The Godfather II

To get it out of the way, yes, the gameplay is similar to GTA:SA/Saints Row in the sense that you take control of places and have to defend them from rivals and you have your family which is basically like having followers, the only difference is is that each member of your family has a skill like safecracking, arson, engineering and importantly, a medic.

Once you go through the preliminary intro sequence, your first task is to escort some important mob members to saftey through what is essentially a war zone, make your way to an airport and fly to New York which is where you begin your reign as Don. Michael Corleone gives you a rundown and after some talking, you recruit your first family member and off you go to start taking over local businesses in order to bring in some revenue.
Money is only needed to upgrade you and your crew, income from properties can be slow since you need to employ guards at $100 per day each and to be honest, they’re useless. Even if you max out the guards, it only takes a small group of a rival family to beat them, all the guards seem to do is suspend the amount of time it takes for the property to be taken over or for you to get there in time to take them out.
Sending a crew member can sometimes help, but even they usually get hospitalized and become unavailable for the next six minutes, which leads you to believe that the AI isn’t quite up to scratch, yet your ‘made men’ can be rather effective when fighting alongside you.
The gameplay is nice and familiar due to reasons previously mentioned with traffic and pedestrians still a problem as cars somehow are attracted to your vehicle and suddenly decide to swerve into your path and as nice as it is to have plenty of people around to make it seem that it’s more true to life, they can be annoying when getting in the way as you pull out of a driveway or suddenly get out of their car when you accidentally bump into them ever so slightly, resulting in an unnecessary jam.
Talking of cars, there appears to be a slight bug with when you go into a property and come back out, you never know what state it could be in when you leave or even where it is. I found it leaning against a wall at one point, on the other side of the road, in the middle of the road and for some reason, multiple versions as if it had genetically spliced and was procreating somehow.
Another bug seems to affect your character as he’s walking, the knees are somehow bent while walking, giving the impression a toilet break is desparately needed. Crew members can appear to go nuts as they run around in circles, jump onto the floor for no apparent reason which can be funny at times, but doesn’t affect gameplay.
To make money quicker, the option of helping people can earn you $1500 or even $10,000 that can be spent upgrading your character and familys chance of survival and skills, beatdowns get you $1500 while insurance frauds can earn you $10,000 and murder will bag you $5000.
Different people have certain icons above their head which indicates the type of help they want, the ones with a key icon are usually murder cases and will get you info about the location of rival family members of which you can execute. They need to be executed in a specific way in order to be successful, otherwise you’ll either just get them arrested or sent to hospital to recover, but taking out a Dons family lessens the chance of them taking over your properties.
Taking over a crime ring earns you a bonus such as bulletproof vests and bigger ammo clips, as long as you keep hold of the crime ring, you keep the bonus, but if even just one of the businesses get taken over, you lose that bonus. There’s a lot going on to keep you busy and not just in one place, once you’ve defeated a Don, somewhere new opens up and you find yourself flying from one state to another to keep on top of things, it’s just a pity there isn’t a ‘warp to’ option which would save a lot of time, the option of sending crew members doesn’t guarantee a successful defense.
Having a wide selection of weapons from the start is quite unusual, but at least you have something to get you going. There are three levels of weapons that start with a basic pistol, .344 Magnum and the classic Tommy Gun as well as melee weapons like pool cues and baseball bats.
A slight problem is how you select weapons, it’s based on the old scroll through method which means it’s best if you choose which weapon you want before going into a conflict, you don’t want to get caught out choosing something when you’re in the middle of a rival business with around eight guards shooting at you.
The game is big and the main thing that makes it more difficult is having to defend what you have taken from other Dons, keeping a regular income to pay for guards is pretty important, even if all they do is slow down the takeover until you get here or send crew members. As long as you keep your medic with you and he doesn’t get shot down before you, that’s all it can take to obtain or defend a business and if you’re defending, there can be people with skills wanting to join the family hanging around that may even join in and help.
There’s lots of dialog and one of the good things is you don’t hear too many things repeated by the in-game characters, it’s pretty hardcore which is why its rated 18, not just because of ‘adult’ language, but the way you can pummel a guys face in and also how women wearing only panties can appear in random places. Defeating the first Don should only take around 4 – 5 hours of real time play if you take things easy, but then you have to deal with his brother who starts taking over places in New York and already has an empire in Florida, so just when you think you’re finished for a while, think again.
It’s too similar to other games to call it unique, which is a shame since it’s based on part of an all-time classic movie trilogy, but that’s not to say it’s bad, it’s actually good and the 3D map is something different from the rest. Apart from the little bugs and the little annoyances, The Godfather II is a good way to build up your achievement score, yes, another EA game that has easily obtainable achievements of which you should be able to get at least 80 – 100 or more in the first session. The easy control system makes it simple to get to grips with and all the info in ‘Don’s View’ (which you get to through the map) keeps track of all that goes on, so you can check your progress.