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The Godfather II has a realistic environment set in an era of organized crime strewn with individuals that are part of an interesting and engaging world of violence and sex that, while entertaining and satisfying for the most part, should be kept away from the kids.
The seedy underworld makes for gripping game content that takes you through adventures where you're tasked with taking out Fidel Castro, overthrowing competing families' businesses, and a neat multiplayer mode called Don Control that allows you to compete against up to seven other families for control of territory.
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Electronic Arts hasn't done the best job of making The Godfather II a fun and entertaining experience for gamers and many parts of the experience they mangled worse than RICO mangled organized crime. The game has a lot more in common with a raunchy teen film than the content I remember from the movies or original game; women are constantly being hit on during game play and topless ladies are everywhere to be seen, even parading down the streets.
The bugs included with The Godfather II are many. You'll see two characters occupying the same virtual space, such as one instance where two topless girls were combined into one to create a three-breasted virtual creature. You can shoot the bottom crate of a stacked group and the top crates will hang in the air, and vehicles can suddenly vanish from view. Your bullets can be blocked by invisible objects, even if your target is no where near cover, the list goes on.
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The graphical presentation of The Godfather is filled with bugs and problems that wouldn't be seen in a well-developed game. Certainly, when you get around the bugs, the scenes are nicely detailed and textured but its hard to see this when you're always laughing at the bugs that are constantly popping up.
The animations are for the most part smooth and fluid and the characters are beautifully rendered with facial expressions that add wonderfully to the emotional content of the conversations.
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The soundtrack of The Godfather II was either forgotten or the budget didn't include it. There's hardly any music playing during the game itself. You'll visit night clubs where bands are on stage playing instruments but you won't hear them.
The character voice acting is pretty good, with actors that have obviously taken time to learn their parts, and develop vocal personalities for their characters, which was nice and added an layer of polish that the rest of the game really could have benefited from.
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The Godfather II has a storyline that's way off base if you're looking for a video game that follows the already-established history you've seen in the Godfather movies or books. One of the greatest sequels in movie history has been torn apart and left naked, which is a shame considering how much fun it would have been to play through a story which was aligned with the first game in the series.
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The Godfather II comes with a fun and entertaining feature called the "Don's View" which allows you to view on one screen everything that's happening in your empire. While using this screen you can upgrade your soldier's capabilities, purchase new weapons, and send them out on missions to defend a part of your empire or attack a rival family's businesses.
Developer EA Redwood Shores also included a very satisfying multiplayer mode called Don Control, where you and an opponent pit your henchmen against each other in a fight over control of a territory. The lock-on targeting system is a breeze to use when aiming for the head and a shotgun can take out everything in its path. Or, if you're feeling a bit more hands-on, you can even go for the awesome Black Hand execution.
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The Last Word
The Godfather II certainly shows that having control over a mafia family makes for engaging and satisfying gameplay. It can be a very powerful emotional experience that takes you through a world we've all wondered about. Unfortunately, Godfather II didn't really make me feel that I was continuing the Godfather adventure I remember from the original game. I have to recommend The Godfather II for its variety of gameplay elements, but not for the entertainment value, as it can be shallow at times.