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Jeremy Jastrzab
03 Dec, 2006

Scarface: The World is Yours Review

PS2 Review | Say hello to my little friend (though you've met him before).
The 1980s movie Scarface was easily one of the best flicks of its time, and remains one of the best gangster films ever made. So, given that games such as GTA: Vice City were influenced by it, and seeing as names such as the The Godfather and The Sopranos have made their way to our little black boxes, you could argue that it was only a matter of time before Brian de Palma's film got the video game treatment. And sure enough, Scarface: The World is Yours is here and yours for the taking.

Scarface was the story of Tony Montana, but Scarface: The World is Yours doesn’t try to re-tread the same path as the movie. Instead, it does something a little strange, something that is increasingly becoming a trend: it takes what was one of the most iconic endings in modern cinema, and jigs it around. In the climatic final scene that leads to Tony Montana’s death, you now play as the man himself, and fight your way out of your mansion as your empire goes up in smoke. After laying low for a while, the rest of the game concentrates on you building up your empire from scratch. This will mean that you come across both familiar characters and new ones.

There's a hugely irreverent tone throughout this game. From the get-go, it's obviously catering for the fans who were around to see the original cinematic release. Hardly a sentence goes through the game without containing an expletive. Still, the writing is reasonably good, and for the most part stays true to the source. At times it feels like it’s geared a little bit more towards being comedic, and as with all games of this nature, the tone will wear thin. Furthermore, the “new” characters are very distinguishable when compared to the older ones. It’s much more of a relief to be playing a game based on a solid source, rather than some fictional, tired urban backdrop. While 1980s' themes and the modern themes sometimes clash, overall the game is done reasonably well, even with Tony Montana not being voiced by Al Pacino.

Recreating cinema history.

Recreating cinema history.
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As you may have guessed by now, Miami of the 1980s has been given the GTA treatment; that is, you’ll be playing as Tony Montana in an open-ended city. Scarface: The World is Yours actually does manage to place a few new twists on this increasingly tedious formula, but for the most part you'll feel like you’re playing GTA: Scarface. To the game's credit, some of the new twists are actually quite helpful, but at the same time aspects that were good in GTA aren’t capitalised upon.

Probably the best thing about Scarface: The World is Yours is its handling of weaponry. With a weapon in hand, the game plays like a third person shooter and handles well. Using both free-aiming and locking-on, the game plays well and you’ll soon be pulling off head and “left nut” shots without any hassle. On top of this, the game has a very handy cover system that allows you to attach yourself to any flat surface. Unfortunately, the location designs don’t always allow you to take advantage of it. Furthermore, Tony isn’t really nimble, as he can’t duck and tends to amble around a bit too much.

Scarface operates a little differently to your token open-ended game, in that there are a few layers to what you have to do. Since you’re rebuilding your empire, your status in the game is determined by your reputation, your cash, your possessions and your “balls”. Your reputation will steadily increase with the completion of each mission, and pressing L2 opens up a menu that allows you to observe most things that are at your disposal. Missions in this game are now collected by contacting your lawyer on your cell phone. Often you will have a choice between missions that push the story forward, and the missions that expand your empire or your wallet.

Sneaky devil.

Sneaky devil.
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Money can be earned by either completing missions or by selling cocaine. Take the cocaine route, and you'll need to earn the trust of suppliers before you can peddle it whenever you have the need for quick cash. Any money earned through illicit methods is known as “dirty money”, and needs to be deposited in the bank. Once in the bank, it’s “clean” and no one can touch it other than yourself, as dirty money can be lost to the cops, or when you die. Whenever you're dealing with a junkie or coaxing cops or bank employees to drop the bank’s cut, you’re presented with a little mini-game. It requires you to hold down a button and if you get the meter in a certain range, your dealings are successful. It’s nothing revelatory, but adds something to think about.

Throughout the game, you'll have the opportunity to gather possessions and fix up your mansion. On top of this, you can buy more weapons, vehicles, and even henchmen. One of the henchmen drives vehicles to you, though we aren’t sure why we can’t ask him to drive us somewhere. Basically, you’ll be doing a fair bit of administration, as you take back your turf throughout the whole of Miami. The last major addition to the game is the aspect of “balls”. Every time you pull off a slick move or taunt your enemies, your “balls” meter fills up. When it's full, Tony can go into a blind rage, at which point things switch to a first person perspective and he's blessed with unlimited health and bullets, and can mow anything in he path. Balls will also help with your dealings.

