Just what made The Godfather game so great?

When we talk about gang stories The Godfather always comes up – but usually in reference to at least the first and second film (we’re not brave enough to get into a debate about the third). Yet, what is often forgotten is the fact that in the 2000s, The Godfather gave us a cracking game. 

The game stayed true to the world and characters of the film series. It largely followed the plot of the first film – only the player assumed control over a new character who was working his way up the Corleone family. The player also got his own squad – a new pal, and ended up dating his new friend’s sister. He got his own drama, and it was a bit of a gang cliché but emotionally done. His new partner gets killed and his friend is so torn up over the death of his sister he turns on the Corleone’s. This all coincides with the player having to help the Corleone’s out with the main plot, such as helping to plant the gun that was infamously used by Michael as he finally entered the family business. 

There is enough new material to keep audiences interested, and it woven almost seamlessly within the plot of the film. Additionally, we also got a pretty expansive world to explore especially for its time. The player can take over different types of businesses either by deals, status or intimidation.  It was a really interesting feature that meant the plot could easily be abandoned for several hours at a time while the player enjoyed exploring New York and taking over areas which were being run by other gangs. Gangs wars too were a real possibility and with horrifying consequences. Build up too much too quickly and a gang would declare all out war on you and the Corleone family. 

The Godfather game helped really set the tone and style for that era of gaming. The Yakuza series had its first game released in the same year, signalling the start of a new age of gaming. It was incredibly strict narratively, but it allowed players to pick up the stories when they wanted and do that much more when they chose to just explore. 

It was simply a fun title to connect with the film. Even the death scenes were poignantly done which evoked a powerful nostalgia for the original content, while keeping the player entirely immersed in the gaming experience. The Godfather wasn’t just a set of movies. It played an important role in the history of gaming. Of all of the best classic games to revisit, this must surely be on everyone’s list. 

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