Scarface: The World is Yours - PS2 Review
If you've ever seen the movie Scarface then there are certain scenes that will live with you forever. The Chainsaw scene, the final shootout, the massive amounts of swearing - including 218 uses of the word "fuck" according to IMDB. Over the years the movie has become more and more popular and is now widely regarded as a masterpiece. It's somewhat amazing then that no one has developed a game based on the property. It has everything. Fine women, a glorious setting of Miami, drug cartels and plenty of action from start to finish. But here we are. After a year long delay Vivendi's video game adaptation is here and it's a fantastic title.
|Graphics are very impressive.|
The 1983 movie Scarface starring Al Pacino follows the fortunes of a Cuban Boat Lift refugee Tony Montana and his close friend Manny Ray as they move out of the refugee camps (following an assassination) and into Miami. When there Tony soon realises the making it legitimately is not as easy as they hoped, they soon turn to selling cocaine to dealers around the world - soon becoming one of the most powerful cartel dealers in the country. But with money and power comes enemies - and for Tony a sense of paranoia.
The most interesting aspect about this game is that it doesn't mirror the events of the movie but rather starts from the final shootout in the movie - a shootout which you survive, but sees Tony lose everything. It's your task to rebuild Tony's empire by taking over the streets of Miami and seek your revenge on arch rival Sosa.
|Targeting an enemy boat.|
This third person game has more then a passing resemblance to Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto - and for that reason comparisons are inevitable. Fortunately Vivendi have developed a game every bit as entertaining, as technically accomplishes but with several unique features. The actual game world is quite large, and comprises of several different areas which you need to gain control of.
It's possible to hijack any vehicles in the game world, typically with Tony mouthing off at the driver as he hauls them out of their vehicle. As you move around the game world you'll come across gang locations and if you're suitably armed you can take them out. While the game has a lock on system you can also manually target enemies - go for the headshot for a quick kill, or make them suffer for a while by aiming for their arms or legs. It's also possible to perform an execution by getting up close to them before attacking. It's different for each weapon, but always brutal. This isn't a game for your grandmother.
Most of Tony's business is conducted through his Satellite phone (basically a menu that is accessed by pressing the L2 button). Through this you can change the music being played in the car - or alternatively you can press Select a couple of times. Tony can also buy exotics (such as improvements for the mansion, cars or boats among other things), tell his driver to come pick him up, look over your business and check out the weapons.
|Going to the Babylon...|
One interesting aspect to this game is the use of a meter for a variety of things. It looks similar to those typical "press the button when the meter is full" golf swing meters, and for all intents and purposes works in the same way. This is used when in negotiation styled situations. Perhaps it's to get a low rate at the bank when depositing your money, or trying to get the most cash for your drugs, or trying to talk your way out of being arrested.
One of the neatest aspects of Scarface is that if you, as Tony, want something it will be brought to you. You're the big boy in town, so why would you have to run down to the local gun shop to pick up some weapons. Simply pick up your 1980's mobile phone, call up some friends and it will be delivered to you. Need a car? Make another call. It will certainly cut down on the amount of traveling around looking for items.
|Selling some coke...|
One of the more interesting gameplay features is the "Balls Meter". When you enter a battle it's possible to taunt your enemies, or take them out with style. Do this enough and your "Balls Meter" will fill which allows you to enter a Rage mode which then puts you in a first person perspective, makes Tony invincible and allows for much quicker kills.
There are some disappointments. Primarily I found the game a little on the linear side in terms of completing missions - there's not many options to complete them in any order you want which is disappointing. I also felt that despite the game time of well over 30 hours, there could have been more then the 20-30 missions on offer. Still, there is a tonne of gangs to take out, items and locations to discover (sperm bank anyone?) and areas to explore.
|The final shootout - sort of.|
Another disappointment with the game, and this is really a problem with most current generation titles, is that despite the large game world filled with people, vehicles, buildings and locations, 99% of the buildings can't be entered unless they serve a specific purpose such as a business you're buying, bank's your putting money into, gang controlled buildings and so on.
Visually Scarface is a treat. While these screens are in a widescreen mode the game does also support 4:3 TV's so you can all relax - although if you do have a Widescreen TV make sure you set it as it makes quite a difference. The world is full of other people going about their daily lives with pedestrians and vehicles moving around the city. Characters have been modeled very well - including Al Pacino as Tony Montana - and it's not hard to spot some of the recurring characters from the movies. Their animations aren't the most detailed ever, but for such a large scale game it's not bad with quite a few enemies on screen at once. The games cut-scenes are handled with the in-game engine and they tell the story quite well indeed. The effects and lighting are also very impressive from the smallest waves in the water, to shadowing and largest explosions.
|Another of the many vehicles.|
Audio in Scarface is simply stunning. The music is atmospheric, and changes pace according to the action on the screen while the effects are extremely high in quality. Hell, this game does have THX certification after all. Giorgio Moroder's movie score is represented, and there are approximately 100 licensed music tracks from artists such as Run DMC, Judas Priest and Debbie Harry. Unfortunately many of the tracks are lesser known then those in Rockstar's GTA titles.
One can't go past this game without mentioning the stunning voice cast - quite possibly the best every put into a single video game. Each delivers their line perfectly and while there is the odd moment where a line seems out of place, it's a damn fine effort. For your records the voice actors include James Woods (Casino); Robert Davi (Die Hard); Michael Rapaport (True Romance); rapper/actor Ice T (Law & Order: SVU); Oliver Platt (The Ice Harvest); Jay Mohr (Jerry Maguire); Miguel Sandoval (Jurassic Park); Daniel Dae Kim (Lost); Willa Holland (The O.C.); Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck); Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck); Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives); NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; Cheech Marin (From Dusk ‘Til Dawn); Ricky Gervais (The Office); Michael York (Austin Powers films); Michael Rooker (Slither); Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong movies); Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back); Anthony Anderson (Hustle & Flow); Rick Yune (Die Another Day); Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show); Entourage’s Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara; Richard Roundtree (Shaft); Tiny Lister (Next Friday); Bai Ling (Lords of Dogtown); Bam Margera (Viva La Bam); Cree Summer (Drawn Together); rapper N.O.R.E.; Tommy Lee; Cypress Hill’s B. Real and Sen Dog; and Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven & Twelve).
I had high expectations for Scarface: The World is Yours, but when Vivendi delayed the game I started to get concerned. I shouldn’t have. This is a kick-ass title which has much more realism then GTA, as well as several gameplay innovations bringing with it a fresh feel. Make no mistake this is one of the most deserving games to get a MA15+ rating. While it's certainly worth a purchase, you may want to do it quick just in case the OFLC makes one of those stupid re-classification decisions and bans the game. To the development team at Radical Entertainment and publishers Vivendi; fantastic job.
Review By: Dave Warner
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
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|GRAPHICS||In some areas it's fantastic, but in others it could be a bit better.||79%|
|SOUND||A stunning voice cast that for the most part suits the game perfectly.||86%|
|GAMEPLAY||I love this game, it's like GTA on steroids, although a bit more linear.||90%|
|VALUE||Not as long as GTA, but slightly cheaper, and fantastic value.||90%|
|OVERALL||Scarface: The World Is Yours is a kick ass title. If you don't mind excessive swearing, violence, and drug themes then this is the game for you. This has exceeded my expectation sand is certainly worth checking out - fans of the movie will be over the moon.||86%|