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Scarface

Developer: Radical Entertainment | Publisher: VU Games
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/08/06 | Genre: Action

scarface.jpgNOTE: If you haven't read the preview, please do so as it covers some aspects of the game that are not included in the review for space constraints.]

A lot of people like the film Scarface. It’s a good move about a bad man. Let’s face it, Tony Montana isn’t a nice guy. I don’t quite understand why people idolize the character, as there are plenty of other strong male role models but aren’t assholes. Yup, that was a swear word. That’s just a very small hint of what it’s like to play the videogame sequel to the hit film, as it is laced with “f-bombs” left and right. That’s only appropriate though, as it is keeping with the character and the world he inhabits. Make no bones about it, Scarface was (and is) an “R” rated film for adults. Naturally the game isn’t going to be watered down – it stays very true to the source material.

The game takes the “what if” scenario of Tony surviving the final scene in the film and still losing his empire. Players take control of Tony Montana and escape the mansion and attempt to reacquire everything that was lost. It’s a good scenario to take rather than rehashing the film again. The world of early 80’s Miami is recreated fairly well (at least as far as I can tell from the various films I have seen as well as having watched Miami Vice “back in the day”). There are plenty of details to pick up on and people to interact and converse with.

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Players don’t just take on the role of a generic thug here, this is Tony Montana, who commanded a vast empire. Pulling a few favors players get started back in the cocaine business. This is what sets Scarface the game apart from other crime centered games such as Saint’s Row or Grand Theft Auto – there is a set of rules for character operations. Tony Montana isn’t going to kill innocent people, he deals pretty much just in cocaine, and… well, that’s rather it. He’s Tony Montana, what else do you want?

That’s the main point of admission for most people, and actually that’s going to be the major deciding factor for purchasing the game. Do you want to play as Tony Montana and be the biggest bad ass in Miami? If yes, that’s the first major hurdle. The second is if the game is any fun.

The short answer is yes, fans of the film Scarface will get plenty of enjoyment out of the extended story that is presented here. There’s a lot to do in Miami as recreated by Radical and Sierra, though most will just stick to the main story and get through the game in about 50 hours. There are plenty of side missions to accomplish as well which extends the play time, but even just going through the main game is enough to satisfy.

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Generally games of this sort provide a “living, breathing” world to explore and this game falls a little short in that respect. Not because it brings a shortage of places to visit or things to do, but instead the game is so plot heavy that there is little left to explore on your own. In the course of the game, you’ll wind up hitting virtually every spot on the map.

Scarface brings a lot to table in terms of gameplay, with various minigames (drug dealing and money laundering mechanic stolen from a golf game, video poker), challenges and people to meet. The game is open ended to allow players to get through the plot in a manner of their choosing, which is very nice and refreshing. Nearly everything is working towards the same goal, it’s up to the player to pick and choose how to get there.

I’m not going to go into the Balls Meter and the Blind Rage that Tony can go into, I’ve already covered that in my preview sufficiently well. Allow me to address two of the issues I did bring up in my preview though. The first is the graphics. Scarface looks good, but for somebody used to playing games on the Xbox 360 these days, it was a bit jarring to go back. As a “current-gen” game the graphics are well done. The other issue that I brought up in the preview was the hand to hand combat. Apparently the problems I was having were with the build or the controller I was using, as I haven’t been able to replicate the problem since.

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Much like the recent DVD release, a lot of attention was given to the game’s audio. Naturally the title character, the player, the main point of the game gets more attention and a great voice actor steps in for Al Pachino to deliver the lines. There is a large cast of Hollywood name actors that appear in the game as well. A lot of attention was given to the details to make the world of Scarface come back to life.

The targeting in the game is also well done. Tony won’t shoot innocent people, so they don’t even show up in his sights as the reticules appear in a crowd of enemies. A type of automatic lock-on helps the players that need it, but the ability to freely aim is there. This is also present in the vehicles, when Tony can drive around and fire off some rounds (and there will be times when that happen).

As a matter of fact, there will be a lot of driving, as there usually is in games of this type. One of the prestige items that players can buy is a driver, who can be called up at any time to bring Tony one of the various cars that are available. Tony is never far from his empire – always at his finger tips. The satellite phone is the main device used to keep taps of the empire, where missions are kept track of, key locations, etc.

I’m starting to ramble on a bit too long here, which is easy to do with a game such as this where there really is a lot to cover. There’s the whole music aspect where the Xbox version doesn’t utilize custom soundtracks, but players won’t miss it because there so much in-game music, from either the film’s score, to period music, to current stuff that can be mixed around to the player’s liking.

Prestige is gained by performing tasks as well as purchasing some of the things that any self respecting drug kingpin needs – like a suit or armor or a limo (which enables the player to instantly travel from one business front to another). Prestige is another form of power, and that’s what Tony Montana is all about, so buying extravagancies is integral to the gameplay.

Suffice to say that if you like the movie and want to continue the story, or if you like the genre, Scarface is a game that will satisfy.

By Daniel "Monk" Pel... - 10/29/06
ESRB Details: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
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Screenshots for Scarface

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