Godfather: Blackhand Edition Review - 26/04/2007

The Godfather movie was released in 1972 and was one of the first of many masterpieces from that era. It also happens to be one of the best gangster movies of all time, great story, great acting and great cinematography; it seems all a good game needs is a great starting point.


The Godfather game loosely follows the story set out in the movie and indeed some of the scenes are like watching the masterpiece itself. The game starts out with you creating your player through EA’s face changing screen that they try and shoehorn into everything these days; as usual the face you make for your character is well rendered and adds that more personal touch to your overall gaming experience. Once your likeness is put into the game you start as an errand boy running scams and rackets for your mob bosses, with the aim of the game to rise through the ranks whilst following the plot of the story until you become the Don. Because the game is free form you can of course neglect the main story and just steal cars or randomly mug innocent bystanders.

The problem with ‘sandbox’ games is that without the story pushing you, just wandering about doing random things can get a bit boring quite quickly, which is where the Godfather's story really pulls you in and keeps your interest on the job at hand; this makes the game so much more than an imitator to the Grand Theft Auto games, and it makes it far superior.


The explosions look 'supoib'

Of course the Wii version has come a year later than the original version, so what extras have EA added to satisfy the fans of Nintendo’s console? Firstly the Wii remote and nuchuck have become your fists in hand to hand combat, every swing and punch is replicated on screen, when your dishing the justice to your enemies you really feel you’re in the game. Of course it’s not just punching, but swinging baseball bats and strangling gangsters is also mapped to the controllers. To add to the fun guns are used by aiming at foes with the remote, each body part is individual, so shooting a felon’s kneecap will take him down, like wise you can shoot guns out of enemies’ hands. The only disappointing part of the control scheme is that the driving sections don’t make use of the controllers and a standard steering/accelerating method is deployed across the nunchuck’s analogue stick and the remotes buttons.

In addition to the control differences more missions have been added along with a few more favours and tasks to be completed before you gain access to stores, after you have extorted and threatened the shop keepers for a cut of the profits, which is possibly the only boring part of the game due to the repetition involved. More shop interiors have been added over the previous versions and the whole game has been given a slight makeover, textures are smooth and the frame rate never dips even during the car chase sections.


Bat…too…heavy…losing...balance…

There is even an RPG style element involved as your gangster gains more experience through missions, which in turn give you credits to spend on upgrading your abilities, such as being able to take more hits or the ability to plant car bombs on your enemies. It works for the most part, but can be a lot of work as you have to come out of the game and into the menus to enable it. If you could automatically upgrade it would be a lot better as going from the game's story and into menus spoils the feel of being in the movie.

Because of the freeform nature of the game there is loads to do and this game will take you a long time to see everything; obviously if you keep to just the missions then the average player should get at least forty to fifty hours gameplay, which is good value for money, especially with the great story.


Prepare for the biggest bitch slap you've ever received punk!

Overall the game is one of the closest film to game conversions ever, it really is immersive and all film licenses should be handled with the respect EA’s developers have shown here. The graphics are good enough whilst being unspectacular and the music score and voice acting are near spot on from the film’s original. The game will last for as long as you the player wants it to; and although there is little replay value once the main story has been completed, whilst it lasts it is great fun with the Wii’s controller once again showing that motion controlling is the future.


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