Tag Archives: Electronic Arts

E3 2011 – EA Announced Steam Rival

The service just went online over at Origin.com.  The idea behind Origin to compete against Steam, in every way imaginable.  How does EA plan to do this?  Well it’s pretty simple actually.  The only place to download the latest and greatest EA games is by doing so through Origin.  Not only that but EA is making Origin available on all mobile platforms so you can chat with your friends, see what they’re playing and download all the latest EA games directly from whatever platform you want.  Steam doesn’t allow you to do that.  It works great on PCs and Macs, but that’s where it stops.  So already EA has a one-up.  Obviously it’s going to take some time for Origin to compete with Steam in terms of the sheer number of users and content available, but they’re off to a good start.  Players can also expected limited edition content from such blockbusters as Battlefield 3FIFA 12Alice: Madness Returns, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

The previous EA Store and therefore you preexisting EA account will now be rebranded under the Origin moniker.  At today’s launch the service will over more than 150 games for download.  We plan to learn more about the service during EA’s Monday E3 press conference so we’ll be sure to update you on whatever breaks there at that time.  If you’re curious as to why you should be interested in this new service/store, all I have to say is The Old Republic. Nuff said, am I right?

CEO John Riccitiello had this to say about Origin “Today we’re launching Origin.com and the Origin beta application. Over time, Origin will grow with new functionality and unique new content that consumers can’t get anywhere else.”

What do you guys think about this news?

BioWare Announces Mass Effect 3 Delayed Until Early 2012

In what will surely become a regular here on the site, BioWare has officially delayed Mass Effect 3 until early 2012.  Why I say we expect this to happen a lot isn’t directly related to ME3, no, it means that we fully expect other game developers and publishers to delay titles into 2012 to make room for others.  In this case the next Elder Scrolls is hitting later this year so it is highly logical for EA to delay the release of yet another RPG into the new year.  That and apparently BioWare could use the extra few months to polish the game, which is always a good thing.

While this is surely going to sadden more than a few gamers, I’m extremely pleased with this news.  It means I can concentrate on other big releases and know that 2012 will start with a bang.  BioWare had the following to say about the delay.

Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations.

Are you pleased Mass Effect 3 was moved into 2012, or is this the saddest day of your entire life?

Mass Effect Hits PC, PS3 & Xbox 360 Same Day

Ready for the shortest news article you’ve ever read, good you’re finished.  Mass Effect 3 will be available on the Xbox 360, PC and PS3 on the exact same day.  That means you PS3 owners had better buy Mass Effect 2 next year.  You’ll actually have two incredible games to enjoy.

EA and Klei Entertainment Unsheathe Shank

Looking for a little 2D action?  Well starting today, you’ve got it!  EA published indie game developer Klei Entertainment’s Shank for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.  It will be available first on the PlayStation Network, once Sony decides to update their store that is, and tomorrow on the Xbox Live Marketplace.  I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, but as I’ve said in just about every post I’ve written over the past few weeks, there simply isn’t enough time in a day to allow me to play all these awesome-looking games.

Awesome, no?

Since we were given this as a press release, I have some nice quote to hype up, because I always enjoy these things.

“Our goal with Shank was to create a game that pays homage to the classic 2D brawler, while seeing how far we could push it by melding it with our own pulp-fiction influences,” said Jamie Cheng, CEO of Klei Entertainment. “At the end of a long road that began as an indie dream in 2009, we’ve finally shipped a visually striking, cinematic brawler.”

Now let me be honest here for a sec. Ok, I’m always honest, but let’s move on just the same.  Could you imagine anything but a quote like this?  Seriously?  I commend them on their effort though because just getting an indie game off the ground is extremely difficult.  So kudos guys, but next time let the publisher suck up because when you do it to your own title, it just comes off weird.  It’s like what I say about this site.

