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Scarface: The World is Yours

The ultra violent world of Tony 'F******' Montana brings fresh ideas to the crime-spree table

To SAY SCARFACE is reprehensible is an understatement. It's the worst fears of Daily Mail readers condensed into a nugget of abhorrence that's black as night, dense as lead and very rude indeed.

It's a crime against cinema too, dancing merrily and shouting 'f***' repeatedly upon the good name that is Scarface - taking a landmark piece of film history and changing its ending, message and morals while taking a gigantic shit on any trace of emotion it once engendered.

It's also not a PC game - it's a console game that's practically (and I say 'practically' when I mean 'completely') impossible to play with mouse and keyboard. The people who did the conversion are such monumental idiots that on the save-screen, they have the gall to say, 'Now saving. Please don't turn off your PC' as a console hangover. Even my mother knows how to turn a PC off, and let's face it - any game that thinks a PC audience is liable to randomly jab at the power button is far away from home.

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Scarface is yet another console intruder into our precious land, and in many ways can only be seen as the very firmament of noxious evil. Indeed, if you've ever suffered from depression or have felt yourself liable to self-harm, it would be wise to avoid playing the first three-quarters of an hour of Scarface, unless a masked man is holding a gun to your head and reciting biblical text. You'll honestly hate it that much.

BUT REALLY...
In other news however, once you're released into the free-roaming meat and two 'Tony f***in' Montana!' veg of the game, you suddenly realise that there's some actual intelligence behind its sheer, horrible gratuitousness. Yes I know... It surprised me too. Scarface may blankly remove the humour and knowing intelligence of the GTA games it apes (making it seem nothing but pubescent, angry and embarrassing), but it also genuinely brings some real improvements to its crime-business template. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Whereas in GTA, your varied tasks have always felt rather disparate and unconnected, the reconstruction of Tony Montana's fallen empire provides a real sense of ownership and expansion. Your bank account won't necessarily be continually sky-rocketing, and you really do feel like you're running some kind of business. To take over an area, you have to find local gangs and rout them out, violently aid local businesses and buy them out as fronts for coke distribution and then kick-start the pricey powder's distribution.

With the money you earn, you can then start hiring henchmen (some of whom you can play as if different talents are required), 'pimping' your lush mansion with tasteless paraphernalia and filling your virtual forecourt with fast cars and boats that can be delivered to you wherever you are on the map with an expletive-ridden phonecall to your hired help.

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The goons who simply appear in token places in GTA games have suddenly taken on an Evil Genius-lite system of micromanagement - and everything honestly feels as if you're the heart of an expanding empire. Little things like laundering money and saving your game at the bank - rendering it safe from harm through death or arrest - are yet another way that Radical have cleverly integrated the game world and the game itself, with touches like 'negotiating' the bank's take from the money through a simple mini-game really adding something to proceedings.

MARCHING POWDER
Also, Scarface manages to make crimes feel like crimes. There's only a limited amount of time before you're irretrievably screwed when you're doing misdeeds and the police are hot on your tail - how much time depending on the extent of your crimes and how much you've paid off the cops recently.

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