The Godfather Review (PSP)
When the Godfather was fist made almost 35 years ago, the last thing Francis Ford Coppola, the director of the classic trilogy, was thinking about was the spin-off video game, as in 1972 the height of video game technology was PONG, and the very first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey had just been released. It has been said that Francis Ford Coppola is very much opposed to even the idea of The Godfather game, and it seems like he would be even more against the PSP version which takes you a lot further away from the original story than the console versions do.
Free-roaming PSP games have been made, GTA: Liberty City Stories is a fine example of how the combination of freedom, crime and portables works so well, but apparantly EA don’t believe so. Otherwise they wouldn’t have ripped out the driving sections and the ability to explore New York in favour of a turn based card strategy game. Luckily the whole game is not based upon a weak copy of Risk, there is a story mode, but to complete the game and become Don of NYC you’ll need to get used to looking at a map and your hand of cards.
In The Godfather you follow the story of a young man working his way up through the Corleone family, in a series of events that are roughly parallel to the events of the movies. You do this through a series of rather linear missions, which see you running through levels shooting everything you see. While this may sound like fun, it become very tiring after a while due to its extremely repetitive nature.
The missions lack any variation and without the added driving sections of it’s console brothers you will become bored with this very quickly. One mission in particular shows the potential that this game had, it involves sneaking around the grounds of a mansion in order to hide a horse’s head in a bed. What is a very memorable part of the film is also a very memorable part of the game. You sneak around trying to remain undected and killing any guards that get in your way. It provides a welcome change from just storming through levels with your guns blowing up everything and everyone you see.
While the plot of the game is very interesting, as would be expected from a game based on one of the best movies of all time, you aren’t able skip the cut-scenes at all, meaning, even if you are playing through for a second time, you are forced to watch sometimes very long videos that occasionally aren’t useful to the development of the plot whatsoever. This may not be much of a problem for console games, but in a portable world were games are generally a lot more pick up and play this can become infuriating.
Cut scenes will not be the only annoying thing about this game, a combination of control scheme and camera angles at times seems as though it is conspiring against you to make some of the levels a complete nightmare to play at times. You’ll find a wall in the way of the camera, and as you press the L shoulder to lock on to your assailant nothing seems to happen. While all this is happening you are being continually shot with a tommy gun, and by the time you’ve fix the position of the camera and killed your enemy you’ll either be dead, or have lost a considerable portion of your health.
The graphics in the game are great, they not look as sharp or polished as The Godfather did on the PS2, but considering this is a PSP game it does look very nice. But at times you’ll be too busy trying to manouvre the camera into position to bother admiring the beautiful scenery, and detailed character models. The same goes for the music, which sounds very impressive coming out of the PSP’s speakers.
Mob Wars is quite an interesting concept for EA to include, and it gives gamers who already have the console verison a possible reason to buy this also. But that is only if they are a serious fan of cards and turn based strategy games. At first it seems like a very confusing concept, especially if, like myself, you decide to skim through all the on-screen instructions telling you exactly how to play the game.
For the game New York has been divided into different territories and at the start each family, of which there are five in total, has three territories that they are in control of. Basically at the start of every turn you are given money, from the buisnesses you own, and dealt cards. You then can recruit mobsters that will carry out your bidding, but you are only allowed one of these in each territory you are in control of. You can move the mobsters into unoccupied land, for a very easy takeover, or take control of the opposing families land in a slightly harder mission. To completely eliminate the opposing families you need to destroy their compounds, which you can do by a surprisingly easy mission in which all you need to do is place two bombs in two seperate houses. Once you’ve defeated all the rival families you’ll be declared the Don of New York City.
Mob Wars can become repetitive also, most of the extortion missions simply involve going to a shop and talking to two different people. After doing about five or six of these, you begin to wonder what is the point, as it is so similar to the mission you’ve just completed. Mob Wars may be fun, but it will only last you a few hours at the most. It’s far too easy and lacking in variation to give gamers with the console version a decent reason to buy this.
The Godfather could have become the perfect example of how to do a GTA clone on the PSP, but instead it manages to do the exact opposite. Without free roaming there is very little to actually do in the game, and you’ll hurry through it or just give up, which ever you choose it will still only last you about 10 hours at the most, and a lot of that time will be spent watching the cutscenes.
Don’t choose this game over it’s bigger console brothers, even though the strategic Mob Wars is fun its not much better than a game of Risk.