The Godfather: The Don's Edition Review
The Don's Edition works a smattering of new content into The Godfather with good results, but it's not quite worth another look if you've played previous versions.
- The game makes great use of the film license
- plenty of challenging, multitiered missions to keep you busy
- fun combat and interrogation system
- you can explore an expansive map of 1940s New York, with no load times.
- Graphics leave a bit to be desired.
The Godfather is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. So when Electronic Arts announced that it was making a game based on the license, though it made sense as a business venture, it also seemed risky to adapt such a beloved and well-known story to a video game. That risk paid off with the PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, and Xbox 360 versions of the game, and now the game has been released for the PlayStation 3 in the form of The Godfather: The Don's Edition. There are several minor but noticeable enhancements and gameplay tweaks in the PS3 version of the game, but for the most part, this is the same game that was released a year earlier on other platforms. That said, The Godfather: The Don's Edition is still a satisfying, lengthy action adventure game, and more importantly, it remains faithful to the classic film while also creating a compelling story of its own.
The Godfather: The Don's Edition is the same game that previously came out on the Xbox 360 albeit with a few slight changes. There are a handful of new missions, a few new locations, and many modified interiors. The PlayStation 3 game also makes very limited use of the Sixaxis' motion-control feature. Aside from those few minor differences, The Don's Edition provides the same gameplay that previous versions of the game provided.
The Godfather puts you in the role of a peripheral character that didn't appear in the film but nevertheless played a critical role in the story. While the character is by no means an official write-in from Mario Puzo or Francis Ford Coppola, he meshes well with the rest of the story, a large part of which is taken directly from the film. You begin the game by watching your father get gunned down in the streets by rival mobsters. Then you flash forward a few years to the wedding scene from the opening of the film, where your mother is asking the Don to take you under his wing and offer you work. So the Don sends the imposing Luca Brasi to look after you and teach you how to be a mobster.
You start off as an unofficial enforcer for the Corleone family, which means your job is to muscle merchants into paying you protection money. You do this by walking into a store and talking to the owner. Usually the owners won't simply give in, but you can intimidate them by smashing up their stores (or their faces) until they start to see things your way. Sometimes the business owners will ask you to do a favor for them in exchange for a cut of the business. You might have to off a drug dealer who is scaring customers away from a bakery or take out a troublemaker who refuses to leave a hotel. These favor missions bring some welcome variety to the extortion game, but they're so simple and easy that they'll hardly have any effect on the way you play the game. Once you take over a business, you get a payout each week, and there are dozens of shops you can shake down all throughout the five boroughs of New York. Some stores are fronts for illegal rackets, such as brothels, gambling dens, and illegitimate importing operations, and you can buy out these rackets to further increase your weekly income.
But extorting businesses and taking over rackets isn't all there is to do. There are plenty of story missions that you'll pick up as you play. Some missions are taken directly from the movie. Most of these scenes are very faithfully re-created for the game, and it's great to be able to take part in some of the most memorable moments from the film, such as Sonny's ambush at the toll plaza and the assassinations of the dons intercut with scenes from the baptism of Michael Corleone's niece. In fact, the best part of The Godfather is that it handles the source material respectfully and offers enough new content to make it feel like more than just a by-the-numbers adaptation of the movie.
In addition to the characters, the city of New York has been rendered in detail, and you can spot specific scenes from the film as you travel the streets of Little Italy, Brooklyn, Midtown, Hell's Kitchen, and New Jersey. For the PlayStation 3 version of the game, the city was reworked to make getting around town much easier. You still need to use the map quite often, but you'll run into fewer dead-end streets this time around. There are a lot of indoor areas in the game as well, which you can freely enter without any load times. The PS3 version features improved interiors that are more varied than in previous versions of the game. So while you'll still see the same bakery or hotel lobby throughout the city, you'll also see some unique interiors that will help alleviate that sense of déjà vu.