The Godfather PSP Review
It is well documented that the director of the film trilogy, Francis Ford Coppola, did not approve of the Godfather’s transition into game form. In fact the director once stated that the game was “nothing like the films”; so even in this day and age when we don’t expect much from film to game transition or vice-versa, hearing that choice quote does not instil gamers with a whole load of confidence. A few months back the game’s release on other platforms did garner some respect from fans it now seems Coppola’s fear was realised when it comes to the PSP version.
If you’re interested in what The Godfather has to offer you can check out our original review of the PS2 version, now let me tell you what the PSP version adds/removes from that. Firstly and most importantly the biggest omission from the console version of the game is the lack of a free roaming mode. On the PSP you are no longer able to drive and freely move about the city, in fact you are not able to drive in the PSP version at all; it’s all been completely stripped from the game. You’re now forced to play each mission in a linear structure, picking each episode from a list as you advance. Once you pick the next mission in the list the game automatically transports you to the next area of the city to begin your game. Sometimes it may even throw in a cutscene showing your character arriving but overall things feel very scripted. Of course the minute I found the lack of free roaming was when I tried to walk out of the area the game placed me in but as I went to do so the game told me I was “leaving the mission area” but I of course continued on, and then the game ended the mission abruptly as I walked too far away from the action.
The big addition the PSP game boasts it the inclusion of a mode called Mob Wars. Mob Wars is a mix of two different play styles, the first been a turn-based card-style game that relies on tactics while the other is regular ole real-time action. The challenge of Mob Wars is to play the game akin to how you would play a game of Risk and as you progress you try to take over NYC. Each turn allows you to move some of your mobsters over the map to try and take over particular sections. At times you will enter into some real time action section to fight for a certain section of the city. Personally I am not a huge fan of card based games and Mob Wars did not change my mind in regards to the genre. I guess it may be fun for some people that like to plan tactics and advance to take over the city, but for me the mode felt sorely lacking.
The game also ties both modes together so you have to advance in one to unlock weapons and upgrades to your character which will help you in the other. For me this ruined the small amount of fun I was having with the other part of the game as I was forced to play a style of game I did not like, meaning the little bit of fun I was having was quickly quenched. As with all third person action PSP games the game does suffer a few camera problems. I found myself readjusting the camera many times and ending up messing up and dieing many times during missions just because I could not see who the hell was shooting at me.
Visually the game looks great, showcasing probably some of the best graphics seen on PSP yet. All of the main characters more-or-less resemble their Hollywood counterparts when shown via cutscene. But when outside of those cutscenes, when you’re actually playing the game things do begin to look a little bit bare. The streets of NYC always seem to look very empty with only one or two pedestrians walking up and down the street at any given time. Some of the animations also look a little off, this is particularly noticeable with the character you play as but can be also seen with some enemies.
On the plus side all of the voice work, sound effects and in particular music are very well done. The game features many of the compositions the film made famous which is one of the few aspects that will please fans of the series. Also, but on a rather sad note some of the voice work used in the game was done by Marlon Brando before his death where he reprises his character, Don Corleone. However, due to his failing health some the quality of his dialogue was below par and had to be redone. The impersonator still does a great job though. Loads of the film’s other characters perform roles as well – except for Al Pacino who decided against leaving his voice to the game.
If you have played the PS2, Xbox or even the recent 360 release of the game before there really is no need to pick up this version as it offers the same game albeit with the addition of the rather underwhelming Mob Wars mode. If you recently just found out about the Godfather making its way into game form and are interested in picking up one of the games then there really are better versions to pick up other than the PSP release. In fact the only way I could recommend this title is if you only own a PSP and have played GTA: Liberty City stories to death and are looking for something to entertain you until Vice City Stories finally rears its head.
The Godfather is not that bad of a game but it is an offer you could very easily refuse.
6.8 out of 10