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Wii: Godfather: Black Hand Edition Review

Having enjoyed reading the book, The Godfather, I had come across a topic on the gamefaqs message boards. There was a comparison between the different Godfather videogames that have been released within the last couple of years. I had played The Godfather games back on the Xbox, but didn't last longer than a few hours thinking the game to be another GTA clone, or specifically, a Mafia clone. The thread I was reading said time and time again how The Godfather: Black Hand Edition for the Wii was the best of the bunch. I read some reviews and sure enough, The Godfather for the Wii received the best reviews. So with that plus my lack of games for the Wii, I decided to give it a shot.

Now for those who have played the other Godfather games, the basics of the game are the same. The differences with the Wii version is bits of gameplay revamped to make use of the Wii controller and nunchuck. Also, new missions were added to the game to provide even more play over the other versions except for the PS3 version which was developed at the same time as the Wii version.

I found a cheap copy on Amazon.com that was here within a few days. Popping in the disc, I noticed one minor yet annoying flaw when the game started. The opening video of Don Corleone's speech could not be skipped. When you consider the 50+ hours of gameplay the game has, seeing that video over and over again starts taking its toll on you. You start the game with an opening video that explains your character's part in the Godfather saga. For those who haven�t read the book or seen the movie, The Godfather takes place in 1940s New York. The story follows the Corleone family led by Vito Corleone. The Corleone family is one of the five mafia families that control New York, and a war begins between the Corleone's and other families for ultimate control of the city. Your character is the son of one of Corleone's soldiers that the Don knew of, and like many stories, he was killed leading you to get revenge. Once you grow up, you start to work for the Don as small time thugs till you eventually become a major player in the family. The game follows the basic storyline of the movie and book with exceptions to certain parts that were changed in order to allow an actual game for you to play out.

Your sandbox for the game is New York City, specifically several boroughs such as Brooklyn, Hell's Kitchen, Little Italy, and you can make a trip to New Jersey. As expected from the Wii, the graphics are not groundbreaking. If anything, they're a slight improvement over the Xbox version of the game. However the city is large and you can drive from one end to the other without having any load times. The city and vehicles look accurate for the times but there is just nothing that is truly eye opening. The characters themselves are detailed especially those characters from the movies. You can create your character using the known EA face customization interface found within many EA games. James Caan and Robert Duvall never looked better replaying their characters of Sonny Corleone and Tom Hagen respectively. That's right, a few cast members lend their voice to the game with the biggest surprise being the Don himself, Marlon Brando, did provide some voice work prior to his death in 2004 but was scrapped and replaced by an impersonator who does a great job.

In the game, you'll be given missions by various members of the family. Thankfully, the missions increase in difficulty and objectives very early on so you won't have the constant easy carrier/driving missions found in most sandbox games. There are set missions that move along the main storyline, then there are side missions used to earn money and respect, and also, true way to controlling neighborhoods is presented to you and provides the longest aspect of the game. On the map, you can see different symbols representing the other families of New York. These symbols represent a small business or rackets that is controlled by that particular family. It is up to you to convince those shopkeepers to acquire Corleone protection over their current protection. A small few will switch with no problem and with that, they will agree to pay the family a weekly fee. Now for those braver shopkeepers, you may have take negotiations to another level to convince the shop keeper that the Corleones offers the best service. Tools of the negotiations includes destroy items within the stores and a few fists to the face of the shopkeeper. A small bar on the screen will show the balance you have to keep when going through negotiations. Depending on whether you destroy the store or beat up the shopkeeper, that bar will change and hopefully, you're convincing the shopkeeper and he will eventually pay up. Even when you reach that point, you can continue with the mayhem and he will pay even more money. But get too crazy and the shopkeeper will not give in and start to fight. Once the shopkeeper agrees to pay the Corleone family, there maybe a backdoor that gets unlocked leading you to a racket. There's a boss of the racket that will have to be convinced to let the Corleones get into the action. Typically, this is done without violence at all. Now with the business under the Corleone's total control, the only thing left is to clear out some of the thugs around the shop. Since the thugs were providing the old protection, they'll come after you once you start causing trouble.

Here comes in the unique controls that make the gameplay more unique of this particular version. While shooting, there�s nothing special. You use the remote to aim and shoot, while the nunchuck has the target button and lets you reload with a quick move to the side. There's a selection of weapons but they�re mainly classed as pistols, shotgun, or tommy gun. Where you see the big difference lies in hand to hand combat. Like other Wii games that have hand combat, the nunchuck acts as your left fist and the controller is your right wrist. You can just spam the hell out of the controls and throw hundreds of punches or you can dodge and setup for power punches that require you to pull back on the controller to start the punch. For fun, grab your opponent and now you can use both your controls to slam the opponent against the wall, smash his head against a bar, or even push the poor slob into an electric panel and watch them get electrocuted. After you've given the bad guy a beating, you're given a chance for a special execution. The executions require a special motion with the controls so when competed, you�ll given your opponent a broken neck or a curbstomp. If need be, you can always jump into a vehicle and run away like a coward. Even though the cars are old, they do handle pretty well, even allowing a powerslide here and there.

Throughout the game, whether it's killing bad guys, completing missions, or succeeding in negotiations, you're given respect and money. Money has obvious uses like buying weapons, but also allows you to hire other thugs to back you up or payoff the police so they turn the other way when you commit crimes. Respects acts as XP and the more respect you have will increase your level. Once you level up, you can add points to different skills. Some skill improvements make you run faster or punch harder. Others improve your health and make it easier to take over a business. A few skills will give you new abilities such as the ability to hotwire parked vehicle and drive off without raising the heat level with the cops.

Among the GTA clones, The Godfather: Black Hand Edition doesn�t breaks any new ground. Instead, it gives a good experience that goes along well with the movie. It doesn't try to be over violent or gangsta, but instead takes you back to a time when killing someone didn�t need you to lose some class.

Score - 8.0/10.0

- O.G.



article id: 11 | poster: Lyynk

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