Despite sharing its name with the console versions, the PSP version of The Godfather is a completely different title. A lot of concessions have had to be made to get the game on the handheld, and while there are a few PSP-only additions, it's the omissions that are likely to leave a sour taste in your mouth. In short, The Godfather on the PSP is far too downgraded to be an enjoyable game.
The storyline is similar to that of the home console versions, with the narrative in the game complementing the original film. The game begins with a cut-scene where your character witnesses the death of his father. Don Vito approaches you and informs you that your time for revenge will come, and the game then picks up a few years on, where Luca Brasi finds you in an alleyway and reveals it's time to wreak said revenge.
The first thing you'll notice on the PSP version is the fact that the game no longer lets you roam around freely to complete side missions or do things as you see fit. The entire game is divided up into missions, and you need to complete each of these to advance. The missions are pulled from the console versions, except some have even been omitted, a disappointing move which certainly subtracts from the longetivity of the game. The cut-scenes are identical and, it has to be said, look pretty impressive.
With all the missing features in the PSP version, it's good that EA has included something extra - the 'Mob Wars' mode. Mob Wars is a turn-based strategy game with cards. Basically, there's five areas of New York, further divided into quite a few neighbourhoods. Each of the five families in New York has an area and the idea is to move your mobsters around the map and take over the area from the other familes. Keep taking areas over and you'll eventually have control over the entire city and be the Don of New York. During each turn you'll draw cards, which are used to steal money, rival player cards or move into another territory. It's not actually that deep, but it's pretty enjoyable nonetheless. Mission and Mob Wars don't really link up that well however; whilst money and experience that you've earned in either mode is carried over, if you've taken a territory in Mob Wars you'll still need to do it in Mission mode, which makes Mob Wars feel a little bit tacked on.
As the PSP version replicates the missions from the console versions, it still suffers from the same problems that the original game did, and brings its own problems to the table. The missions are repetitive and the environments narrow, and it often feels like you're entering a room, shooting all the enemies and then moving onto the next room and doing the same thing, which doesn't provide all that much satisfaction. The PSP version also has a dreadful camera that's sure to leave you frustrated. The camera automatically stays behind your character, and you can reset it by using the R button. It's also possible to move the camera by holding the R button but you can't actually move and look at the same time. This is extremely frustrating, and the narrow environments only make the camera problems seem even more prevalent.
Technically speaking, EA has done a good job of porting the game to the PSP, but there are still a few issues with the graphics at times. On the plus side the environments (while small) have a suitable amount of detail, and the character models all look great. On the negative side, there are sometimes clipping issues and glitches, like characters appearing through walls or objects. The cut-scenes all look pretty impressive on the PSP as well. The audio has mostly been carried over from the console versions, and the theme song helps to add authenticity to the game. The voice-acting is top quality and the sound effects all sound great. Marlon Brando, James Caan, and Robert Duvall all return to provide their voices.
Due to the linear nature of the game, it's also now possible to finish the entire game in about eight hours. It's disappointing that there's no real reason to come back to the game after you've finished it unless you really love the Mob Wars add-on. EA hasn't included a multiplayer mode in this game or support for downloadable content, so the game isn't going to keep you going for long at all. The lack of free-roaming really hurts the game, because even after you'd finished the console versions you could return and roam around New York as you pleased; with this game, once you've finished the missions, the game is just over.
The Godfather for the PSP just doesn't live up to the console editions. You're no longer allowed to roam around New York at your leisure, you can't drive vehicles, the camera gets in the way, and the missions are too short. It seems that half of the game has had to be cut to get The Godfather working on the PSP, which is severely disappointing. The mob wars turn-based strategy game is clever, but not good enough to hold the game up by itself. The Godfather on the PSP is a severe disappointment and feels like just another movie cash-in, rather than a complement to one of the greatest series of films ever.