“Project COE is without a doubt the craziest most awesomely wicked site out there.  We spent years working on it, but it began in one person’s basement.  It’s amazing how far you can go if you just put your mind to what you’re working on.  Ok this is just getting weird now…

Breaking: Mass Effect 2 Coming To PlayStation 3

Are you a PS3 fanboy?  Do you yearn for an RPG experience unlike any other?  If you never had the opportunity to check out Mass Effect on the Xbox 360, well you should find a way to remedy that right away.  That game won’t be going to the PlayStation 3 anytime soon as it was published by Microsoft.  That changed with Mass Effect 2.  That means that EA and BioWare are bringing all you PS3 fans one of the year’s best RPGs…no scratch that, best games period, to the PS3.  The PS3 version will include all the downloadable content directly on the disc, so you won’t have any need to download anything.  Just put the game in, and enjoy.  It remains to be seen exactly how the transfer data will work from the original game, but I would assume they’ll just remove that and start from scratch.  Who knows, perhaps the PS3 version will have a recap story or something.  We’ll have much more info in the coming weeks and months leading up to its release.  If you’re a PS3 fan, you should be extremely happy right now.

BioWare’s Action RPG Mass Effect 2 Makes PlayStation 3 Debut

The Highest Rated Game of 2010 Comes to PS3 in January 2011

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today at GamesCom, BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS), announced that Mass Effect™ 2, the highest rated game of 2010 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system and PC*, is coming to the Sony PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system in January 2011. The PlayStation 3 edition will include the full Mass Effect 2 game and hours of bonus content, making this the perfect introduction to BioWare’s award-winning action RPG franchise.

Mass Effect 2 has already received over 70 perfect scores from media outlets such as the Associated Press, Eurogamer, MSNBC.com, G4TV and the Los Angeles Times, and is the highest rated game in the 15-year history of BioWare and the 28-year history of EA.

The Mass Effect franchise is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous aliens and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, PlayStation 3 players will step into the role of Commander Shepard for the very first time, leading a crew of the most dangerous special operatives from across the galaxy on a mission to save mankind. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich storyline, space exploration and emotionally engaging character interaction, Mass Effect 2 delivers an unparalleled gameplay experience.

Mass Effect 2 will be available for the PlayStation 3 in January 2011. For more information, please visit http://masseffect.bioware.com/ and follow the development team at www.twitter.com/masseffect2 or at http://www.facebook.com/masseffect.

* According to Metacritic.com.

Massive EA Report From Gamescom 2010

EA announced a whole bunch of interesting news today.  Instead of posting a bunch of different posts with boring press releases, I figured it would be more logical to just compile them all together into one long boring post with a bunch of press releases ;)  Truth be told, there’s some interesting stuff in here like being able to be a goalkeeper in FIFA Soccer 11, or the fact that David Beckham is now an EA brand ambassador, whatever that means.  They also revealed the ship date for Dragon Age 2, and announced a couple of special editions for their bigger releases for later this year and next.  Give everything a quick read through and let me know what you think of the news.

Now Fans Can Play as the Goalkeeper in EA SPORTS FIFA Soccer 11

All 22 Players on the Pitch Can Be Human Controlled in Online Team Play

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) announced today that EA SPORTSTM has developed a new feature called Be A Goalkeeper for FIFA Soccer 11 that will enable fans to experience the thrill of playing as the keeper, and for the first time in a soccer videogame, will place control of all 22 players on the pitch in human hands. The new feature will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system when FIFA Soccer 11 is available in stores September 28 in North America and October 1 in Europe and Asia.

Chelsea FC and Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Čech has been signed as the spokesperson for Be A Goalkeeper and will be featured in advertising, marketing and promotional campaigns.

Be A Goalkeeper is a completely new way to play—instead of thinking as a player out in the middle of the pitch, you have to think and react as the goalkeeper. Experience the thrill of the one on one battle, making the great save from a free kick, punching balls safely out of danger, the pressure of the corner, and most importantly, keeping a clean sheet. Be A Goalkeeper features three levels of accessibility with varying degrees of AI assistance—assisted, semi-assisted and fully manual. Fans will be able to compete as the goalie in Career Mode and enjoy a 15-year career or create themselves as the goalie in Virtual Pro 2.0 to learn the position, track stats, complete achievements and test themselves against the best players in the virtual world.

