Given some of the more recent releases coming down the pipe for the 360 (Shadowrun, Halo 2) and many more titles slated for simultaneous PC and 360 release, it begs the somewhat obvious question, is Microsoft attempting to converge PC gaming with the Xbox so the two become so synonymous with each other that eventually they may try to supplant the PC gaming industry entirely
Granted this is largely due to 1st and 2nd party titles but it makes a lot of sense in a way, given the PC gaming industry's propensity for constant piracy and chaotic system requirements and constantly half finished games being released as new (Battlefield series, NWN2 et al)
Some of the downsides of course are obvious, the higher than acceptable failure rate of the 360, who wants Microsoft to completely control that niche of the market, and the fact that some games exist solely due to the fact that to publish a sleeper hit these days only takes hard work, a website and some word of mouth, the small or amateur developer still has no place in the Xbox lineup but it could if they expand Xbox live into a youtube for games in the next iteration.
That WASD+Mouse wireless controller for the Xbox 720 would definitely let the Xbox fill this slowly marginalized and well loved gaming market. Is it possible? Do we even want Microsoft to try? Who knows, the answer probably lies in the next cycle of console wars.
Games developed for the Wii in the first development cycle were suffering from the same syndrome, ported PS2 graphics, waggly wii controls tacked on, did I mention the horrible graphics? The controls they added to the games were making them arbitrarily more difficult and frustrating players. Will Godfather be able to escape the mold of a cheap port? or will is suffer the same fate as other shoddy PS2 ports?
EA released a special edition of Godfather specifically for the Wii, adding the same extra content contained in the PS3 special edition but with PS2 class graphics and completely new controls.
This could have gone horribly wrong, there are a lot of games I just won't pick up because they're the same game we played a year ago, but now you have to waggle instead of button mash, big deal.
The game itself is fairly intelligent free roaming GTA style gameplay. You are a member of the Corleone crime family and you undertake missions to further a storyline tied to the plot of the movie. This gives the main mission line a very entertaining backstory and taking part in key movie moments as a supporting role in way made the missions all the more engrossing. There are many many side missions and added content such as taking over businesses, rackets, doing favors for shop keepers and hits on opposing mobs. There isn't enough room in this review to cover all that you can do in the game.
The graphics of the game are average. The characters, especially the ones based from the actors in the movie are decent reproductions, the pyrotechnics are bright and vivid. However the engine suffers from an average draw distance and unlike GTA with it's fancy level of detail tricks, this game simply pops in buildings about a block or two away. This pop-in is jarring and the lack of higher quality shaders or textures makes this game feel like a direct ps2 port, which likely isn't far from the truth.
The sound is perfectly fine, you hear the godfather theme a few too many times but they are not constantly played. The voice acting is superb as they managed to get nearly all the original actors to record new dialog or piece together from old clips from the movie to lend the game authenticity often missing from "movie" games. Especially good is the sound during gunfights as each gun sounds nicely authentic, it definitely feels a lot different from your typical Grand theft auto gun play.
The controls are what takes this game from a rental to a buy. You may experiment with the controls throughout the entire course of the game. After about 14 hours I am still giving thought to the many different methods of violence the game and the wiimotes put at your disposal. A combination of a very good grappling system which lets you throw, pummel or imtimidate or just plain curbstomp your enemy makes every fight unique and playful. The Wii controls were very intuitively mapped to your right and left hand during physical combat. This is far beyond your old "hit someone with the bat until they die" game.
The gun combat was a good compromise. You are not required to hold the Wiimote at the screen, they utilised Z-auto targeting to make acquiring and shooting at targets easy even when the camera isn't behaving in a tight room. They -rewarded- the use of the Wiimote in light gun style, allowing you to precision aim which can actually be combined with the Z-targeting to make yourself very very lethal with even the most basic of pistols. Headshots count in this game folks. There are smaller quirks with the camera in tight rooms and due to the flexible controls you sometimes find yourself dying while trying to attempt some of the more complex tricks, but it never forces you into waggling ridiculous-ness.
This is an above average open ended crime simulator with last-gen graphics hindering what could be a wonderful game. If you have any affection for the movies or the thought of being a fedora wearing tommy gun wielding gangster appeal to you, then this is one of the few Wii games with meat on it that you can tear into for hours on end.
This can still be recommended for anyone looking to add to their smallish Wii library, good story, tons of control, downright -fun- controls make up a game that I've put more time in than Zelda or my other true weakness, SSX Blur. This is definitely a buy and a gem amongst the rash opportunistic ports.