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Joystiq hands-on: The Godfather II multiplayer


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Back when we got our first look at The Godfather II's strategy-infused single player campaign, we wondered how its developers at EA Redwood Shores would translate that experience into the realm of multiplayer. As it turns out, there's strategy involved in the game's 16-player online matches – just of a different (and more familiar) sort.

EARS (yeah, it doesn't like that acronym either) began development of the game's online component knowing that it wanted it to be influenced by single player, and vice-versa. So, for starters, you can't play multiplayer until you've recruited at least one soldier in single player. That character can then be used online, leveled up, and will retain his "upgrades" in the single-player game.

Gallery: The Godfather II multiplayer | 10 Photos

We played as a character who was proficient at every skill, which felt like one part cheating, one part gloating.

Characters can specialize in demolition, arson, safe cracking, and other skills that can be improved by using money earned in the single-player game and multiplayer matches. One MP mode we played was called "Firestarter," and, as its name implies, focused on starting fires. Certain elements in the level we played – gas pumps, propane storage, and the like – could be set ablaze, and the team that did the most burninating came away the winner. In this mode, having a character with a level two arson ability was key, since they can start a fire twice as fast as your basic firebug.

It's possible to bring any of your single-player soldiers into multiplayer, which is handy if one is already better suited for the task at hand. You can also decide to focus on one guy and spend all of your earnings leveling him up. For example, we played as a character who was proficient at every skill, which felt like one part cheating, one part gloating.

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We played two other match types based around safe cracking and demolition. The former was similar to traditional zone play; there were a set number of safes in the level (in this case, a Miami shopping area) and the goal was to crack and hold as many as possible until the timer ran out. As always, it's harder than it sounds, what with people shooting at you and all.

Assault proved to be the most challenging mode we played. The map we played on was a good example of the other five planned for the final game: symmetrical and featuring various shortcuts to either blast or cut (fences) your way through. In this case, each team had to defend demolition points inside their respective warehouses. If one got taken out, another was highlighted on the map.

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Our team faced some incredibly strong offense on the part of our rivals; despite using the various cars and crates in-between the two warehouses as cover, we were continually mowed down as we attempted to storm their warehouse. Hopefully this was more to do with simply not finding any of the aforementioned shortcuts, and not an imbalance in the level's design.

Finally there was, of course, straight-up 16-player team deathmatch. Complete with executions. Yes, similar to the curb stomps (and other such nastiness) in Gears of War 2, The Godfather II sports killing moves specific to each weapon. In order to pull one of, you need to get your enemy into a weakened, dropped-to-their-knees state. The cruelest we saw pulled off was a shotgun in the mouth. Did we mention the game's rated "M" (for "Mature," not "Mafia")?

Gallery: The Godfather II | 29 Photos

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