What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game far surpasses the violence in Francis Ford Coppola's mob masterpiece. The game features 22 execution styles; enemies can be "kneecapped" and "wallpapered." Players spend most of their time slapping around local shopkeepers and attempting to intimidate them into paying protection money. All of this is in addition to the standard Grand Theft Auto template of carjackings, violence against innocents, and cop-killing.
What's it about?
Players control a young hood whose mother asks Don Vito Corleone to find a place for him in his more established -- and somehow more respectable -- crime family. Players work their way up in the syndicate's structure by extorting businesses controlled by rival families, performing contract killing, and generally hustling on the street. When Vito Corleone faces a life-or-death crisis, players make a name for themselves in the organization and begin their fight to become crime king of New York.
Is it any good?
Fans of the movies may have fun with the Godfather-based material: Familiar faces and scenes pop up, and dialogue is often straight from the movie. Players chat with hotheaded Sonny Corleone or drive the hapless Fredo around town. They hide the gun for Michael to retrieve and visit Hollywood to deposit a bloody -- uh, present -- in the bed of an uncooperative producer.
But there aren't enough of these moments. Mostly players operate around the Godfather story, not getting involved in its unfolding. Missing that connection, The Godfather: The Game seems to exploit the most brutal aspects of the films without expanding its narrative. What we're left with is a well-executed and fun-enough Grand Theft Auto knock-off (with all the associated liabilities) dressed up in a snappy pinstriped suit.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how the Academy Award-winning film and cast (Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall both lend their voices to the game) influence the perception of the game. Is the violence and vulgarity legitimized by The Godfather name? Can movie-based video games ever be something more than an extended marketing vehicle for their source material?