The Godfather II

Show a little respect as EA build a mighty castle in their sandbox...

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Oil be Back
Our first task: wrestle an oil refinery from the clutches of the Granados family - one of the five rival factions that'll populate the playable locations of Havana, Miami and New York (Sicily was considered as another, but got canned). Seizing control will not only give us a monopoly of all the businesses in the area, it'll grant one of eleven unique perks - in this case outfitting our entire organisation in bullet proof vests (an armoured car was the other mentioned). You'll actually play the game via two distinct viewpoints - a cool zoomed-out strategy, 'Don's View', from where you'll distribute your resources, check out the competition and plan your various machiavellian machinations, before zooming down into the more traditional sandbox world and getting your dangerous Italian hands dirty.

Instead of moseying on in through the front entrance, we take advantage of the engineer on our team to blow-torch through a chain link fence. Rather than run headlong into the thirty or so heavies guarding the joint, our bruiser shanks a guard while the sapper is dispatched to daisy-chain a bunch of colossal propane tanks - resulting in the mother of all kabooms and an evening of the odds in our favour. (It's also worth noting here that if one of your made men falls in battle, he won't necessarily buy the farm; you're able to revive him. If you don't make it in time, they'll simply end up in prison for a week.)

The refinery raid is also an apt time to test out Godfather II's refined shooting mechanics, now permanently set to free aim (though you can zoom in and lock-on). Pressure point targeting also returns, whether it's shooting a weapon from an enemy's hand, kneecapping him or putting a bullet straight through their forehead. Wading through the carnage, it's simply a matter of threatening the factory boss, finding his weak spot (this chap doesn't seem to like being tossed repeatedly to the floor) and making him promise to cut us in on a slice of the action.

Although the refinery will take a couple of days of game time to regenerate to full money-earning capacity, given that we've all but trashed it during our hostile takeover, the perk bonus it unlocks is more than worth the hassle. Bada bing!

Missions in Godfather II aren't always quite that unsubtle though. Case in point: the following scenario. Dominic needs to weaken a rival family in preparation for a particularly tricky raid, so after selecting three capos we head down to the local adult film studios where a prominent district attorney is hanging out. He's able to tweak some strings downtown, but only if our family performs a service in return - so it's off to a local diner to smash it up and plant some incriminating evidence. This is one of Godfather II's sabotage missions, and if you succeed you'll be given a 'sting' card, which lets you throw a member of an opposing family behind bars for a few turns.

Phone Home
Alas, the diner assignment doesn't prove quite as straightforward as anticipated. While Dominic and his goodfellas are laying down some sweet Sicilian smack, one of the Almeida grunts hightails it into a backroom and telephones for backup. Smith explains that, had we been a bit more savvy, we could have either attempted to smash the booth before the fight kicked off, or had our demolitions expert cut the telephone wires and electricity to the building before we'd waded in. It's yet another example of the importance of surrounding yourself with the right men in Godfather II - and, as well as that, remembering to use your brains as well as your brawn.

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