Reviewed by Andre Delaney 1st April 2007
Out of all of many movies, Godfather is one these movies that we would never imagine getting a game, bit this happened just because of the increasing free roaming aka GTA clones, it was a challenge for EA to make a good game about the best movie ever, according to the internet movie database. There were games for Jurassic Park, movies for star wars, but a game for the GF trilogy, I'd never imagine a game about Godfather. While the movie may arguably deserve the #1 spot, it will be hard for a software house such as EA to make this game be conspired an unanimity among the videogame history. Considering that Vice City was Scarface without SF skin, Mafia was The Godfather without GF skin, but considering the relationship Movie-to-game, we can preview that Scarface the game may disappoint.
You have to agree that making a game about a serious movie like The Godfather will take away a bit of the seriousness of the movie. Seeing Marlon Brando in 3D cutscenes maybe a bit funny, but better than nothing nonetheless.
I'd say The Godfather is not only the best GTA clone, but is also the best movie based game. A GTA clone, you can wander around the streets and do what the game has to offer in terms of free roaming gameplay, but as a GTA Clone, GF is not free of annoying training missions before you can start your trek.
You first have to watch the unskipabble cutscenes of the movie, then the tutorial on how to attack, but I make it easy for you, you have to hold the L1 button and attack with the right thumb stick (aka R3, aka the stick that was totally useless for PS1 games), it may be annoying to punch with that button, but it will get cool later (yet still inconvenient).
Don't get fooled, the cutscenes of GF are high quality, that are not bad compared to those of famous videogames, principally those of rendered in real time. The main character gets a relationship as if he existed in the original movie
You can create your own character in the game, though you may only create a character similar to Italians, that is, a white character to dark skinned whites (similar to a quasi-latin guy) though you can't create a black guy or an Asian (even trying to hack the advanced configuration on eyes). There are many options to create the face of your hero, but sadly there are configurations that don't have a great contrast, unless you look at them detailed, the difference is useless, so the difference will be in the skin colour, hair and hair colour.. You can change the clothes, but you need to buy the, with a feature to buy instead of having all the clothes available, the average player will just don't bother on making the character and go straight on any configuration.
You can give your character a name, but the characters in the game won't pronounce his name. Finishing your "child" you can roam and drive those simple textured vehicles. Out of all GTA clones, GF cars have the worst textures, they look so simple, the greater details are only in the tires. However the city is very beautiful, maybe losing only to Getaway and Driv3r/Driver4:PL, but definitely better than San Andreas and True Crime. The explosion effect is the second best after Driv3r.
Sadly, the same can't be said about the terrible system of weapons, in the first training of weapons, you can notice the flawed system of shooting, you press the shot button and you only hear the sound of the shot after you are getting shot. The first mission involving weapons I was dead before reaching the boss because the enemies damage me more than I damage then, and the weapon you get in that mission is t3h suck, luckily, if you die in that mission, you can restart from that same point, just having to shoot people again without need to travel to that place again.
But you have to live assaulting shops, it becomes difficulty after the mission involving shooting, since the people in the stores have their henchman, but nothing is impossible, you have to learn how to defend yourself one way or another. Also they removed the jump button, they thought a jump button would be useless in the game since there are no mountains or no places to jump, but still, it would be cool to jump in this game. You are glued on the ground as in The Getaway, the cars don't flip
The game world has the size of vice city, though every city has the size of all the map of GTA3, but the cities have different cops, which are more annoying than GTA since you have small space to work, just two cars on a road horizontally, like in Getaway, and there are rare occasions where there are many cars in a line. You can get killed by the cops and the soldiers who trash you while you try to trash a different character, and you will die, because you can't exactly defend against the others while you are hitting one.
In free roaming games I always wanted free roaming over missions, but in this game, I'm always looking forward to doing those missions, even if they are short or hard, they are better than roaming the streets, the cities have always the same textures and buildings, all the cities feel the same, it's not like in San Andreas where you start in the ghetto then you travel to a desert and a richer suburban.
However, the enterable places in this game are more visible than in GTA, I haven't counted them, but most of the buildings have a place to enter. even single character have a name, the ladies on the street you probably going to trash her up has a name, you can even execute him.
The frame rate is not one of the softest, but it is good considering for games like these with so many people and cars. Sometimes the slowdown is excessive, but luckily these occasions are rare. The sound is very good, it features the music of Nino Rota in the key moments of the game. and gives the game a GF climax.
But for those who like free roaming this game doesn't disappoint, if you can stand the cities who look old (more likely, I'd say, in the 30s) you will lovely this game, and for killing people you have many options, you can lock on a person with L1 and spank it with the R stick, you can even execute them with R2, you can even crush their necks. Sadly, killing people in the streets is only fun with your hands, with weapons it's not the same frenzy action of the GTA series, you lock way too much on a single person, and this can be annoying when you have the cops on your tail. Needless to say, getting the attention of cops when you need to reach a certain place within a specified time limit in the small space you have to run is very inconvenient.
The weapons are many, but due to the boring control scheme for them you have to waste time getting used to the browsing system of them, I got confuses I pressed the button to shoot but the confusing system made me to switch to another weapon, but then it was too late, I got the game over screen, but you be in the nearest hospital, but it is not fun to do the same things knowing you will have to face the police every time you try to kill people, so get a gameshark and disable the cops. The cop system is very harshly, when you steal a car you already get one star, but you just need to kill 3 people for the police to start chasing you... it is annoying, but not more than having to press triangle twice to enter a cat, press triangle and your character will make the driver get out of the car, and press triangle again to enter
That's all I have to tell you if you want to buy this game for free roaming mode, cause now I'm going to tell about the game-movie relationship. Despite many comments, I recommend you to watch the movie first before playing this game, the game feels like a Godfather's side story, if you want to understand more the game, it's better watching the movie, if you didn't like the movie's plot, you probably won't like playing the story of GFG. Until the end of the game there will be plenty of spoilers for the movie. In the game, you play as Michael Corleone, but you can change his name and his appearance as I have mentioned above, The game contains many of the original movie videos, but most are cutscenes using in game graphics not FMV, this happened because the cut scenes were the only way to make your own created character appear in them.
The bad points that there some things missing in the game, Al Pacino is not in the game, sadly, he didn't agree to participate, maybe because he was hired to be played in the Scarface based videogame that will be out in 2006 or 2007. But if you are the one who enjoyed Marlon Brando, James Caan, Robert Duval, John Cazale and Lanny Montana, they are all in the game, there are many others, but I won't list them here. The Godfather without Al Pacino is like Nintendo without Mario, but we have to live with the fact that AP is not in the game at all, all the scenes in the movies where AP was there, are not in the game.
But don't expect all the movies here, this game only covers the first movie, DeNiro maybe only in the next game.