The Godfather: The Donís Edition
contains all of the content from the 360 version of the game and adds a load of new features to improve and tweak gameplay. These include Sixaxis support, reworking of city layouts and interiors, as well as new family compounds and businesses. The added features help improve the game, though at the same time donít make it a better one.
The game takes place during the first movie with you taking the role of a player-created character who doesnít show up in the movies, but plays a major role in just about every major event in the movie.
After witnessing the murder of your father, a high-ranking member of the Corleone family, by a rival family, your mother turns to Don Corleone for help. The game opens with the wedding scene from the opening of the film where your mother is asking the Don to protect you. Of course, by protection she means take you into the family, a favor the Don is happy to grant. He soon places you under the watchful eye of Luca Brasi, who shows you the ins and outs of being a mobster.
You begin as an unofficial enforcer for the family, which means your main job is to muscle protection money from local businesses. Sometimes it only takes a few heavy-handed words to get a shop owner under your protection, though some require other means of persuasion. The more common way is to smash up their shops, though you may have to use brute force to get your point across. This can be accomplished with a few well-placed punches or by other means, such as holding their head in a furnace. Some will even ask you to complete a favor for them while others may be under the protection of other families Ė meaning youíll have to apply a little more pressure or gun down a few rival thugs.
Once a business is in your hands, you earn a cut of its profits. Money is hard to come by early on, but once you have a few businesses under your belt, youíll have more than enough. Some stores even serve as fronts for other illegal rackets, mainly bars, casinos or brothels. Once a business is under your control, you can then negotiate with the person running the other activities, earning you even more money.
While most of your time is spent trying to take over the cityís businesses, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy. Story missions weave in and out of the movieís plot. While faithful to the overall story, several sub-plots are left out Ė making the game feel a bit hollow. It is fun to interact with famous characters, though you canít help but feel like youíre watching a watered-down Cliff Notes version of the movie. Some of the events also seem a little too convenient. You are there when the Don is shot (you even drive him to the hospital), you hide the gun for Michael and you are the one who delivers the horse head. I can understand including major events for authenticity, but it sometimes feels like you are the sole reason for anything happening, taking away from the overall story. There is, however, a more personal story that involves your character that fits in nicely with the main plot and, on some level, the movie's theme that violence and revenge only make things worse.
As you go through both story-based missions and perform other duties, youíll earn respect points, which will move you up the ranks in the Corleone family. You begin as a low-level enforcer, but soon move up to be one of the Donís most trusted men. Higher rank within the family brings special privileges, the biggest of which is the ability to hire goons to help you out during missions. At a low rank, you can hire one low-level thug, but eventually you can hire up to three, higher-ranking henchmen.
Respect points also play into the development of your characterís skills. Once your character ďlevels,Ē you can add points to various parameters, unlocking new skills and bonuses. Some increase your maximum heath, while others improve your shooting and driving skills or allow you to use different explosive types. The skill system has been reworked in the PS3 version. Skills are now divided into two types: Operator and Enforcer. When you drop points into a skill, you can unlock new abilities, many of which didnít appear in previous versions. Some are useful, while others introduce some balance issues and remove the tense fun of some situations.
In all, The Godfather has its moments, though when compared to other open-world games, it doesnít match up all that well. The story can be completed in about 15 Ė 20 hours, while the added side-jobs and mob wars bump it up to the 30+ range. One of the bigger issues is that there arenít as many chances for ďplayĒ; instead everything is very structured and linear. Of course, this isnít completely the developerís fault since I am sure license and the gameís time period probably influenced how much could be done, but at the same time, I didnít feel as compelled to go back and replay the game often.