The Godfather II (video game)
|The Godfather II|
|Developer(s)||EA Redwood Shores|
|Engine||Godfather engine (modified)|
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
The Godfather II is a 2009 video game based on The Godfather Part II, a 1974 crime drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and co-written by Coppola and Mario Puzo. The game is published by Electronic Arts and was released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. This is also a sequel to The Godfather: The Game, which was also developed and published by EA in 2006. The game was released on April 7, 2009 in North America, April 9 in Europe and April 5 in Australia. The Godfather II is played from a third-person perspective. It also contains some strategy elements, as the player's character battles rival families and take over businesses to ultimately become a "don" ruling over many cities.
Robert Duvall reprises his role as consigliere Tom Hagen in both voice and likeness as he did in the first game. However, Al Pacino, who played Don Michael Corleone in the film, did not provide his likeness or voice; thus, the character of Michael was changed significantly in the game itself. The movie's plot is not entirely adapted as the lengthy flashback sequences, involving a young Vito in 1920's New York, are not adapted for the game.
Many gameplay elements from the original game return in the sequel, some expanded and improved. Like the first game, The Godfather II is an action-adventure game taking place in an open world, and both story-based and side missions involve gunplay, hand-to-hand fighting, and driving. However, the sequel features "Black Hand 2.0" control scheme where the player can grab, knee, kick, and head-butt enemies. In a gun fight, the player can use target-lock or freely aim at specific parts of an enemy, and a disarmed or injured enemy can be approached and executed with a unique killing blow that depends on the weapon and the enemy's condition. Each of the weapons in the game, including handguns, shotguns, and sub-machine guns, have its own level and statistics, and the player is able to purchase licenses to use higher level weapons with more skill.
Much emphasis was placed on the squad mechanic, where the player can directly command a group of made men to strategically coordinate the attack. Each made man, once hired, starts at the lowest Cosa Nostra rank, soldato, or "soldier". A total of four soldiers can be "made" in order to be a part of the player's family and crew. The player also has the ability to promote a total of two soldiers to the rank of capo. These two capos are granted additional skills, and become more powerful and useful to the player. Finally, the player may promote one capo to the rank of underboss, furthering said made man's skills even more. In addition, each made man is able to use a special skill such as hand-to-hand combat or demolition expertise. By using these skills, multiple approaches will be possible when assaulting a business location or a rival family's compound.
In addition to the third-person action gameplay, the game features a strategy aspect that manages the Corleone criminal empire. In the "Don's View," a strategic overview of the game world, the player can order members of the family to expand or protect his territory. Taking over businesses is the main source of cash and reputation, in addition to the perks from controlling the specific type of business. The player's made men can be either ordered to take over the target or directly led by the player himself. This strategic gameplay is said to take up about 20% of the whole game.
Players can also, if they wish, rob banks with the help of a safecracker and will usually earn around $10,000.
Rival families will actively attack and sabotage the player's establishments in order to dominate the three cities. To weaken the rival family, businesses under the control of enemies can be attacked and taken over. Also, enemy mafiosos can be shot down during gun battles, but key members will only be critically wounded and return after a period of recovery. In order to remove them for good, the player must gather information and assassinate the target in a particular context relating to the plot of the game.
The Godfather II features a third-person shooter multiplayer mode that supports up to 16 players online. There are currently 6 maps and 4 gameplay modes announced. Multiplayer matches can be also yield in-game cash and weapon licenses that can be carried over to the single player mode.
The Godfather II takes place in the late 1950s and early 1960s over three cities: Havana, Cuba, New York City, and Miami, Florida. Michael Corleone orders the player character, Dominic, to take charge of the family after the death of his boss and New York Don Aldo Trapani, the protagonist and player character of The Godfather: The Game. Now as Dominic, the player leads the family to defeat rival international families and take control of various businesses and crime rings, in order to become the most powerful Don in America and Cuba.
The plot of the game borrows heavily from the movie, but also differs in many aspects. Some major events are out of order (for example, the invasion in Cuba is placed before the attempt on Frank Pentangeli's life), and others are rewritten (such as Hyman Roth's death).