With control of the keeper now in human hands FIFA Soccer 11 will deliver an authentic replication of soccer online with 11 vs. 11 Online Team Play that locks people into the role of a single, fixed player the entire game. Now up to 11 friends on different consoles will be able to select and take control of their own individual players on the same team to compete against up to 11 rivals of another team.

“The phenomenal growth of online gaming and the desire of our fans to be able to play as the goalie was the driving force behind this innovation for FIFA Soccer 11,” said Kaz Makita, Executive Producer, EA SPORTS FIFA. “Friends can play alongside each other in their pro clubs with all 11 virtual players on the pitch human controlled. We have finally replicated football in the virtual world.”

Over 750 million online connected games have been played since FIFA Soccer 10 launched last October and over 350,000 pro clubs have been created that enable friends to compete alongside each other against rival clubs. Pro Clubs is one of the most popular online game modes in FIFA.

FIFA Soccer 11 reinvents player authenticity – on and off the ball – for every position on the pitch with Personality+, and introduces new Pro Passing where pass accuracy is determined by a gamer’s ability on the control pad, and player skill, situation and urgency on the pitch. Plus, experience true freedom in man-to-man interactions with 360° Fight for Possession that transforms physical play from just lateral jostling to full 360° collisions.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/easportsfifa to join the EA SPORTS FIFA Facebook group or visit WWW.FIFA.EASPORTS.COM for more information about the game. New game modes and innovations will be revealed later this month. Screenshots are available at http://info.ea.com.

FIFA Soccer 11 will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, Wii™, PC, PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo DS™, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and mobile. It will be available on the Wii in North America on Oct. 4. FIFA 11 is developed under the EA SPORTS brand by EA Canada in Burnaby, B.C. The game has not yet been rated.

EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA ELITE basketball, NCAA® Football, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.

For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.

David Beckham Named Brand Ambassador for EA SPORTS Active 2

Global Icon to Endorse New Interactive Fitness Program in Europe and Australia

GENEVA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, EA SPORTS™, a label of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS), announced the signing of global football superstar David Beckham as brand ambassador for EA SPORTS Active 2, an innovative line of interactive fitness products that feature personalized, customizable workouts. Beckham will act as the franchise spokesperson and will be featured in advertising and retail material across Europe and Australia. EA SPORTS Active 2 focuses on improving muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as improving cardio; it will combine a heart rate monitor and motion tracking data to deliver a fitness experience that achieves authentic, measurable results. EA SPORTS Active 2 will be available on Kinect™ for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3, Wii™, iPhone® and iPod touch® in Europe and Australia on November 19.

“David has always worked hard to stay in excellent shape and has inspired people around the world to make fitness a priority,” says Jens Uwe Intat, Senior Vice President & GM of European Publishing, EA. “We’re excited about this collaboration with David as the high value he places on fitness makes him a perfect fit for EA SPORTS Active 2. We are looking forward to working with him to motivate people everywhere to get active.”

“EA SPORTS Active is impressive and includes many elements that I have seen throughout my football career,” says David Beckham. “I’m excited to collaborate with EA SPORTS who have a great track record in developing authentic and credible sports products and games over the years.”

EA SPORTS Active 2 will ship with the Total Body Tracking system that combines a heart rate monitor and motion tracking data to ensure a workout with accurate tracking and measurable results. Using heart rate data that is displayed on-screen throughout the workout, users will be able to capture the intensity of their workout, allowing them to optimize their performance and reach their fitness goals quicker. Additionally, users will now also be able to track both their workout and heart rate data on the new EA SPORTS Active 2 online* hub; allowing users to track their progress over time and stay motivated. Motion tracking data will provide complete freedom of motion for a deeper workout experience. EA SPORTS Active 2 will make working out simple, effective and will go with you wherever you are.

