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SummaryThis game made me punch an innocent woman in the face until she was bleeding out of her nose and mouth.
The GoodWell, the only other review of this is Simon’s. Simon didn’t see The Godfather II (film), and that makes his a bit funny, but he is right about the story feeling lacking. The best thing about Godfather II was that ½ of it was flashbacks to Don Corleone kicking ass in the 20’s. You don’t get that here, so it’s literally ½ of a movie plot. User Pixelspeech did a structure in a recent review and I’m going to borrow it because I think it keeps a good focus.
- Beating guys up hand-to-hand in this is very fun. This is years ahead of GTA.
- Ammunition is actually relevant here. You will run out and you will need to go back to the safe-house to stock up.
- You get to dress up your goons as well as yourself. Silk suits to t-shirts variety, full custom patterns; blew me away with how customized you could look.
- Although you know the plot of the movie they found an interesting way to tie you into it.
- Very powerful menu tool called ‘The Don’s View’ handles every aspect of the game. You can, in the middle of a gunfight, bring your goons in, send other guys to take something over, change your weapon, and all from one menu.
- Mainly good voice acting, although Marlon Brando doesn’t feature (big surprise). No Pacino or Deniro either I guess. I guess James Caan’s character is dead anyway so good job there. They did get Duvall though(?)
- The explosions for this game are just beautiful. Blowing stuff up is hilarious!
- I know it’s a game, and it’s even one of those ones where it’s really easy to kill people by accident. It’s even one of those games where crushing a pedestrian with a car is just something that happens occasionally. But this game made me, as part of the plot, brutally assault some poor female business owner. That’s not something I like doing and this game gets points off for being a jerk.
- The driving in this game is frankly terrible.
- The engine isn’t finished. Things will happen and the engine will have to reset you because it doesn’t know what to do.
- Story is lacking. I know it would have disrupted the strategy elements of the game to switch between time periods, but the game actually occurs in chapters, so they could have done brief chapters of 1920’s-1930’s new York and kept the best parts of the plot in there.
- Killing a frail, old, unarmed man isn’t much of an end boss fight. Same argument as my one-line summary: this game is a jerk.
The Bottom LineStory
The way they had to do the story was to continue to insert the new character (you) into the movie plot in a way that you are the key element to the events in the film. This was done okay-ish, but the way the story usually continues is that you have to answer a payphone for each main story segment. Well I’m the kind of guy where you give me a job to do and I do it. So I wiped out an entire family of goomba’s that was supposed to last between several story segments. This meant that I was left hanging with nothing to do for about 2 hours. The ‘family’ that you build up over the game really lacks character. Sure, they look different enough, and they say funny things, but why does it stop there? I get that EA wanted you to choose out of a bunch of guys who to recruit – but they only did about 5 different ‘voice sets’ for them anyway. They don’t even write proper bio’s for them. They’re just guys with guns, even when you make one your underboss he doesn’t act any different. These guys don’t add anything to the story, and they could have. Maybe your 2nd in command gets kidnapped and you need to go get him. Maybe the bad-guys kidnap his wife and he’s forced to set you up – they aren’t used for the story properly and you can feel that. The smart thing for EA to do would be to record different sets of dialogue with each of the 5 voice actors, dialogue for every rank, and use them in cut scenes as well to tie what you’ve done into the story instead.
Dominic (you) is not a compelling or interesting character. He’s a violent man, not particularly bright but loyal. He never reveals insight, or contemplation. He’s just not a nice person to be. Playing him right after playing John Marston in Red Dead Redemption was jarring. The movie characters like this guy? Why? I guess because it’s in the script? I can’t even really remember anything he said outside of threatening people. I guess this is what happens when game writers cut and paste with masterful writing from a much bigger budget picture.
Game-play This game has some very insightful features, and it has some very silly over-sights. The level of polish on what exists is very pretty, but a lot of things aren’t as fully realized as I am used to. I’ve been playing a lot of Bethesda/Bioware games and they have just beautiful game engines. This one has some quirks. Let me give you some anecdotes:
1. I was driving around with my guys (three of them) in a sedan I stole from some bozo wearing a hideous plaid suit. I didn’t really have a destination in mind, just cruising and listening to the radio. One side of the sedan looked like it was parked at a driving range for several months in golf season. This was because I drove over a curb (with the tire) on that side and the games damage calculator figured that’s the same as scrapping against a wall for 30ft. We’re in some kind of parking garage and I’m headed for the exit. I don’t realize until we get close that we’re on the 2nd floor. But I can just drive right off (no railing) and I accelerate to do so.