Many efforts to emulate GTA have, for various reasons, been unsuccessful and messy. Scarface: The World is Yours is actually one of the better efforts, but it's not without its issues. It seems that there is often a clash of themes, from the original movie to those being propagated in the game, but only older players (much older) are likely to notice. For one, the handling of vehicles in the game is universally below par, with trucks and other heavy vehicles being especially poor. There are boats but no motorbikes.

It wouldn't be fun if you couldn't blow anything up.

It wouldn't be fun if you couldn't blow anything up.
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The general environment and mission structure lacks the endearing design of the better sandbox games on the market, with players often being forced to travel randomly from one end of the map to the other. It becomes very tiring, and the missions that you’ll be playing through feel as if most have been done before. There's precious little reason to explore either, as a lot of environments look like they’ve been placed there for the sake of it, and most back alleys are simply empty. Basically, if you’re sick of open-ended games, you’re not going to find enough new here to refresh your enthusiasm.

Graphically, the game looks about two years behind. The characters from the movie are well reproduced and obviously more detailed than their “new” counterparts. Otherwise, you’ll be seeing more of the same NPCs throughout the streets. Structure-wise, things look fine, and somewhat like a Miami-esque setting in the 1980s, but in general there's a lack of character here. Disappointingly, the game’s frame rate is poor. It chugs along at a low pace throughout, and takes heavy hits. Couple that with graphics that are only average and you're left with one dated looking game.

The game's soundtrack fares much better. The music selection is huge and open for customising, with genres that range from 80s to rap to rock to just about anything. There's something for pretty much everyone. While Tony Montana isn’t voiced by Al Pacino, the cast is star-studded and everyone does a pretty darn good job. It’s very noticeable and commendable as to how well it’s done. Otherwise, the rest of the sounds in the game are fairly ho-hum.

Scarface: The World is Yours offers a few fresh twists and nuances to the standard open-ended formula, and is backed up by decent material. Unfortunately, it will not offer much that is new, and if you’re sick of the open-ended genre, there's no reason for you to get this game. Furthermore, a lot of the themes from the film have been lost and get mixed with modern day influences. As a game, it does the job, but there is still room for improvement.
The Score
Scarface: The World is Yours may not do anything new but it does it somewhat well. Recommended, unless you're truly sick to death of open-ended action games. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 Comments
7 years ago
Jeremy wrote
Furthermore, a lot of the themes from the original game have been lost and get mixed with modern day influences.
Which original game is this? Did you mean the original movie?

Anyway, pretty good review all up. It does get kinda repetitive and therefore boring after a while but I still maintain that I only took an interest in it because it's Scarface. Don't have anything to compare it to as I'm not a fan of GTA but I can see how it wouldn't be as deep in the gameplay area.

The graphics do suck, even on XBOX (the version I have). You say the graphics are a couple of years behind, but remember you're reviewing the version that came out for a console that was released 6 or so years ago. I've seen and played it on PC too and it's better but still not up to today's standards. Regardless, it's not always about the graphics.

Any fans of Scarface (or dare I say GTA) should at least give this one a rent.
7 years ago
Personally I can't put the game down, though it does get a bit boring I can't seem to stop playing it.Also I think the driving is the most fun thing to do in the game.I also love the gun play mechanics, especially because of the gore.I think it's great being able to aim at and remove body parts.
7 years ago
theory wrote
Which original game is this? Did you mean the original movie?
Yeah, I meant the movie icon_razz.gif

theory wrote
The graphics do suck, even on XBOX (the version I have). You say the graphics are a couple of years behind, but remember you're reviewing the version that came out for a console that was released 6 or so years ago. I've seen and played it on PC too and it's better but still not up to today's standards. Regardless, it's not always about the graphics.
The assessment of the graphics had no bearing on the final score.
7 years ago
I thought the graphics (XBX) were excellent and in comparison trumped San Andreas. Maybe its just because I haven't "Jumped In" to the Next-Gen yet? icon_razz.gif
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Vivendi Universal
Developer:
  Universal Interactive

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