The Godfather II Hands-On Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
The Godfather II box art
System: PC, PS3, X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Redwood Shores 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-16 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Pending 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

December 19, 2008 - When you buy a video game nowadays, you typically get two separate experiences in one package. On one hand, you have the single-player campaign that takes you through a normally linear, story-driven adventure.

The Godfather II screenshot

The other hand is reserved for multiplayer, which is often completely disconnected from the single-player experience other than utilizing the same fundamental gameplay mechanics and perhaps the game’s main character. So why does logging countless hours online not have any effect on most game’s single-player exploits, or even vice versa? Fortunately, this is where Godfather II comes in, trying to make those long online outings actually enhance your offline experience.

In Godfather II you are playing as the Don, and, as such, you are able to recruit a crew of mobsters to do your bidding. You’ll find and recruit these characters throughout the single-player campaign, utilizing their individual skills such as demolitions or arson to complete missions and ultimately help your family prosper. While you will need to rely on your underlings in single-player, the multiplayer aspect of the game will actually have you controlling these same characters in a series of different modes.

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There are four different team-based online modes in Godfather II, each with its own set of objectives. There is a standard team deathmatch mode that will have you trying to reach a certain number of kills before the opposing team. Fire Starter mode consists of trying to set the most objects, such as burn barrels and propane tanks, ablaze. Safe Cracker mode is fairly self-explanatory, having a slew of safes on each map that can be cracked to earn more money than your opposition. In this mode, you’ll also need to protect cracked safes to ensure they aren’t taken back by your enemies. Lastly, Assault mode provides each team with three assault points which need to be destroyed to be victorious.

The Godfather II screenshot

Each of these modes, besides team deathmatch, is designed for you to use specific members of your crew. For example, in Fire Starter mode you’ll need to use one of your crew’s arsonists, and in Demolition mode you’ll need to bring along a demolitions expert. Some members of your crew will also have multiple abilities, meaning you can utilize them in whichever mode they possess the skills for. However, the best part of all of these modes is how they will ultimately affect the single-player experience after some play time.

All of the money earned in multiplayer from igniting objects, cracking safes, destroying assault points, and killing enemies will transition into your single-player campaign. This seems like a nice way to earn some extra cash while still enjoying a little friendly competition with human opponents. Not only will you get to keep the cash you’ve earned but the characters themselves can receive improvements by using them online. Online Honors are earned during online play and can be used to upgrade your characters’ abilities (such as lessening the amount of time it takes them to cut a fence or set a fire), give them new abilities, or even to unlock weapon licenses that will allow them to use better weaponry. This kind of mingling between single and multiplayer seems very intriguing, and I can’t wait to see how it ultimately works when the game is finally released this February.

The Godfather II screenshot

However, in the limited time I was actually able to get my hands on the multiplayer portion of Godfather II it already seemed pretty solid. The action remained fast and fluid at all times, even with all sixteen players wreaking havoc at once. The fire created from numerous exploding propane tanks and thrown Molotov cocktails was especially beautiful to behold. Aside from these Molotovs, players can also expect to find a slew of weapons scattered around every map including Tommy Guns, shotguns, and sniper rifles. The wide variety of provided weaponry helps to ensure that most players will be able find a gun that suits their play style.

While there are only initially going to be six maps, the ones I had a chance to see provided an assortment of differing experiences. A few of the maps were quite large, with multiple levels and paths giving more strategic players a definite advantage. Then there are others like the Jungle Fortress. This is the smallest map in the game, and its matches can best be described as slightly controlled chaos. Due to its extremely limited real estate, players will need to be quick on the trigger and accurate while aiming if they hope to survive more than a few seconds.

The play mechanics themselves are fairly simple but function well. Setting fires, cracking safes, and destroying assault points requires little more than holding a button until an onscreen meter is filled or depleted fully. Going on a series of successful kills or completed objectives will result in a multiplier, signified by a green flame around the character’s feet. These multipliers will help you rake in the cash more quickly but will also be transferred to any opposing player who dispatches you. Players can also utilize cover to gain the upper hand on unsuspecting opponents or to at least help soak up some incoming damage.

Whenever a player is downed in a match, they will drop to their knees and a fifteen second timer will begin. If a teammate with the ability to heal can get there in time, then the player can be revived before dying. However, this also gives the opposing team a chance to perform an execution move on that player. Whenever a character is downed, an opponent can walk up to and execute them in an extremely brutal fashion. Each weapon will have its own unique maneuver, with the Tommy Gun providing one of my favorites. This one consists of putting the barrel in the downed player’s mouth and pulling the trigger, effectively blowing their jaws off. While you are performing these executions, your voice will also be the only one your victim can hear. This gives you roughly five seconds of their undivided attention to say whatever you like.

While it can sometimes be hard to get excited about the multiplayer portion of a game often usually thought of as a strictly single-player experience, Godfather II definitely has me intrigued. With its solid multiplayer gameplay, variety of modes, and direct influence on the campaign, EA may have gotten the formula just right. We’ll have to wait until February to know for sure but from what I’ve played, I’m definitely optimistic.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor


Game Features:

  • The Don’s View: Be a true Don as you coordinate all the action using a 3D world map: survey your turf, place defenses on businesses, analyze crime patterns, identify new illicit racket monopolies, and choose the target of your next attack.
  • Build Your Family: Recruit, develop, and promote up to 7 members of your crime family.
  • Command a Crew: Bring up to 3 crew members along on jobs, including an arsonist, demolitions expert, safecracker, and more. Command their actions in battle and unleash their specialties on your enemies.
  • Blackhand Brutality: Act like a mobster to command respect, intimidating and extorting business owners and rival families with a devastating new combo system, attacks and executions.
  • Action + Strategy: Combine action and strategy gameplay with the Don’s View, a 3D view of the world, which allows a player to manage and organize a family business through organized crime.
  • Bring your family online: Take your crew members online in up to 16-player matches, raise them up the ranks and transfer those honors into your single player campaign.
  • “Its Only Business”: Relive the greatest moments from The Godfather II in an open-world action experience inspired by the movie.


  • Screenshots / Images
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