you have quite an expansive family that can be used for other tasks. You can recruit various specialists around the game world; some are good at being brutal brawlers, cracking safes and getting into places through fences. Some just like to blow stuff up or set fire to it. Each crew member should have the skill you require and they can be sent to try and take over rival businesses or blow them up from the meta-map.
The meta-map, aka the Donís view, is the greatest innovation in the game and it provides detailed information on your crime empire. See a business is unguarded, no problems, just spend some cash to buy guards. Under attack, send a few of your crew to help fend the enemy off or pop down a waypoint and do it yourself. Thereís a bewildering amount of information for the first time player but itís all presented clearly and concisely in this view.
As you progress through the game youíll need to take out rival families, theyíll attack your businesses and cause you no end of problems. Complete side missions for the general populace in a very Freelancer kind of way (remember that space sim folks?) and youíll earn information on the rival Made Men. Use this information and go hunting, once you have their kill condition you can take them out of the game and make it much easier to muscle in on the rival families operations.
Each business you own is part of a Crime Ring, it conveys a bonus, lose a business and youíll lose that bonus. Brass Knuckles, Bullet Proof Vests, Armoured Cars and so on Ė they can be taken away if one of your links in the Crime Ring chain falls. So guard them carefully, likewise you can take an enemies bonus if you pick one of his businesses to bomb or take over. Get all the businesses in a Crime Ring and you get the bonus, itís a simple and tactical mechanic that means you can approach the game how you want to play it, using your own tactical style of play that suits you.
Once you have all the businesses and fronts, the family retreats to their compound. Charge in, take down their guards and finally rig the place to blow. Kill their Don and you win the city. This city can be attacked if other families have turf there so you have to be mindful of the whole picture, not just your current city map. Fortunately the Donís view allows you to send defenders out to defend businesses at the click of a button.
Godfather II also has an expansive hand to hand combat system, numerous Mob executions and brutal hand to hand attacks. You can grab, threaten and beat the living daylights out of anyone in the game. Throw them out of windows, off rooftops and smash them against the scenery Ė vital skills to learn when youíre trying to take over a business or front. Get it right and the owner will roll over, get it wrong and theyíll fight back if you push them too hard. Everyone has a breaking point.
You can always try again though, so itís not that bad. You just need to wait a day or so of in-game time and try once more.
There are lots of repetitious side-missions to try in Godfather II; they earn cash, favours and information on rival families Made Men. The problem is that they are vanilla and fairly simple; they offer little or no challenge.