by Keaton Arksey
reviewed on X360
It's only business
When it comes to movies, it is a rare occurrence that a sequel can match the success of the original. The Godfather II is one of those. A cinematic tour de force, the film managed to match the original and in many ways surpassed it. So it comes as no surprise that after the original The Godfather game was released to commercial acclaim on almost every platform known to man, a game based on the sequel would be released. After the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, the bar has been raised when it comes to sandbox games. While The Godfather was able to succeed where so many fail, one would believe that the effort would need to be increased to match the new order. In some ways, The Godfather II manages to set itself apart from the norm.
Taking place during the events of the movie, you are cast in the role of Dominic; an underboss in New York in Aldo Tripani's family. If you played the first Godfather game, you might recognize that Aldo was the character you controlled and eventually became the Don with. Aldo, however, gets killed early on, and Dominic is thrust into the role of Don.
While you don't control your character's name, the first thing you do is choose Dominic's appearance. The character creation tool, while not particularly deep, does offer enough variety to create a variety of mobsters. The game kicks off in Havana, Cuba, at mob boss Hyman Roth's 100th birthday. Plans are to be made on how Roth's assets will be divided up upon his death when the Cuban revolution breaks out. While Roth's plans for Cuba were seemingly going to bring the families together, the revolution only serves to divide them.
The interface in The Godfather II is similar to that in the first game. Similarly to GTA, you are given free reign in cities to do missions, take over businesses, and assassinate rival made men. Unlike in the first game, you aren't given one large city to play in, instead having Havana, Miami, and New York. None of the areas are overly large, and you should rarely get lost.
The game controls work well and there isn’t a whole lot of complexity to them. Gun combat is handled the usual way, with the Left Trigger used to lock on and the Right Trigger to shoot. Melee combat uses the Blackhand controls from the original game. The Left Trigger punches with the left hand and Right Trigger handles the Right hand. There are a variety of combos you can pull off (my personal favorite being the arm breaker), and if you want to get really up close and personal, using both triggers grabs enemies. At this point you can use your environment, dragging them to windows and leaning them out, smashing them against tables and walls and just throwing them around. Execution moves are also available, with each weapon having different moves depending on whether the victim is kneeling or standing. These range from just punching a guy in the face repeatedly with your bare hands, shooting a goomba (not the Mario enemy) in the back of the head with a pistol, or shoving a Tommy gun barrel into a guys mouth and letting rip.
The graphics in the game are passable, and not closely comparable to Grand Theft Auto IV. The aesthetic does warrant some merit, and the game definitely sticks true to its roots. The character models look good, though thugs and civilians tend to look a bit too similar after a couple of hours of playing. The game does have a few glitches, and pop-ups occur much to frequently. Everything to trees and lampposts to textures on cars and walls tend to pop out at you, especially when driving around.
Music and voice acting
The game uses the original score from the film, and the voice acting is well done. While Al Pacino was unable to voice Michael Corleone, his fill-in did a good job. Much like their appearance, people on the street say practically the same things with just different accents. After the first few times, you'll probably wish you could just skip most conversations entirely.
No Pros and Cons at this time