Godfather : Blackhand for Wii Review by Ben Jacobs
EA’s effort on the Wii so far is admirable. They’ve released their share of original games, like SSX: Blur, but a majority of the releases have been Wii versions of multi console games. Godfather gives me the impression that there was a meeting at EA at some point this year. They were working on some Wii games, and an intern spoke up and went “We have a huge back-catalog of easily portable games that we could practice our waggle on”. Godfather is the result of this fake meeting.
And it works. Marvelously, at times. This is the same game that you might have played on the Xbox a year or so ago. There are extra missions, and Wii-exclusive features that dot the experience, but a majority of the new content is going to be in the controls. The graphics look much the same as they did on the Xbox, but with some improved explosions and a better framerate. Load times are also a lot better.
Now let’s get to the part of this review that you actually care about. EA has made a spectacular case for a Grand Theft Auto game on the Wii. The Godfather: Blackhand uses the nunchuk configuration, with the stick used for movement and the remote used for, ya know, whacking. A great deal of the game time is spent beating the crap out of people, and the controls feel very natural and immersive. You begin by targetting with a button on the nunchuk, and then proceed to make punching motions until your enemy is a bloody pulp. After spending a little time with the game, you will learn how to grab a mobster, walk with him up to a wall, and then push both controllers forward to bash his skull into it. Extremely responsive control makes it very rewarding.
Shooting guns is simplified, which makes the experience much less frustrating than say, Red Steel. Targetting is done the same as with melee combat, but you point at the screen to shoot. Your aiming is simplified, as your cursor can only be moved around your enemy. This allows you to carefully pick where you shoot, resulting in blown knees every few minutes.
The Grand Theft Auto formula is just fresh enough that Godfather is still very playable. The attention to detail in the areas is admirable, with many explorable shops. All with no load times. The cut-scenes are very well done. The detailed character models make it believable and the voice acting is spot on. By framing your exploits on the street inside of the rich Godfather world, you gain a nice amount of justification for the violence.
Unfortunately, this is really a re-release. If you have played The Godfather on any other platform, the new content is not worth the $50 purchase. The motion controls work very well, adding to the experience, and this is a very good purchase for a Wii owner hankering for something meaty. There is a lot of content here, with hours and hours of gameplay. There are enough missions, side quests, and general tom-follery in The Godfather to keep even the most dedicated mobster entertained for weeks.