Giant Bomb News

20 Comments

Hold the Strings

We take a first look at EA's strategy-enhanced take on The Godfather II.

You and your crew after a job well-done.
While I enjoyed EA's first game based on The Godfather, it ultimately wasn't much more than a GTA clone adorned with the trappings of probably the most famous crime movie ever. It was an effective combination, but in the wake of Grand Theft Auto IV, open-world games like that need more to set themselves apart. EA's doing some interesting stuff with The Godfather II, which I got to see in action for the first time at the publisher's Redwood Shores headquarters.

The Godfather II seems to play pretty fast and loose with the fiction of the film, perhaps even more so than the last game. While the movie split time between two different eras of the Corleone crime family, the upcoming game will focus entirely on the Michael Corleone era. You'll conduct family business in New York, Florida, and Cuba, but the time the game takes place has been pushed up from from the 1950s to the 1960s, a choice that the game's creative director Mike Perry said was made for aesthetic reasons. You'll interact with characters like Fredo Corleone and Tom Hagan (voiced once again by Robert Duvall) but beyond that, it doesn't sound like the game will follow the events of the film.

You'll play again as a new character, though instead of working your way up through the organization, you'll start out at the top, having been given the title of Don by Michael Corleone himself at the start of the game. Herein lies the biggest addition that The Godfather II will make to the formula established in the first game. While you'll get to spend plenty of time playing the part of the thug, shaking down business owners for protection money and battling it out with rival crime families, you'll also be able to look at the Corleone family from what EA is calling Don's View.

This new feature essentially turns The Godfather II into a strategy game, allowing you to deploy Corleone soldiers as well as see what the other families are up to. There are a number of business ventures that you can get involved in, including firearms and the diamond trade, and if you can take complete control of one of these rackets, you'll be rewarded with perks in the action side of the game. Cinch up the firearms business, and you and your whole crew will get high-capacity ammo belts.

This is how a Don sees the world.
The repayment of favors is a concept that pops up repeatedly in The Godfather films, and it will play a role in the gameplay in The Godfather II as well. In the example shown during my demo, the player character encountered a district attorney on the set of a porn film, who asked him to trash up a business that a front for a rival crime family. By performing this task, the player could then have the DA perform a sting operation on another family, crippling their operations.

There are a number of other adjustments being made to the core gameplay as well, such as moving the hand-to-hand combat controls to the triggers, and the new ability to run with a crew of specialists like arsonists and medics whose unique abilities can give you an edge in combat. You'll also have to concern yourself witnesses during combat, as enemy soldiers from rival families can call in reinforcements.

I really like the idea of adding an overarching strategy element to such a well-worn style of action gameplay, and while I didn't get any hands-on time with The Godfather II, I sensed a bit of a disconnect between the two halves of the game. Even conceptually, it seems a little odd that the leader of an international crime syndicate would be out in the field getting his hands dirty. Hopefully the development team will be able to address some of these issues before the game's early 2009 release.
20 Comments
Posted by Ryan
You and your crew after a job well-done.
While I enjoyed EA's first game based on The Godfather, it ultimately wasn't much more than a GTA clone adorned with the trappings of probably the most famous crime movie ever. It was an effective combination, but in the wake of Grand Theft Auto IV, open-world games like that need more to set themselves apart. EA's doing some interesting stuff with The Godfather II, which I got to see in action for the first time at the publisher's Redwood Shores headquarters.

The Godfather II seems to play pretty fast and loose with the fiction of the film, perhaps even more so than the last game. While the movie split time between two different eras of the Corleone crime family, the upcoming game will focus entirely on the Michael Corleone era. You'll conduct family business in New York, Florida, and Cuba, but the time the game takes place has been pushed up from from the 1950s to the 1960s, a choice that the game's creative director Mike Perry said was made for aesthetic reasons. You'll interact with characters like Fredo Corleone and Tom Hagan (voiced once again by Robert Duvall) but beyond that, it doesn't sound like the game will follow the events of the film.

You'll play again as a new character, though instead of working your way up through the organization, you'll start out at the top, having been given the title of Don by Michael Corleone himself at the start of the game. Herein lies the biggest addition that The Godfather II will make to the formula established in the first game. While you'll get to spend plenty of time playing the part of the thug, shaking down business owners for protection money and battling it out with rival crime families, you'll also be able to look at the Corleone family from what EA is calling Don's View.

This new feature essentially turns The Godfather II into a strategy game, allowing you to deploy Corleone soldiers as well as see what the other families are up to. There are a number of business ventures that you can get involved in, including firearms and the diamond trade, and if you can take complete control of one of these rackets, you'll be rewarded with perks in the action side of the game. Cinch up the firearms business, and you and your whole crew will get high-capacity ammo belts.

This is how a Don sees the world.
The repayment of favors is a concept that pops up repeatedly in The Godfather films, and it will play a role in the gameplay in The Godfather II as well. In the example shown during my demo, the player character encountered a district attorney on the set of a porn film, who asked him to trash up a business that a front for a rival crime family. By performing this task, the player could then have the DA perform a sting operation on another family, crippling their operations.

There are a number of other adjustments being made to the core gameplay as well, such as moving the hand-to-hand combat controls to the triggers, and the new ability to run with a crew of specialists like arsonists and medics whose unique abilities can give you an edge in combat. You'll also have to concern yourself witnesses during combat, as enemy soldiers from rival families can call in reinforcements.

I really like the idea of adding an overarching strategy element to such a well-worn style of action gameplay, and while I didn't get any hands-on time with The Godfather II, I sensed a bit of a disconnect between the two halves of the game. Even conceptually, it seems a little odd that the leader of an international crime syndicate would be out in the field getting his hands dirty. Hopefully the development team will be able to address some of these issues before the game's early 2009 release.
Posted by MasterSplinter

I haven't played the first game and I can't say I see myself playing this one either.

Posted by Stokes

I will so be playing this after how much I enjoyed the first one.

Posted by GalvanizedNails

never touched the original, i dont see any reason to touch this one either.

Posted by Artie

This game looks SWEET.

I loved the first Godfather, very underrated game.

Posted by roofy

i liked the first one despite the 3 types of cars.
hope this one turns out great

Posted by slowpantz

looks a lot better then the first one

Posted by Death_Burnout

Oh i heard you weren't a custom character, but if you say you are then great! the first one was actually a great game and this one seems better, almost reminds me of the strategy game "Gangsters"

Posted by Vinchenzo

I might try it, I should try the original while I'm at it.

Posted by oobs

i liked the first game..just because of the story..you couldn't even jump..but this sounds promising..am sure i will pick it up

Posted by Claude

I played Godfather: Blackhand Edition on the Wii, I liked it, but got bored with the slow play. I still want to like the franchise and now I'm intrigued.

Posted by Milkman

I played a bit of the first game which was pretty good but I'm not sure about this whole Don's View thing.

Posted by albedos_shadow

I kind of like this strategy game idea. Sounds interesting.

Posted by imayellowfellow

lol this sounds a LOT like that scarface game for the psp

Posted by MetalRocker

The first game was great and this one looks like it will improve on it.

Posted by RHCPfan24

I really enjoyed the first game, so this should be a lot of fun.

Posted by ZeroCast

Hope the sequel builds upon the concepts of Godfather one and improve this rather good game to a great one.

Posted by ZombieHunterOG

the only thing they changed about this game that i liked about the old one is the hand to hand i like grabbing people with the LT and then flicking the right stick to punch and stuff

Posted by simulation

guaranteed buy from me

Posted by RedSox8933

idk, doesn't look that great, even though i liked the first game.