The new strategy facet to Godfather II
is definitely a different direction for the game, so it stands to reason that it’ll need a new presentation. Since the game is set just a bit before our time EA can’t exactly copy Grand Theft Auto IV
’s mobile phone feature either.
What the designers have come up with instead then is a new map feature for the game, called the Don’s view. Hitting Start (EA put it on Start, not Select, since you use it so much) will bring up a simplified 3D map of the city, one plastered in icons and details about the other families.
There are a total of five different crime families in each of the three cities you’ll have to take over throughout the course of the game, moving from Havana to New York to Miami like a man on the run. Each family has different interests and investments that you’ll need to... re-appropriate.
There are a few basic types of interest for each family – like chop shops and brothels. Each business has several things in common, besides their illegality. Each one has a front for a start, which makes them hard to locate unless you’re using the Don’s view, and each of them will bring you in some cash.
Not just cash either, but each has a certain set of bonuses attached to it. There’s generally four or five outlets for each business and if you can capture all of them then you’ll not only get more money, but also a business specific bonus.
Take control of all the brothels for example and you and your men will each get a pair of brass knuckles that’ll do more melee damage. Conquer all the chop shops and you can outfit all your cars with reinforced armour. Grab all the secret casinos and you can get some bulletproof armour or ammo belts to increase your carrying capacity. Yeah, the logic is more flawed than it is with the chop shops, but the benefits are nice nonetheless.
Getting each of these businesses isn’t enough though – you’ll need to hold on to them too and it’s when you look at the options available to you in the Don’s view that you realise how Monopoly or Risk-like the game has actually become, especially since the other families are actively working against you. Enemy mobs will continuously try to take your territories off you and you’ll need to repel their offenses.
The one flaw there though is that it’s all to easy to get into stalemates, of course. Tug of war over in-game areas could be fun for a while, but if it goes on too long then the game could just become more frustrating than a noseful of ants to a man in a straightjacket.
Mercifully though, you don’t actually need to be present at these defences unless you want to – you can leave such things to your Made Men if you so choose. As you recruit more men and conquer more areas learning how many guards to station where can be crucial to your success.
So too can learning the strengths and weaknesses of the men who are loyal to you. Each mobster in The Godfather 2
comes with a different skill set and application in-game. Some of your employees are excellent medics who can handily heal you up mid-battle, others are strong-men who are handy for intimidating shop-owners into handing over their businesses, while others are arsonists and safe crackers.
It’s these last two who can play the most strategic role in the end-game, as you can send them forward as lone agents to your enemies warehouses. A successfully laid demolition charge can take a building out of the game for a few days, crippling enemy cashflow and impeding expansion. Again though, you’ve got to watch out ‘less the same thing happens to you.