Thanks to the unique Wii controls, you can now experience the thrill of beating a man senseless with a tire iron!
Some missions are quite difficult, usually because you have to face dozens of mobsters all by yourself. However, you can recruit lower-ranking mobsters to be part of your crew. These men will follow you around and provide backup in gunfights or act as triggermen while you drive. As you ascend in rank within the Corleone family, you'll be able to recruit better and better men to fill out your crew. New to the Wii and PlayStation 3 versions of the game is the hit squad. Once you become an associate, you can call in a hit squad of four guys to follow you around and lend some muscle to your cause. The hit squad can get expensive, but you'll usually have cash to burn, so cost rarely becomes an issue here. The artificial intelligence of your allies is relatively good, and you'll definitely notice a difference having a crew around. It still doesn't take much to get your crew--or yourself--killed. You can find health tonics from time to time, but you'll need to take cover and plan your attack wisely if you want to live.
The gunplay in The Godfather is simple but fun. You can lock on to enemies with the press of a button, and you can duck or back up against a wall for cover. If you want, you can switch to free aim mode, which lets you aim by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen and using the B button to fire. This works fairly well, but the remote is so sensitive that it makes precision aiming a bit difficult. It's much easier to just lock on to a target and shoot. The guns in the game range from a .38 special revolver to a tommy gun to a snub-nosed shotgun. There's also a variety of other weapons, including Molotov cocktails, sticks of dynamite, garrote wires, and lead pipes. All of the guns can be upgraded at back-alley arms dealers. You can carry all of these weapons at the same time, too, effectively turning you into a one-mobster army. There are more than 40 scripted execution moves as well, and you're rewarded for your brutality in the form of respect. When you approach a weakened enemy, you can hold the A button to display an illustration that shows you how to perform an execution. There are quite a few different gestures to match the wide variety of execution moves, and the corresponding animations are usually brutal and satisfying to watch.
If you prefer to get your hands dirty, you can simply beat the life out of anyone you encounter. You lock on with the Z button, and then while holding the Nunchuk and Wii Remote in your hands, you can throw punches, slam opponents into walls, or even toss them off rooftops. You can also strangle your enemies by holding the remote and Nunchuk close together and shaking them violently.
As you indiscriminately waste people, extort businesses, and complete missions, you'll earn respect points. When you earn enough respect, you level up so to speak, and you can distribute skill points to learn new abilities and improve your stats. The character development system has been completely redone for this version of the game, and it allows for much more flexibility in how you strengthen your character. As you level up your character in various parameters you earn bonuses and you can also unlock new skills. You can learn useful tricks like how to set a car bomb, or you can just increase your health or make it cheaper to bribe police. These bonuses, along with the upgraded weapons, help tremendously later in the game as the missions become more difficult.
Some of the side missions are a bit silly, like this one in which you have to duke it out with a prize fighter in a hotel room.
The Wii version of The Godfather doesn't look especially impressive in standard definition or at 480p. There are some nice fire and explosion effects, and the city of New York looks and feels alive with activity, but you'll see a lot of blurry surfaces, jerky animations, and clipping. When driving around town, you'll also notice textures, and even entire city blocks, pop into view a bit late, which looks awkward. The frame rate keeps pace fairly well and never drops to critical levels. Overall, the game isn't a complete eyesore, but it's not the best looking Wii game, either. It works mostly because of the way it authentically re-creates the look and feel of the film, but there are very few technically impressive moments in the game.
With the sheer number of businesses to extort and missions to complete, you can easily spend 20 hours working your way up through the ranks and eliminating other families before finally becoming the Don of New York City. If you're a fan of the film, you'll appreciate the way the game pays tribute to the movie. Even if you've never seen the film, the satisfying combat and challenging missions make this game worth playing. However, if you've already played other versions of The Godfather, there's no compelling reason to once again spend full price for what is essentially the exact same game. The Wii controls and added content are nice, but those alone aren't enough to make this game worth yet another look. But if you haven't played the game before, and you're looking for an action adventure game for the Wii, The Godfather: Blackhand Edition certainly fits the bill.