Reviewed: June 16, 2007
Released: March 21, 2007
For anybody who loves the Godfather movies, which I do, hearing that they came out with a game that takes place in the world created by Mario Puzo and made famous by such actors as Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Robert Duvall, was extremely exciting. And what better way to allow you, as a player, to explore that world than through a GTA, sandbox-style, do-what-you-want kind of game? ďForget about it.Ē
When they ported The Godfather: Blackhand Edition over to the Wii, I was initially kind of skeptical, since the Wii has not been very well known, so far, for its more hardcore style games. Especially one with a Mature rating. But after playing the game for several hours, though, I realized that they really did a good job of keeping true to the atmosphere of the game and adding just enough to the control and input system to take advantage of the Wiiís unique style, without going overboard to the point where it didnít make sense.
At first, I was a little overwhelmed with the control system in the game, thinking that there was no way I would remember all of the different things that you can do to beat the living crap out of your opponents in this game. Everything from slamming them against walls and countertops to throwing them over railings, punching, kicking, shooting, exploding, etc. Basically, if your sick little mind can think of it, you can probably figure out a way of doing it to somebody in this game.
Also, they start you off with a very well done tutorial that doesnít really feel like a tutorial, just more of an introduction into the game and the world that youíre suddenly finding yourself thrown into the midst of. So, after youíre done with the tutorial stuff, youíre pretty much ready to tackle the rest of the game with no problem.
I really enjoy the way you can manhandle people by simply grabbing them using the main trigger buttons on both the remote and the nunchuck and the swinging your arms around as if youíre holding the guy by his shirt and doing the tossing yourself. Itís really a great way to take out some pent-up aggressions.
Moving around is a little awkward at first, but after playing for only a short while, you get really used to the control method and it becomes rather intuitive. And there are some really nice little details, like twisting the remote like a door knob to open doors instead of just pushing a button.
Driving is also a little strange at first, but after a few wrecks, you quickly get the swing of it. Another nice little use of the Wii controls is you push the nunchuck forward and it honks the horn of the car youíre driving.
The AI in the game is pretty well done. I found that people react fairly realistically to varying levels of violence. Getting shopkeepers to agree to pay your family protection money is extremely enjoyable. Seeing how far you can push them, without pushing them over the limit is a test of your self-control over greed.
They also added a new feature in the Blackhand Edition, which is Mob Wars. If you push another family too hard, youíll cause them to start an all-out war against the Corleone family. A timer will start ticking down, giving you a short window of time to go to an area controlled by the other family and blow it up, or else they start whacking your guys and blowing up your own shops and rackets.
There are a ton of things to do, but the problem that starts happening the more you play the game, is that some of the things begin getting slightly repetitive. One major part of the game is extorting business owners into paying your family protection money. Even though the shops are different and the ways that you can extort the shop owners vary, there is a kind of system to it that, once it is learned, there really isnít that much of a difference from business to business.
The story-related missions are very cool, even featuring voice acting from some of the stars that played the major characters. It really puts you into the movies and makes you feel like youíre a part of everything that happened.
For a Wii title, where graphics arenít expected to be as good as, say, on the PS3 or Xbox 360, I was really impressed with the graphics. They arenít outstanding, by any stretch, but they are clean and detailed in the areas that matter. Probably some of the best graphics on a Wii game that Iíve seen up to this point.
Some of the best graphical features are experienced during combat scenes. When the bullets start flying, and stuff starts blowing up, the really sweet details start coming out. Youíll see cars take damage in very specific ways: taillights will blow out, windows on the side that take an impact will break, and more. Youíll also see front windows of stores get blown out by a shotgun blast, or by a body getting tossed through them, with a very nice glass shattering effect. And fire from explosions of Molotov cocktails and dynamite and exploding cars is very pleasing to watch, but preferably from a distance.
I wasnít too particularly impressed with the sound in this game. Iíd have to say that if the game lacks in any one specific area, this would be it. They add small sound effects that help add to the ambiance of living in the time period of the movies, and they use authentic music from the movies that definitely adds to the feel, but the actual sound effects are only all right.
Maybe if I had a better sound system and really cranked it up, Iíd notice things that I maybe didnít while playing, but overall, the sounds are only enough to add that third dimension to the game, but nothing really that much more.
The voice acting is great, however. I really enjoyed hearing those same voices that I have grown to love over the years of watching the movies. I was happy that they didnít just try and get some guys that could do passing impressions. The best is hearing Brando as Vito Corleone.
Iím not saying that the sound is not good in the game, Iím just saying that, overall, thereís nothing all that special about it that made me want to give it an outstanding score.
Iíd say that since there are so many things to do, and such a large area to explore and fight over (all of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and some of New Jersey, as well) the game definitely has a large replay value. Even after finishing off all of the story-related missions, youíll still have plenty of territory to try and take over and also the quest towards making yourself the Don of the Corleone family. And along the way, youíll be sure to pick up enough heat from the opposing families that youíll get yourself into plenty of mob wars and raging battles to keep yourself interested for a long time coming.
If you are the kind of person who kept playing GTA long after you had ďbeatenĒ it, youíll probably find yourself doing the same with this game. Especially if youíre really into this time period, because they do a wonderful job of making you feel like youíre in the time of bootlegging and Tommy guns.
I definitely think that EA did a good job with this game to start with and they did an outstanding job porting it onto the Wii to make it different and interesting enough for the unique things that the Wii can offer its players. Where it lacks in graphics, it will make up for in the playing style.
Even if you have already played this game on another console, I would recommend at least renting this game on the Wii to see how the subtle little details can really add a lot of enjoyment to a slightly clichť gaming genre.