The game begins on December 31, 1959 in Havana, Cuba, 4 years after Aldo Trapani (Rick Pasqualone) assisted in the assassinations of the Dons of the Stracci, Cuneo, Tattaglia and Barzini families (In the first game) and also when Aldo was promoted to Don of NYC. Hyman Roth (Danny Jacobs) has arranged for a meeting in which various Mafia Families discuss plans to divide territory in Cuba amongst themselves. Among those families are the Manganos, the Granados, and the Corleones, including the Almeidas, who sent their soldier, Alejandro Almeida (Vic Polizos), down to the meeting. Aldo Trapani, Fredo Corleone (John Mariano) and Dominic (Chris Cox), the new protagonist, are present at the meeting as well.  When their meeting is interrupted by the Cuban Revolution, Dominic and Aldo escort Don Michael Corleone (Carlos Ferro) and Fredo to safety, but Aldo is killed by a sniper upon reaching the airport. Michael Corleone appoints Dominic as the new Don of New York to keep the city under the Corleone Family's control.
Six weeks after the riot in Cuba, two of the Corleone's caporegimes, Carmine and Tony Rosato (Ralph Peduto and Ed Francis Martin), better known as the Rosato Brothers, renege on their former side to begin building their own organized crime families. Dominic is then tasked with recruiting underling soldiers and re-acquiring Carmine's newly owned profit rackets in New York. After Dominic has managed to reclaim a number of Carmine's rackets, Carmine offers to hold a truce meeting with Dominic and Corleone caporegime Frank Pentangeli (Gavin Hammon) to negotiate for peace. The meeting, however, turns out to be a setup. Dominic manages to escape thanks to a police officer entering the building, but Frank is apparently killed by being strangled by a garotte. After taking over the rest of Carmine's rackets and eliminating all of Carmine's made men, Dominic eliminates Carmine and his remaining men at his compound and then orders one of his men to bomb the building's gas main effectively destroying the compound and the remains of the Carmine Rosato family.
After Carmine's death, Hyman Roth contacts Dominic and asks him to come to Miami, Florida, so he can rescue his associate, Steven Ciccoricco (Joe Paulino), who was kidnapped by the Granados Family. Following the rescue, Dominic allies himself with Roth and is aided by Fredo (who was sent by Michael Corleone to help at the hotels). Dominic establishes himself in Miami and gradually takes over businesses from the Granados Family and Tony Rosato, eventually eliminating them at their compounds later on. When Don Samuele Mangano (Joe Paulino) moves his organization to Miami, Dominic wisely chooses to offer an alliance with them, which Samuele accepts. A few hours later, Fredo calls Dominic and wants to have a drink at Dominic's Florida Safehouse, Dominic and Fredo are suddenly ambushed there, but both survive the attack, thanks to Dominic's quick actions. Fredo, suspecting the Mangano Family to be guilty, breaks the alliance, also believing that Mangano's smuggling men and guns into Florida to start a war. After killing Hector Santos as a favor for Charlie Green (Robert Ernst) to gain access to the island that Mangano's Warehouse is on, Dominic's family raids and takes over the Warehouse. Mangano calls Dominic shortly after and says that he was not behind the hit and says that they need to have a sitdown at an old warehouse on Dodge Island. However, instead of Mangano being there, his consigliere, Paulo Riccitello (Ralph Peduto), is there instead.
Paulo tells Dominic that the Mangano's were not behind the hit attempt and that if they had wanted Dominic killed he'd already be dead. During the meeting, Giorgio Strozzi, a Mangano underboss, leads an assault to take over six of Dominic's rackets. Later, Fredo tells Dominic to go to Hyman Roth who knows not only how to reason with the Manganos, but also how to fix the problem. But he can't help Dominic unless he's willing to help him. Roth reintroduces Dominic to CIA Agent Henry Mitchell (Chris Edgerly), who is plotting to assassinate Fidel Castro. This situation pays homage to rumors that the CIA hired Mafia members to try and assassinate Castro. Dominic is sent to Havana and tries to kill Castro with a sniper rifle, but fails, as one of Castro's high-ranking officials, Don Esteban Almeida (Sasha Roiz) had prior knowledge of the assassination attempt and alerted the authorities. It is also suggested in various scenes that Roth was working with the Almeida Family to set Dominic up. Which explains why Mitchell and Roth wanted Dominic to assassinate the dissident leaders, removing all of Batista's (Sergio Gonzales) supporters would keep Castro as the president.
