Scarface: The World is Yours Wii Review
The Wii is having a bit of a drought right now, there is no doubt about that. For the time being there are no real ‘must have’ titles available, and nothing that deserves unanimous praise is on the horizon either. As such, most Wii owners may very well have to look a little bit further down the spectrum of mediocrity to find something worth picking up. So, is the remake of the now year old Scarface, with a plethora of new controls added, the title to tied you through till that first possible AAA title of the autumn/winter season gets released? In all honesty it could very well be! But wait, don’t go rush out just yet as everything is not perfect.
So, if you have not been keeping up with the Scarface game in its other forms then a quick history lesson is needed. The big selling point of the games is that it allows you to step in the shoes of the icon that is Tony Montana, however instead of telling the tale spun in the 1983 film it paints the picture of what happened afterwards. Of course, for the game to do this it has to rewrite the famous final scene of the film to allow Tony to keep breathing and thus have a chance to tell the new story. So, instead of having Tony die he survives the “say hello to my little friend” shootout and loses all his money, respect, mansion and as a result has to start from the now clichéd position of rock bottom and then be tasked with the even more done-to-death challenge of working all the way back to the top. Thankfully, the whole thing is put together with a bit more pizzazz than many other hackneyed attempts over the past few years.
A big factor in its appeal is that unlike the last GTA console release, Scarface seems to have a much tighter focus on the main story, and tries not to overload the player with other morsels of extra gameplay spread out across the map. As a result, it is very hard to feel lost while playing as you concentrate on just playing though the main missions, which mostly revolve around the 16 ‘fronts’ you need to own in the game. Thankfully, a great number of the missions are fun to partake in, with many of them leaving you with a high feeling of accomplishment as you work your way through them. Also, many of the missions are highly memorable, at times even topping some of the better GTA set-pieces. Unfortunately, another aspect of the game sees you earning money by dabbling in coke and are a bit less fleshed out, needing only timed button presses to win, resulting in a bit of easy money whenever you need it. Nevertheless, the main story is very, very good and in the end that’s what counts so the inadequacies of the superfluous extras don’t really ruin the game in any way.
The biggest, or should I say ‘only’ change to set The World Is Yours apart from it’s last gen predecessors is the new Wii controls. Regretfully, this new addition does not do a lot to up the quality of the game, and depending on your proficiency with the Wiimote over the last few months it could take a while to get used to the myriad of buttons needed to perform certain tasks. Firstly, pointing the Wiimote at the screen is used for moving the camera and aiming and the analog stick on the Nunchuk moves Tony, this means than when moving around in the game the Wiimote must be pointed at the screen. Obviously, having your arm extended at all times is not ideal but in a nice turn of events Tony is quite easy to control and you never really feel like the game is getting away from you, a problem many titles on the Wii had since launch. Other options sees you having to push down on the d-pad do to 180-degree and holding down the Z button locks your view onto the nearest target. The B trigger to shoot, up on the d-pad reloads, right and left to change weapons and the + button lets you crouch or, if you’re next to a wall, go into cover. Finally, a shake of the Nunchuk activates Tony’s ‘Blind Rage’ mode, if you have your ‘Balls’ meter full, which momentarily puts the game into first-person mode and makes Tony invulnerable for a small amount of time, increasing in health for every kill.
Now, if you were able to read all of the above and imagine it in your head then you will be one of the people probably able to understand the game and end up enjoying the new controls. But, if you ended that last paragraph muttering a “WTF” then you could be in trouble. In all honesty there is no getting by the fact the controls are confusing, but with a bit of practice the on foot controls seems to work but, and yes there is a but, engaging in combat when in a car is even more baffling to your already strained digits. The driving aspect itself is okay as you just use A to accelerate, C to break and the analog stick on the Nunchuk to steer, simple. Throwing combat into this will fry the mind of most as you will have to do all of the above to drive your car and then press Z to lock on to people, B to shoot and also point the Wiimote at the screen to aim! All in all, at least in my mind, all this was much simpler when played with a normal controller, it just needs far too much thought to be regarded as fun with the Wiimote. However, with practice, and a bit of dexterity, it is possible to become skilled with the controls, so not all is bad.
Visually the game is a small step up from the twin Xbox and PS2 releases from last year. Viewed at 480p on the Wii through component leads, everything looks relatively clean looking with nothing hugely grating on the eyes making an unwanted appearance. Sure, if you are used to 720p and 1080i/p on the PS3 and 360 you’re not going to be amazed at what you see on screen but it is acceptable. The game also makes a rather impressive stab at compiling a top-class soundtrack for you to mess about with while playing. Sadly, unlike the GTA game the soundtrack is not as well implemented into the game as you’d expect, having to fiddle about in menus to find the track you want. Voice acting is good, with a vast selection of characters putting on a good show. However, even though Al Pacino’s name is listed in the credits, due to use of his likeness, he does not provide the voice acting in the game, instead a sound-a-like is used, most likely to save Vivendi a huge wad of money. Thankfully, the actor used does a great job of recreating the Tony Montana character, including many little nuances that Pacino brought to light in the 1980’s film. In terms of using curse words the game is filled to the brim with them and Tony flat out refuses to finish even one sentence without letting some slip out. In fact, the game nigh on approaches an average episode of Deadwood in terms of blasphematic frequency.
So, while Scarface is still quite a fun title to play the Wii controls don’t necessarily make it a better game, but if you have not played it before then it is definitely a game worth picking up. However, if you have the hardware to do so on the PS2 or Xbox you’ll get much the same game for a fraction of the current price of the Wii release. Of course, you could always just replay Vice City again as it recreates the world of Scarface much better than The World Is Yours ever could. Nevertheless, this is still a fantastic effort by Radical Games to make a laudable impact on the sandbox genre.
You wanna go to war?! This game does a respectable job of taking you there, okay?!