EA SPORTS Active is currently the number one rated interactive fitness program for the Wii on the market**. EA SPORTS Active 2 is in development at EA Canada in Vancouver and is rated “E” by the ESRB, “0” by USK and “3” by PEGI, it has an MRSP of €99, £79, $99.95 USD and $149 AUD. For more information please visit www.easportsactive.com. Media can find photos of the product mentioned here at http://info.ea.com.

EA SPORTS™ is one of the leading sports entertainment brands in the world, with top-selling videogame franchises, award-winning interactive technology, global videogame competitions and breakthrough digital experiences. EA SPORTS delivers experiences that ignite the emotions of sport through industry-leading sports simulation videogames, including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL® hockey, NBA ELITE basketball, NCAA® Football and NCAA Basketball, Fight Night boxing, EA SPORTS MMA and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, and EA SPORTS Active.

For more information about EA SPORTS, including news, video, blogs, forums and game apps, please visit www.easports.com to connect, share and compete.

* Internet connection and EA account required

** According to Metacritic.com, August, 2010

EA Wields Its Magic Adding Kinect Mode to Its Upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 Videogame

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The EA Play Label of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced that the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows™- Part 1 videogame will have an exclusive KinectTM for Xbox 360® experience with unique challenges that puts more power into players’ hands.

With all of the action taking place outside of Hogwarts for the first time, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 sees Harry on the run with a horde of merciless enemies on his tail. Players will find themselves in unknown territory, far from the safety of the school grounds, fighting for survival at every turn. The new game engine, built specifically to leverage the technology of HD consoles, ensures high definition graphics and intense action gameplay on all platforms while the Kinect experience on Xbox 360 offers exclusive challenges, for either single player or two player co-op, playing as Harry, Ron or Hermione.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 is non-stop action with Harry defending himself against a host of menacing enemies,” said Jonathan Bunney, Vice President and Head of Production at EA Bright Light Studios. “Our Kinect challenges allow players to literally cast magic from the palm of their hand, completely controller free, to enhance and deepen the overall play experience; and, even better, we have enabled a special co-op mode with Kinect allowing two people to fight Death Eaters side-by-side for the first time in any Harry Potter game.”

The Kinect experience in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 gives players the ability to get closer to the action than ever before, using physical gestures to cast magic through the screen and defeat their deadly opponents. In co-op mode, the fluid targeting system and leaderboard scoring add a competitive edge to the excitement.

Under development by EA Bright Light Studio, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 will be available this autumn on Kinect for Xbox 360™, PlayStation®3, Wii™, Nintendo DS™, PC, and mobile devices.

About the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 film

Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart.

Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort’s Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort…alive.

Harry’s only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. But as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale—the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks.

Little does Harry know that his future has already been decided by his past when, on that fateful day, he became “the Boy Who Lived.” No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the task for which he has been preparing since the day he first stepped into Hogwarts: the ultimate battle with Voldemort.

Experience a Blood-Soaked Rise to Power When BioWare Launches Dragon Age 2 on March 8, 2011

Watch the First Dragon Age 2 Trailer “Destiny” and Pre-Order the Highly Anticipated Action RPG Today

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Leading video game developer BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), announced today that Dragon Age2 will be available on March 8, in North America and March 11, 2011 in Europe. Dragon Age 2 is the sequel to the 2009’s “RPG of the Year”, featuring faster-paced action, striking new art direction and an updated method of storytelling that will allow gamers to experience the rise to power of one of the most important characters in the Dragon Age universe. The game’s first trailer, “Destiny”, is available for viewing now at www.DragonAge.com.

“The Dragon Age franchise got off to a tremendous start. With Dragon Age 2, we are building on the outstanding RPG fundamentals the original delivered while taking the franchise in a new direction with faster, more responsive combat that will allow players to think like a general, but fight like a Spartan,” said Mark Darrah, executive producer at BioWare. “We are giving the franchise’s gameplay a shot of adrenaline. We can’t wait to get the game in people’s hands so they can feel the difference.”

