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The Godfather 2
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

EA Redwood Shores
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy is widely regarded as one of film’s greatest achievements; with the second film in the series seen as the best of the three.  You’d think this would mean that the developers would take their time crafting a similarly memorable gaming experience right? Not at all. Save for a few key innovations, The Godfather II game adaptation is nothing more than a run of the mill action title – in fact in some instances – it’s less.

The Godfather II starts players off shortly after Aldo, the original game’s protagonist and head of the Corleone family “business” in New York is assassinated.  This prompts Michael Corleone (Al Pacino’s character in the films for those out of the loop) to promote your character Dominic into the deceased crime boss’ place.  You’re charged with re-establishing the family business in New York, and expanding it into other regions like Miami and Cuba.

Make no mistake about it – the developers have taken quite a few creative liberties with the classic film’s story.   Now, I’m not the type of guy to nitpick over the smallest discrepancies, it’s a reimagining of the original story – I get it. But when those creative liberties start to interfere with what made the film so great, something has to be said. One of the pivotal moments of the film (and trilogy for that matter) is when Michael finally tells Fredo that he knows he betrayed him. While this event does happen in the game, it takes place at the Corleone family compound fairly late in the game rather than in Cuba like the film. Why? These are some of the most memorable moments in the history of a storied medium – did the developers really think no one would notice?

"...players feel like they truly are the Don of a mafia family."


What Godfather excels at is making players feel like they truly are the Don of a mafia family; unlike most games dealing with the same subject matter that merely make you feel like a thug. Thanks to the new Don’s View mode, Godfather feels less like a run of the mill action title, and more like something fresh. Think of it as Sim-Mafia. Don’s View opens up a 3D map of your controlled territories as well as those controlled by rival families.  From here you can plan your attacks, and in an almost RTS like fashion, attempt to take over rival territories.  Want to merely send a message? Send a couple thugs to set a couple fires. Want to really make an impact? You can actually accompany your family members into battle.

The truly great thing about Don’s View is that it can also be used for other smaller tasks that expand the experience and have the ability to truly alter gameplay. For instance, making a deal with a corrupt politician will result in the local police force looking the other way for some of your crimes. You’ll also get rewards when you take over enemy territories including the ability to carry additional ammo when you acquire a gun-ring or more cash when you expand your drug business. The Don’s view mode gives the game a more open, non-linear feel that more action games should look into implementing.

It isn’t without its problems though, in fact once you actually spend some time with Don’s View you’ll realize it’s incredibly flawed.  While you have an incredible array of options as to how to expand your family business, your rivals just don’t seem that into taking you down – in fact, they seem downright lazy.  Employing no strategy, your rivals will often send only one or two guys to take out some of your assets. They won’t send a distraction, or make you choose between two different sets of attackers – they just send one or two guys to try to take you down and call it a day.  Where’s the challenge in that?

"The game itself is unbelievably easy..."


Another issue is the game’s completely unbalanced difficulty level. The game itself is unbelievably easy, and anyone who’s ever played an action-adventure game will have no problem playing through The Godfather’s short campaign. Really, the only aspect of the game that presents any form of a challenge is the horrid AI. Especially early in the game, most of your family members won’t be able to figure out how to get around cars that are in their path, let alone carry out a hit.  Luckily your enemies aren’t much better. They really make no effort to protect themselves during gun battles to a point where it’s comical. Remember those old fashioned carnival games where you shoot the targets that just pop up at you? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

The Godfather II story goes back in time and sadly, so do the graphics. Looking more like a PS2 game than anything from this generation, The Godfather II’s graphics are just plain ugly. Some of the environments may look nice from far away, but they get jaggy, monotone and blah once you get up close. The character models don’t look much better either, as they seem to move robotically and have absolutely no personality. Hey, at least the explosions look pretty cool.

Credit must be given to the developers at EA Redwood for trying something different with The Godfather game. Taken for what it’s worth, the Don’s View mode is entertaining and opens up gameplay – it’s just too bad it feels like an unfinished concept. Fans of the trilogy should check out The Godfather II as it allows for players to experience many of the film’s events from a new perspective, but gamers looking for a satisfying action-adventure experience are advised to look elsewhere.  



CHEATS USED: Health Regen, Crew Health, Drain Target Health, Unlock Upgrades

Your allies suck. They’re going to jump in the way of guns firing and odds are they’re going to die. Unless you have the unlimited health cheats available as part of the Cheat Happens trainer. Since in a roundabout way, you’re success is tied to the fates of your men, the cheat to instantly regenerate your crew (or your own) health is almost invaluable.

While you’re at it, why waste time taking your enemies out? Using the unlock all upgrades, instantly drain target health and similar cheats you’ll have a much easier time taking out all of your rival families. The game is easy enough as it is, but the action get’s repetitive after awhile and these codes fix just that.


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