I’d have done this earlier but I was eating a Solero.
(OK so I couldn’t find the Blackhand Edition logo, sue me. Imagine that the black is red.)
Considering I’ve never done a proper review, bear with me if I ramble on about other unrelated crap.
Right. First off, before we start I’ve not actually seen The Godfather films all the way through (i kno, lol) so I’m not even going to comment on how your own specially crafted mobster guy fits in with the story, because I wouldn’t know anyway.
Starting with the initial story, you’re told how your Made Man Dad is whacked in an alleyway, right in front of you. Cue Don Corleone giving you some spiel about saving your revenge, fade to black, then you get to create your own specially crafted mobster guy. His face, at least. Its a pretty good system, and from what I can make out its a cut down version of the Gameface system EA puts in a bunch of their other games, except in this version cleverly titled “Mobface” you can only make various Italian Americans. There goes my idea of making a 7 foot tall black complete with colossal afro.
After picking out some suitably stylish mobster duds, you’re dropped into the game proper complete with what are essentially a bunch of tutorial missions basically telling you how the new Wii control scheme works. Whats impressive here is that as opposed to other Wii ports where the gesture controls are poorly implemented gimmicks (Hello, Ubisoft), the Blackhand control scheme as it is so called is actually a pretty good system. With a few flicks of the Wiimote your mobguy will be throwing punches, slamming people into walls and something that will definitely get the Daily Mail in overdrive, the completely intuitive method of choking your victims to death. It boils down to you making the motion of putting your hands around their neck, and shaking vigorously until your victim expires. Just like the real thing! I’d imagine.
Moving onto the actual gameplay, so far in my playthrough I’ve had to extort shopkeepers, take over rackets, bomb bank vaults (easy money this isn’t), hijack enemy families supply trucks, waste various unsavoury types, and so forth all while keeping the police off your back, which curiously all seem to be a bunch of Irish truncheon twirlers. Nobody point out this unintended euphemism. Usually, if you bribe the right people – usually police chiefs – this will keep the heat off of your back for a while, and if you’re lucky your new friends will actually fight with you for a while efficiently wasting other trigger happy mobsters. As you progress you can utilise hitsquads, which are essentially the same thing but with fedoras.
I don’t want to sound like a press release here, but with the Wiimote it genuinely makes the game a lot more fun as it includes dozens of ways of executing your foes with quick movements of the Wiimote, with satisfying results throughout. There’s even that old classic, kneecapping included for good measure! Not forgetting the more interesting ones such as beating people to death with a flaming 2×4, throwing people out of windows, and the mob favourite: administering a dose of hot lead from your Tommy Gun into some poor saps face. Hell, with the Wiimote controls sometimes its just more fun to beat up a guy with your bare hands. Just like Wii Sports Boxing but more edgy.
On the subject of sound and such, its easy to tell EA threw a lot of money at this with good voice acting all round, complete with Marlon Brando. Strangely, Al Pacino seems to be missing from the games voice acting, but he turned up in Scarface instead. Even the generic NPCs are well voiced, having short conversations with each other and whatnot as you wander around what I would assume is an accurate depiction of New York. Cleverly, the NPCs will comment on what you’ve been getting up to in missions and around town. Its certainly a nice touch and does add to the whole immersiveness factor. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of music, but suitable tracks do crop up in missions where a little added oomph in the audio section is required. A good example of this is the mission where to have to break into an enemy familes bar and blow the place sky high with dynamite, the music reaching a peak as the fuse runs down and you have to shoot your way through some – quite rightly – annoyed mobsters.
About graphics, even though the Wii isn’t exactly flush with graphical horsepower, the game manages to look decent, no drops in framerate as the action heats up. Speaking of heating, the fire effects are pretty good (and you’ll be seeing them a lot) which is always a good thing. The only gripe I have with them – and this happens in other games with this format such as GTA – is pop-up. Sometimes its only NPCs or cars, but on occasion I’ve had a whole city block appear out of the mist, which is unexpected to say the least. Apart from that, some repeating shop interiors, and the occasional blurry texture there isn’t a lot to complain about here. Another good feature is that there is practically no loading all the way through (save a few errant city blocks), insides of buildings appearing instantly instead of loading it all in much like I remember in GTA.
Godfather: Blackhand Edition is a title that should also last you a long while, considering the sheer amount of things you can do in between story-advancing missions. There’s the previously mentioned extortion, with each shopkeeper responding to different methods. Some crack under the pressure of a beating, some will cave in if you smash up the place, whereas more headstrong staff will actually try to take you on until you convince them that they should be protected from the mob, you included. Further on into the game you can carry out hit contracts, hijack supply trucks, do favours for your mob friends, and eventually completely take over the other families turf. Add to that hidden film reels (much like GTAs hidden packages), getting all the myriad of execution techniques, cracking safes, bank heists, and you’ll have a game that will last you for quite a long time.
Overall, Godfather: Blackhand Edition is highly rated from me, and providing you don’t already own it on another platform it is well worth handing over some notes for this. I’d have to give it an 8.5 if I were using some arbitrary number scale, but I’m not so never mind.
I think I’m pretty much done here, so I guess its time to conclude this review which turned out lengthier than I expected. Hope I did a good jorb on reviewing this at least, I’m new to this whole reviewing thing.