Dragon Age 2 thrusts players into the role of Hawke, a refugee who survives the destruction of his homeland and becomes the Champion of Kirkwall. The lore around Hawke’s rise to power is shrouded in myth and rumor and is the driving force behind this all-new story spanning 10 years in the Dragon Age universe timeline. Players will uniquely experience how this legend unfolds by gathering the deadliest of allies, making tough moral choices, amassing fame and fortune, and sealing their place in history.

For more information on Dragon Age 2, please visit www.DragonAge.com, follow the game at www.twitter.com/dragonage and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DragonAgeOrigins.

EA and Crytek Unveil Two Special Editions for Crysis 2

Special Editions Unlock Bonuses for Crysis 2 Multiplayer at Launch in March 2011

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:ERTS) and Crytek GmbH, Europe’s leading independent video game studio and award-winning developers of the critically acclaimed Crysis® franchise, today announced two special editions for the highly anticipated first person shooter Crysis 2; the Crysis 2 Limited Edition and the Crysis 2 Nano Edition. Both editions feature premium packaging and special unlocks in the Crysis 2 multiplayer game. The Limited Edition and Nano Edition are available for pre-order now in limited quantities*. EA and Crytek also announced today a closed multiplayer beta for Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system starting this fall.

The Crysis 2 Limited Edition will be available for no additional cost, while supplies last, and features four must-have in-game unlocks for the ultimate multiplayer experience:

  • Bonus XP – Players will jump into multiplayer battles with an edge by starting with enough experience points to gain early access to all 5 preset class load-outs.
  • SCAR Hologram Decoy – This special attachment to the SCAR will project a hologram image of the player, allowing them to confuse their opponents with the decoy.
  • SCAR Weapon Skin – This digital camouflage skin will allow players to add a personalized touch to one of the more popular assault rifles in the game.
  • Platinum Dog Tag – This special one-of-a-kind dog tag is one of over 250 that will be collectible in Crysis 2 multiplayer, helping to separate you from the rest of the field.

The Crysis 2 Nano Edition is designed for the ultimate Crysis fan and will include the Limited Edition housed in a steel case plus an 11” / 28 cm statue of the game’s hero “Prophet” on top of a New York taxi cab, a high-quality art book, all packaged inside a backpack modeled after the Nanosuit itself. Not available in stores, the Nano Edition is available in extremely limited quantities via pre-order only for $149.99 / £119.99 / €129.99.

Crysis 2 is one of the most anticipated games of 2011, coming out of last June’s Electronic Entertainment Expo with 25 nominations and 12 awards including “Best Shooter” from GameSpy.com and “Best Graphics” from Gamespot.com. The game’s multiplayer is being developed by Crytek’s specialist multiplayer studio, Crytek UK. Just like the gripping single-player campaign, Crysis 2 multiplayer will grant players the superhuman powers of the Nanosuit, allowing them to be the weapon as they utilize their powers against each other across, above and below various locations and landmarks throughout New York City.

Built on Crytek’s new state-of-the-art multiplatform game development solution, CryENGINE®3, Crysis 2 will be available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system and PC in 2D and 3D** on March 22, 2011 in North America and March 25, 2011 in Europe.

For more information on Crysis 2, please visit http://sosnewyork.com, http://www.mycrysis.com or follow the game on Twitter at www.twitter.com/crysis or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/crysis.

* Restrictions and conditions apply. See back of pack for details.

** Additional hardware and accessories, not included with game, may be required for full 3D effects.

EA Announces Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Limited Edition

COLOGNE, Germany–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Criterion Games, a studio of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced a Limited Edition version of Need for Speed™ Hot Pursuit, this holiday’s hottest action racing game. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is bringing the intensity of cops vs. racers to the connected generation. The Limited Edition features six of the world’s fastest cars that players can use to race and chase their friends, right out of the box. Available at participating retailers at the same price as the standard version, the Limited Edition packs added value for speed junkies, while supplies last.

