The Godfather is one of those games that’s just phenomenal and I’ve lost track of the hours I spent playing it. Released alongside such games as Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess it’s fair to say that 2006 was a strong year for gaming but this was perhaps the pinnacle. This isn’t surprising when you consider that it’s based upon an undeniably classic movie. I mean The Godfather has Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Robert Duvall all at the zenith of their careers and this powerhouse of a movie translated to the medium of video game incredibly well. It allows you to experience the broad strokes of the movie but through Aldo Trapani a character original to the game. While I actually happened to like a few of the other similar games such as Scarface: The World is Yours and The Sopranos: Road to Respect this game truly set the mark and is truly the best example of its kind.
I think what really raised the level of this game other than the story and game mechanics which I’ll touch on in a moment was the fact that several of the main cast of the movie lent their voice and image to their respective characters in the game adding a sense of legitimacy to it as well as just increasing its standard via star power. The only hold out was Al Pacino who opted instead to lend his to Scarface (which was also an impressive game)
Something which I always found entertaining was that the games followed the trajectory of the movies to an extent. The first game and movie were both superb, the second did well but not quite as well as the first and the third well for the game there wasn’t one and with the movie there shouldn’t have been one (I’m joking of course I don’t think it was quite as bad as everyone says)
I think what’s best about it is that it holds true to the film that we all love while giving the player something to do. It’s engaging and surprisingly long (although I will say that It was a little shorter than I remembered when I was replaying but that might have just been because I’m notoriously bad at video games) I think this game is perfect for anyone who watched the movie and wanted to be a part of it. Because you get to play through the pivotal moments of the movie (my personal favourite is the scene with the horse’s head) while building up your own criminal empire as the new Don of New York.
Much like the mafia is all in the family you really feel like part of the family in this game. You join the infamous Corleone crime family and battle their rivals.
Now I can’t say this game is perfect the combat mechanic frankly sucks. It takes far too much time to actually get used to it. The very first mission throws you into it, I first played it on the Xbox and I just struggled to get to grips with it. Perhaps it was playing on a new console at the time I was Playstation all the way but even if that were the case it wouldn’t explain why so many other people complained about it as well. However once you do get into the game and get used to the combat mechanic it can be quite enjoyable. Something I never quite got used to though was the driving mechanic which suffered from what I call ‘Rockstar syndrome’ where vehicles control sluggishly and too much like you’re operating a motorised couch as opposed to a car. The Godfather seems slightly ahead of the trend with this though because it’s much better than Mafia which deals with similar themes.
One of the best things about the game by far are the extortion missions they make you feel like a proper crook and at the same time are a lot of fun. Sure smashing up a bakery and then punching and threatening the owner into submission doesn’t sound too nice but it can be an awful (and I mean that in more ways than one) lot of fun. You start to really feel like an enforcer as you take on New York and rise to the top by demolishing your enemies and taking a cut from any business that wants to stay open.
As well as taking over shops and businesses you can also take over warehouses which are fiercely guarded. I have a love hate relationship with these areas. On one hand I really like it because it’s a challenge and you know you’re getting good at the game when you successfully take over your first warehouse and I dislike it because it’s stupidly hard at times. You could be inches away from the end and take a Tommy gun in the back and you’ll need to start all over again it can be maddening if you’ve hit a losing streak and just keep dying over and over again. It’s even worse if like I mentioned you get close to the end then next time you die you’re nowhere near it because it feels like a huge step back. But all in all it does make it that bit more rewarding to complete it.
The open world environment is quite impressive for the time. There are obviously limits but they capture a version of New York very well and you really feel like you have room to explore and expand as the game progresses.
If you haven’t played this game already I suggest you get yourself a copy because it’s truly a gem of a game which makes up for its few failings and weak points with tremendous game play and while it doesn’t add a great deal to The Godfather franchise it’s certainly a fantastic supporting element.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org