When Dominic returns to account his failures to Michael, they learn that Frank Pentangeli is alive, ready to testify against the Corleones at a Senate Investigation into organized crime. Dominic rescues Frank's brother, Vincenzo (Joe Paulino), from Hyman Roth's kidnappers, and Vincenzo convinces Frank to recant his testimony. But the family has other problems. Henry Mitchell has gone rogue, and Fredo has unwittingly betrayed Michael, due to Roth's manipulation. With the Senate Hearing out of the way, Michael decides that his enemies need to be eliminated. After killing Mitchell and destroying the rest of the rival families in all three cities, Dominic and his men carry out their last mission: Assassinating Hyman Roth. After a tense shootout in the Miami International Airport with Roth's men, airport security and the police, Dominic assassinates Roth and successfully escapes to the previously taken over Mangano Compound. When Dominic corners an unarmed and cowering Roth, the player has the opportunity to engage in dialogue - Dominic demands to know why Roth betrayed him and tried to have him killed, to which Hyman responds in a melancholy tone the famous quote "This is the life we chose". (In the original movie, Michael's soldier Rocco Lampone is sent, goes in disguised as a reporter to kill Roth, and is soon shot. Dominic instead shoots his way through the police, corners Roth as he is just getting off of his plane, and escapes alive). Michael congratulates Dominic on a job well done, and tells him his future in the family is secure. The family welcomes him in, calling him Godfather. The game ends with a reenactment of Fredo's murder from the original film, with Dominic's voice heard saying "Fredo, I'm sorry".
The development of the sequel was hinted at from as early as 2007, and EA officially revealed the game in August 2008. After the first game was released on both "current gen" video game consoles and "next gen" consoles over 2006 and 2007, its engine was further developed by EA for use in "next gen" EA titles, such as The Godfather II and Dead Space.
In accordance with the game, a spin-off based on The Godfather II was created as a Facebook application, entitled The Godfather II Crime Rings. Based on the crime rings system from the upcoming video game, the application allows participants to create a mobster (similar to the MobFace feature from the video game) and takeover rackets to build crime rings, making money, and becoming a Don. The Five Families featured in the game are the same as those in The Godfather II, and the application provided the first look at the families, revealing their names and locations. Players are randomly placed into these families upon joining the application. A player starts off as a soldier, makes their way up to capo, followed by underboss, and lastly, Don.
In April 2009, EA had sent out brass knuckles, which are illegal weapons to possess in several states, to games writers to promote the game. Realizing the issue, EA contacted all the people they shipped out to on April 10, requesting that they return the items so they can be properly disposed of.
Marketing and release
EA has released a space for The Godfather II on the PlayStation 3's online community-based service PlayStation Home. This space offers the users five poker tables for "No Limit Texas Hold'em" and the users can check out promotional video and concept art. This space was released on April 9, 2009 in the North American version of PlayStation Home. As an opening day event for the space, the Home Managers had a "Celebrity Poker Night" where the users dressed their avatars in costumes and gathered in the space to play poker.
On April 23, 2009, Electronic Arts released downloadable content for The Godfather II over Xbox Live and on the PlayStation Network. Two new multiplayer maps were made available for download. Also, a new available crew member, called Jimmy Lira, can be promoted in the Jack of All Trades pack. Like its predecessor, The Godfather II also introduced level 4 weapons for the game, which included the modern Dillinger and other weapons that are the most powerful in the game.
The game has had mixed, but overall fair, reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 68.76% and 65 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 67.91% and 67 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; and 61.88% and 63 out of 100 for the PC version. The issues the majority of reviewers mentioned were the easy difficulty, numerous bugs and glitches and the poor AI.
IGN, awarding the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game a score of 7.7 out of 10, and the PC version 7.6 out of 10, praised the gameplay that balances strategy and action, and was accepting of the game's interpretation of the story. However, the review criticized the game as too easy, mainly because of the passive enemy AI in the strategy portion and overpowered friendly soldiers. Visuals and dialogues were commended for the stylish recreation of the settings and characters, but many technical issues with the graphics were noted. GameSpot was much more critical of the game, giving out 4.5 and calling the game "uninspired, repetitive, and unfinished." Both the friendly and enemy AI have been harshly criticized for difficulty in pathfinding, refusing to follow orders, and being too easy to defeat in combat. The open-world design was called to be "inconsistent," limiting the freedom of the player seemingly at random. The "dated" visuals and various glitches were also criticized. The multiplayer was described as "functional rather than fun."
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