The Need for Speed Hot Pursuit Limited Edition delivers six exotic cars; Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, Ford Shelby GT500, Audi TT RS Coupé, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Porsche Cayman S and Dodge Challenger SRT8. The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and Ford Shelby GT500 are only available in the Limited Edition – and will not be available at any other time. For those players who miss the opportunity to pick up the Limited Edition, the Audi TT RS Coupé, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Porsche Cayman S and Dodge Challenger SRT8 can be unlocked by leveling up in the game.

These high-powered racing machines give players a day-one advantage when they compete – and beat – their friends on the open road. Whether playing in real-time live multiplayer or challenging and comparing races with friends offline, Limited Edition owners have an edge over their friends – an especially important benefit since the game is all about the connected social experience. At the heart of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit is a groundbreaking network called Autolog that tracks cop and racer performances and uses those statistics to generate fierce competition between friends by dynamically changing the way they play the game. By having the fastest cars on the road, players can challenge their friends, destroy their times and bask in the glory of their humiliation.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit recently won the prestigious ‘Best Racing Game’ award at the Electronic Entertainment Expo from the Game Critics Awards. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit will be available on Nov. 16, 2010 in North America and on Nov. 18 and 19, 2010 in Europe on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit will also be available on the Wii™ and is being developed by Exient.

For more of the latest news about the game, visit http://www.needforspeed.com. Or become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/needforspeed and follower at http://www.twitter.com/needforspeed.

Now that’s what I call a post!  Is there any one thing you’re looking forward to in all this?

The Godfather II Review

godfatherIIThe Godfather II [Available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC]
ESRB Rated: M
Number of Players: 1-16
Genre: Action
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Redwood
Release Date: April 7th, 2009

It feels bittersweet that I was introduced to the ProjectCOE fanbase via a glowing review of The Godfather: Blackhand Edition, only to be less-than-thrilled with its successor.  The Godfather II wasn’t even published for Nintendo’s little white box, but that’s a positive considering the game is whacked by a mess of issues.  I often refer to them as “ankle-biters”, like your neighbor’s ridiculously annoying, football-sized dog, and unfortunately all the little nibbles bring this sequel to its knees.  It doesn’t matter that Godfather II wasn’t dealt a deathblow as a result; this game isn’t what fans expected or deserved.

First and foremost, this is one of those releases that beg constant questioning, which begins now.   What possessed topless women to wander about the catwalks of a warehouse equipped with an industrial-size furnace?  Why didn’t the travel agent find me suspicious booking a flight wearing a bulletproof vest and ammo belt?  What was the point of an option for small talk with side mission NPCs if I could just skip the BS and respond with a simple, yet hilarious “Yes.”?  Didn’t anyone think it was strange to be able to instantly transport family members to a city 1500 miles away just because a rival group was assaulting one of your rackets?   Why, after being arrested, did I still complete a mission that called for the theft of documents from NY’s federal building, just because I managed to breach the safe containing them?  Was there nothing written in the technical design to allow the local law enforcement to clean out my pockets? These are but a handful of the curious thoughts that came to mind as I took over New York, Florida and Cuba as a Don appointed by Michael Corleone, and I sadly never encountered a single answer.

godfatherII1

After that brief rant, I pray that you haven’t forgotten The Godfather II’s is a sequel, which means to expect more of the previous game.  If you played any version of The Godfather last generation, you’d feel instantly at home here, though that’s also either great or terrible news.  This author accepted the repeat gameplay, despite its borderline exasperating nature.  You employ brute force on local crime fronts, such as drug and prostitution rings, to rake in a share of the operating profits.  However, G2 is a mirror opposite of its older brother in that you start as a Don in the Corleone family, instead of working your way up to that esteem.  The character creation hasn’t disappeared nonetheless, as you still customize a mafia protagonist; it’s a merely underwhelming package.  It’s interesting however to witness the plot unfold from this perspective.  The events are faithful to film, but this game won’t replace watching it.  For all intents of purposes no less, you’re playing The Godfather with a few noteworthy mechanics thrown on top.

