The Godfather - Xbox 360 review

The Corleone family exploits seem well fitted to a modern day gaming title and EA already has the PS2, Xbox and PC sales figures to prove it.

But there were a few fatal problems with these versions. The driving model in particular was no fun whatsoever, meaning Godfather not only failed to top Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto titles, but it even faired badly against the aging hit Mafia. Now that’s a cracking game. In fact, it’s only £3.99 right now and well worth a looking up.

With the recent release of Saints Row and GTA4 hitting the 360 next year, EA need to spread a few horse heads around. Remember they’ve splashed out umpteen millions of pounds to secure this potentially lucrative licence, so they’re going to milk the bugger for all it’s worth.

But EA’s next gen updates have proved disappointing at best with FIFA, Madden and the Tiger Woods series as perfect examples of games that have been butchered in order to get them out on time. Maybe it’s time to send hardman Luca Brasi round.

Instead of placing you in the shoes of one of the film’s established characters – we want to play the Don with huge cheeks and all - you start out at the very bottom as a newcomer to the family.

The opening’s a blinder with your character introduced as a fresh faced child who stumbles over his father’s untimely death. You even catch a glimpse of the Don himself.

Cut to the day of the Don’s daughter’s wedding when Sicilians can’t refuse a request for a favour and your mother asks the big man to get you out of the jam you’ve gotten yourself into.

And before you can say out of the frying pan into the fire, you’re up close and personal with all kinds of mafia hoodlums. It’s a bit like being saved from a beating at the hands of Frank Bruno and then rushing up to Mike Tyson and calling him a "big girls blouse".

From here on in the gameplay is pretty straightforward. In a nutshell, you get to stick your oar in during some of the film’s most memorable moments. Cutscenes that mimic the film are included too, many including full voice acting from the original characters.

You can scare shop owners for protection money, take over brothels and gambling rackets or even slay a few bent cops for good measure. Add in the haunting theme from the film and you’ll often feel like part of the family.

Verdict

If you’ve played EA’s Fight Night series, you’ll understand the hand to hand combat model. Using the right analogue stick to throw punches works like a charm.

It’s a pity then that this is one of the game’s few plus points. Compared with Saints Row, Godfather on the 360 looks pretty pathetic. It’s like going back to watching VHS after you’ve sampled DVD. The horrendous driving sections remain, plus you’re looking at just under 3 hours to finish the lot.

If you’ve played one of the previous versions of Godfather, don’t expect anything new either. It’s pretty the same game we played 6 months ago with prettier car explosions. Fifty quid for a few pretty explosions? Sod that, buy some bloody bangers instead!

Sadly, this Xbox360 version is an offer that we most certainly can refuse. Saints Row showed how to do the "next gen GTA rip off" just right and The Godfather just doesn’t cut it.

The great EA next gen half arsed update bug bites yet again.