Scarface - PS2
Tedious gaming experiences. Poorly created cash in sequels. Oh, and the vast majority of licensed titles. They're my bugbears. I’m thinking of the last sentence in particular as I write this review.
Like the vast majority, we’re big fans of the film. It’s one of those movies that’s practically impossible not to have seen, or at least heard more than a handful of mentions of Tony Montana’s little friend.
But with the film’s finale (skip to "we say" if you don’t want to know how the film ends) being somewhat, well, final, you could be forgiven for wondering how you’d make a video game of the immediate aftermath. Do we get a dead Tony haunting drug dealers to save his soul? Maybe he’s reincarnated as a dynamite wielding nun?
Well, the developers have decided to negate all those potential disasters by doing the unthinkable. Yep, in this alternate reality that The Twilight Zone would be proud of, Tony Montana simply doesn’t die.
In fact, you’re in control as you blast your way to safety, with complete disregard for the film the game’s based on. Hmmm…
It’s safe to say that things don’t get off to a fantastic start. For hardcore Scarface fans, spying one of modern cinema’s most iconic endings completely ripped to shreds must be like seeing Ade Akinbiyi wearing the colours of your favourite football team. Absolutely heart destroying.
In order to try and nab a piece of the Grand Theft Auto market – we’re thinking Saints Row, The Godfather, Reservoir Dogs et al. – Tony manages to lose his entire empire (not something you can drop down the back of the sofa really is it?) and you’re forced to play through GTA-esque missions over and over again until you're back at the very peak of your powers.
With the city of Miami as the setting, you can happily trundle around, taking on missions as you see fit. Basically, you want to offload as much of the magic dust as possible to claw your way back to being the drug king of Miami. Hence the 18 certificate on the box. Not exactly one for little Johnny.
To do this, you need to buy businesses in every area of town to use as fronts for your druggy dealings. But remember, there’s other wannabe drug barons wanting their own slice of the pie out there and they’re not going to take too kindly to you muscling in on their turf.
All sounds quite delightful, right? Well, sadly the execution is lacking in virtually every area.
Firstly, we’ve done all this a hundred times before with the still incredible Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Plus, while the accompaniment of the Scarface soundtrack is great and helps create a fitting atmosphere, hearing some of the other era defining tunes just feels a little, well, off putting.
It looks decent enough admittedly, though it certainly lacks the detail we’re used to on the Xbox 360. The PS2 version we played though is a pretty standard last gen title.
As for the missions, they’re just boring. Get to place X, shoot person Y and finally talk to chap Z. Times that by a hundred and that’s Scarface in a nutshell.
Oh, and buy and sell obscene amounts of coke at every opportunity. Which sounds exciting, but is as dull as spending a day in Hull.
The shooting system is well managed, mind you. Targeting body parts is a breeze and the blood spills quite delightfully for all you sadists out there.