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Joystiq hands-on: The Godfather (PS3/Wii)

Zack Stern

The Godfather The Don's Edition (PS3)

EA released The Godfather for the Xbox, PS2, and PC about ten months ago, with the Xbox 360 out in September, 2006. Even with the market potentially The Godfather-saturated, the company is readying versions of the game for the Wii and PS3 to ship in March, about a year after the original. In the time since the first launch, EA has added more missions and settings to the new games, including a few gameplay changes that affect the whole experience.

I recently tried the updated The Godfather games; EA even showed The Godfather Blackhand Edition (for Wii) next to The Godfather The Don's Edition (for PS3) side-by-side, allowing further scrutiny between the platforms. While my time with the games was limited, I walked away hopeful that the new versions add interesting motion-controls and more to do, likely justifying their release.

The Godfather Blackhand Edition (Wii)

I was mildly surprised by the graphics on the two systems; the PS3 version looked a little chunkier and simpler than I'd expect on that system, while the Wii version looked a little better than my low expectations on that machine. (EA said that Wii textures were created from scaled-down PS3 versions instead of graphics from the previous release.) Still, the PS3 game looked clear, and the Wii game quality lagged behind that HD console, especially in lost background details.

The two games share most of the updates from the original release. New missions have been added, rooftops are accessible, and certain environments are destructible. Only two locations appear on the PS3 that aren't included in the Wii: the shipyard and railyard. Some of the gameplay was also updated, like a mild RPG system added to the game, letting players govern the weight of their mob touch. When extorting money, another change lets gamers put the screws to a victim with various methods, like wrecking up a storefront. But beyond those additions, the game still seemed like The Godfather I expected, with car chases, shootouts, and bribes.

The Godfather The Don's Edition (PS3)

The updated controls are similar between the two systems, with the left analog stick handling movement. While the PS3 relies on buttons more than the Wii, close combat takes advantage of the motion controls; enemies can be thrown up against a wall by pushing the controller away, shaken by swinging the controller to the side, and headbutted by pulling the controller towards your head. This all worked fairly well, adding a nice touch to the PS3 game.

The Wii uses similar conventions, but adds even more motion-based attacks. I punched enemies by swinging my fist, and I targeted special pistol shots by pointing the Wiimote at the screen. The punching and hand-to-hand movements felt good. I generally liked the gun controls, but I didn't have to point for basic shots -- only for trying to hit an enemy in a certain place -- so I ended up pausing for a moment to orient the cursor whenever raising my hand for a trick shot. Other motion controls, like twisting the Wiimote to rotate a doorknob, fit the game, but didn't add much versus pushing a button.

The Godfather Blackhand Edition (Wii)

We'll have to wait until the March release -- and more time with the updated versions -- to decide if the motion controls and extra content add enough value to buy The Godfather a second time. But those new to game may enjoy these extended versions of the original title.

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