You may be shocked to hear I’ve never seen any of the Godfather movies. And I understand your amazement, I get just as shocked when people tell me they’ve never seen Star Wars. So, the good news is I’ll judge The Godfather II on its own merits as a game and not on whether it follows the plot of the film closely.
You play as Dominic, a member of the Corleone family who’s soon promoted after Aldo is shot dead in Cuba. Incidentally you played as in the first game. And so you’re directed by Michael to take over New York, Miami and Cuba itself using intimidation, rackets, some wise words and lots of violence. Like the first game, it plays similar to GTA 4 in the way you drive to a location, complete a mission, then move onto the next one. The difference here is the skill you use to get what you want and how you manage your made men when it comes to protecting the rackets you’ve already created from other rival gangs.
To help you achieve king-like status you can recruit people with specialisms. Some can help you sneak into places the back way, others can blow things up and some can heal you in battle. You can also send them away to blow up objectives or protect areas whilst you take even more people with you to do away another part of the gang.
As you progress you get better weapons, bullet proof vests and even armoured cars to make you even more powerful. Unfortunately, it is possible to get a little too powerful and the game then gets a bit too easy.
For me, the most fun I had was intimidating shop owners, brothel mistresses and casino owners using fists, weapons and a fair amount of smashing their stuff up in front of them. Grabbing hold of people and slapping them about never gets tired and you can even still grab them by the collar and give them a punch in the chops whilst a cut scene is playing. Take it too far and you can kill them or get into a fight so watch the meter at the top of the screen so you know when to stop.
When it comes to presentation, everything is more than functional but don’t expect quite the atmosphere of GTA 4. Think more Saints Row 2 with a bit of spit and polish and you’ll know what to expect. Voice acting’s good though with the usual New York accents you’d expect from a gangster flick.
If you also fancy a bit of multiplayer action there are also a few modes to dip into. You play as a henchman and money you win or lose carries over to the single player campaign – useful if you want some quick cash early on.
If you wanted to play through the film’s story you’ll be disappointed but if you want a gangster game that loosely keeps the same theme, this is worth a look. The Godfather II gets a very good 7 out of 10.
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