51cpcwixajl_aa280_1The Godfather II (Electronic Arts, 2009)
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Ah, The Godfather II. I know what you’re thinking: EA plus movie franchise equals suckfest. No brainer, right? Not so fast — this isn’t as bad as you might think. The game takes a few liberties with the movie, throwing you into the mix as Dominic Corleone, underboss of Aldo Trapani (main character from The Godfather). The game starts you off in Cuba, where the mafia is trying to get its foot in the door when everything goes to hell. After you sit through a few cut scenes — ta da, you’re a don.

The Godfather II takes what its predecessor did and builds on it, adding features like recruiting your own family and a new feature called Don’s View. This time around, you can take over businesses from other families — or just bomb them. If you decide to take something over, you’ll have to defend it, which means hiring guards to watch over the place while you’re off doing your don thing.

On occasion, the other families will decide they’d prefer it if they owned one of your territories, and attempt to take it back, forcing you to defend it by either driving over there and performing one of the many fatalities on them personally or by sending one of your men to oversee the matter. This feature gives you a nice little break from the story from time to time, and if you hold a monopoly on something it provides you with a bonus. You can even choose to assassinate one of the other family’s members by killing him in a certain (sometimes elaborate) way. Once a family loses all its territory, it leaves their headquarters open to attack.

The graphics haven’t improved all that much, and look kind of garbage the farther away you are. As you get closer the graphics sharpen and show much more detail. The overall city environment does little to help draw you into the game as the buildings, streets and overall look of the look of the game is almost generically simple. The music, sound effects and banter from your men are all pretty decent, though. The game also has a very solid online mode, which gives the added bonus of strengthening your men.

You certainly get a sense that some people truly loved working on this game — and certain people felt they had better things to do. Sometimes the small things in the game can really make a big impact; for instance, when you skid out during a police chase and hit a fire hydrant, it would be really cool if it didn’t just roll over, turn grey and vanish, leaving no evidence that it ever existed. The Godfather II also suffers from its fair share of bad glitches. One that stands out the most: cars you’re driving disappear, sending your men magically back to your compound. That glitch is just fantastic when you’re surrounded by policemen with shotguns.

Overall, this is a reasonably entertaining game despite its glitches, and its solid online mode allows for some good replayability. If you have 60 dollars to spend and you love the Godfather franchise this won’t let you down. If you’re not a Godfather fan, you might like Saint’s Row 2 or GTA IV more.

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