Some guy on his way to work looks up as the front wheels of my sedan appear above him. He looked right at us. And then he took a car to the neck. There was a *skrit* from the PS3 as it asked the game engine what to do in this case. The man sank to his knees and then fell over, much like being shot in the head, bearing the weight of the car to the ground. This moment inspired my current e-mail address because it etched itself into my mind with its sheer bizarreness.
2. I was driving ‘my’ car, a big boat of a Cadillac rip-off. Again, 3 guys with me, all wearing ugly blue bullet-proof vests that ruin being able to change clothes (you can’t take them off, as soon as you control a racket they are permanent). We’re driving at the ludicrous speed of 65 mph or so. Most cars in the game hover around 20 mph. It’s impossible to drive at 65, the camera is freaking out, the wind noises go whoosh, and you lay down skid marks changing lanes. I swerved to miss a tanker truck, struck a curb, and the whole car flew into the air doing barrel rolls. It flew right off of the over-pass I was driving on, and it landed wedged with the passenger’s door towards the ground, up against a pole and the interstate. And then the car faded from existence, and I was standing on the interstate again. And my goomba’s come running up.
3. One of my favorite things to do in the game when you have a lot of frustration is to sprint at high speeds down a street and swing at people as you run. You don’t lose any momentum by this, and the punched person launches 5 or 6 feet backwards through the air when it. I’ve punched people through fruit stands and road barricades this way.
4. I had to try 4 times to take out a rival family’s Capo. In order to make them stay dead you have to kill them a certain way. In this guy’s case I had to throw him off the building he was standing on. To do this I had to grab him and drag him over there. Ever try to run up and grab a guy who’s got a shot-gun? And he wasn’t stupid, he’d wait for me to run at him, shoot me, and then finish me off as I’m recoiling from the first blast. The second time I managed to grab him, but I had to re-grab him about 10 times on the way over to the ledge. He broke free just short of it and ran back to the center, plugging me along the way.
And that’s the kind of things that happen while playing, little things but stupid things. Oh, and there’s no jump button. That’s never a good sign EA.
This game is very polished looking. The other reviewer noted that guys look ‘cartoony’. And they do, but it is fitting with the visual style of everything else. It’s a very sundrenched world that I think speaks to the optimism and nostalgia of that era – when Kennedy was president and people were middle class. Women’s Rights are the talk of the town, people talk about the Cuban Missile crisis, it’s all very appropriate.
Even the cars are all shiny and nostalgic. I like it. The menus are beautifully done with little pop-up animation on the map and slick sound effects. The casino’s make dice noises and the brothels coo at you – it’s well done.
Aside from being pretty though, this game suffers from (in my opinion) a very bland kind of level design. It’s very GTA Vice City (except that game had a jump button). The businesses that you can take over are laid out so that you have to follow a linear path to the person who you need to beat up and exhort. This can be very frustrating because they put goofy obstacles that a normal person would just climb over to cut you off. The worst offender was a huge cylindrical concrete tube that I could have walked through in a game with a better engine. I’m willing to bet this was done so that multi-player would be less prone to people exploiting engine glitches and jumping around everywhere like a jack-ass.
There are topless women in this game. Well, there are two topless women in this game; they just switch their facial features around. The idea that 6 women in a topless show all have the exact same complexion is weird to me. Neither of them is a very good skin map and their breasts haven’t been told they’re free of a bra. Sometimes they work in your businesses as coke cutters. You see It makes sense because you don’t want that stuff getting in your clothes, but they just recycled the ‘nudie bar’ model. So you’ve got someone in a back room wearing high heels and frilly lingerie to cut drugs. You can flirt with them, but there’s no point because it doesn’t go anywhere. They are just there because woo boobies. I’m sorry EA, I don’t go woo for boobies anymore, and I like intelligent characters now.
Maybe they just wanted to hit the 14-19 year old audience with this?
Well this game is meant to be played online for death-match etc. I don’t really like playing online, so if you’re like me you’re paying for the single player game only. I’ll re-play a game if I figure I missed out on something or there’s an alternate angle to it. With this game I put the brakes on for the last chapter and tried to milk as much play variety as possible. I killed every made member of both boss families (which takes a long time), did all of the optional stuff. I did it all, there’s no need to play it again.7
Even if there were, I don’t think I’d bother.
I just bought a PS3. This is the third game I bought for it. I am disappointed in this game, but it is still an above average game. It’s better on a technical level than Way of the Samurai 3. I think I wanted to play LA Noire but the fact that I was already buying a Rockstar game put me off that.
What could they have done better?
Look, Robert Deniro’s career is kind of suckin’ right now, he should have been involved. Honestly they should have done both parts of the movie. If not spliced together, then as separate modes or having the 1920’s module be the reward for beating it.