Before I talk remaining gameplay though, I’ll as might as well knock off the rest of the presentation.  Sadly, the visual engine doesn’t impress, even if the quality isn’t too bad.  The characters at times off as plastic dolls, the frame rate is horrendous during heavy action, and failed optimization makes the cities look like they’re being built as you explore them.  Typically games are affected by texture pop-in and screen tear, but not G2.  Anywhere you travel, you literally see the environment streaming in, as if the buildings, cars and their respective interiors are being drawn right there.  The source material integration is appealing and all, but the delivery is overshadowed by the many glitches.  Really, it’s sad when the best aspect of a game’s visuals is the 3D map.  I like how clean and organized the interface is.  Even the Don’s View, while a pain to access because of the need for incessant pausing, keeps your information conveniently filed away.  It’s too bad the more important execution couldn’t bear similar results.

godfatherII2

The sound design fares better, but not by much.  I thought significant dialogue was decidedly laughable due to poorly-written lines and awkward delivery.  The mafia representatives’ interactions prove most authentic thanks to the film material (with the exception of Hyman Roth, who sounded like a painfully monotone David Paymer), but everything else is off.  G2 actually made me pity the citizens’ mental problems because so many don’t bat an eye asking you to bust up your own rackets, kill somebody, or commit arson.  The latter is also plain dumb.  Sure it yields the highest monetary reward of a favor ($10,000), but then you temporarily forfeit a crime ring bonus.  Plus, I was never desperate for a quick payday, so leave your fronts alone.  The rest of the audio is pleasing.  The weapons all sound their part, especially what I always pay attention to, the shotgun *grin*.  The music is also mafia-appropriate, but it’s nothing you’d hum the day after.  It’s a crying shame no less than the theme for the ending credits turned out to be the catchiest for the entire game; that’s a no-no.

Now the gameplay, which is comprised of: gun fights, building your family, racket takeovers, doing favors and driving.  I ordered those purposefully as well, to emphasize from most entertaining, to sheer annoying.  Let’s start with the juicy details eh?  Driving in The Godfather II is about as fun as stabbing yourself in the eye.  No stable human being would ever do that; henceforth I never anticipated commanding a vehicle with a smile.  The variety is pitiful, the cars feel ridiculously stiff, and most of all, you run into crap…a lot.  Need I say more?  I hope not.  Moving along, favors are OK for the occasional distraction from completing missions and taking over businesses.  The pocket cash is nice, but going out of your way for it is rather pointless.  I eventually avoided them altogether unless a mission took me in their direction.  To be fair, the idea is taken further in that you can pocket corrupt law and political officials, but the game isn’t challenging enough to ever make them necessary.  I think I called off the police and requested rapid recovery for my two Capos once each.  Otherwise, I could’ve cared less about who was waiting on a street corner or in a secluded alleyway to offer their services.

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Forcing business owners to give you a cut of their dough is where the joy begins.  On the G2 map, you see various buildings marked by a number of logos.  These range from dice, women hanging on poles (gee, wonder what those are), and money symbols.  Each represent a racket type, and it’s to your benefit to ultimately command every one.  They’re all initially controlled by rival families, and exacting your total persuasion unlocks the main compound where the respective Don and his remaining made men await.  Underbosses, Capos and Soldiers can be eliminated before that’s even an option however, as one of the rewards for satisfying favors is information on how to specifically whack a made man in each family hierarchy.  Fulfill the condition (melee execution, strangle to death, a bullet between the eyes, etc.), then that character is pacified forever.  If any are left standing prior to assaulting a compound, they’ll be there serving as a last line of defense.  It’s not hard though.  In fact, it’s mysteriously tougher to kill made men away from the compounds.  Even so, it’s all fun because of the entertaining weapon arsenal.  It includes a shotgun, pistol, sniper rifle, and the mafia staple Tommy Gun.  Upgrades are available for each; they simply must be found throughout the rackets.

I use fun loosely nevertheless, because even the combat is plagued with problems.  For one, the auto-targeting doesn’t always help like it’s meant to.  If three or more enemies are nearby and spread out, it’s to make the engine focus.  It’s especially annoying to try to pinpoint someone within a few feet, only to see your reticule attach to a foe that’s making a run for it, leaving you open to imminent pain.  Couple this with a cover system that also fails to cooperate, and you have a recipe for making the player just want to run ‘n gun, which I often did.  You’re hardly discouraged to take the risk either, since the threat of death if embarrassingly low.  Fist-fighting is to cause environmental havoc a hassle too.  When you don’t have a melee weapon to break some crap, you’re sure to encounter horrible collision detection.  Well you’re not training for the next Rocky match, so the non-contact fist-pumping looks dumb.  Before I detail family building, I wish to complain about the inability to jump.  I really don’t understand why so many action titles prevent you from doing so.  Human legs aren’t just for running!  Once again, need I say more?

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Your family tree is occupied by your created Don, one Underboss, two Capos and four Soldiers.  These are your made men, who can be an immense help when they’re not behaving like absolute r’tards.  Yes, I just referenced a World of Warcraft parody, deal with it.  Anyway, potential recruits eventually hang around your compounds, rackets, and what have you.  They also bear combat specialties, such as: demolitions, engineering, safe-cracking, healing and arson.  Well, actually that’s all of them, and each is handy when you’re out and about taking over crime fronts.  Demolitions men create valuable holes, arsonists set buildings ablaze, engineers chop up fences and cut a building power (enemies can’t call for backup), safe-cracking is self-explanatory, and…healing is too.  When their specialties aren’t an immediate need, your crew can also aid in gun fights.  I don’t want to be harsh about this because it’s life-saving sometimes, but I can’t ignore a couple pitfalls.  One, you can tell these guys where to go and where to use their trade, but there isn’t a darn thing you can say in respect to holding fire or being weapons-free.  Not only that, but family members often try to play the tough guy/hero and take on multiple enemies by themselves.  Later in the campaign, it’s not much of a problem.  At the beginning, it is, so you end up not only providing the offense, but defending these morons as well.

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The campaign effectively ends when each rival family is gone, which equates to owning every racket.  After an estimated ten hours, you can choose to quit completely, pursue still-locked achievements/trophies, or head online to compete for honor points that can improve your made men.  It’s an interesting concept, but wholly unnecessary because your family becomes strong enough as you progress through the plot.  It’s neat to control one of your men, but that’s about it.  The service supports 16 people across a handful of modes like Team Deathmatch and Safecracking, but unless you don’t play Call of Duty, Halo, Killzone 2, etc, there’s little point in participating.  Plus, lock-on is disabled, not to mention The Godfather II’s gunplay wasn’t exactly designed for player vs. player battle.  I recommend sticking to the aforementioned shooters that do the competitive scene well.

It’s no surprise that EA formally told us a while back that a third game tie-in would not be developed.  Unless they sell off the license to someone else, we can kiss The Godfather good-bye.  I wish this weren’t the case, because the previous game laid a solid foundation and was a rocking good time.  I especially don’t understand how so many hitches, glitches and whatever else you could term here made it in the final product.  Team wasn’t rushed to meet the second movie’s release, considering that happened decades ago.  Oh well, The Godfather II is a passable action game, and can be blown through with a weekend rental.  If you’re a serious fan of the films, this could be worth your cash, but don’t say I didn’t point out the blemishes.  I had my fill, and don’t plan on ever going back.  Rest in peace Corleones.

Scoreboard:

Story: 6/10

Gameplay: 7/10

Controls: 7/10

Graphics: 7/10

Sound: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Overall (Not an average): 6.8/10