- Reviewed on: PS2
- Also available for: Xbox, PSP, PC
- The Good: Great story idea with a mix of serious and funny plotlines. Uses elements that haven't been used in GTA games. Voice acting is excellent. Missions and gameplay are easy to understand. Customization of personal items is a nice touch.
- The Bad: "Felix Leads" missions become too repetitive sometimes. Not the best looking game out there, visually speaking. Over-the-top antics and incessant profanity are overdone here and there.
- The Verdict: Take back the world and everything in it.
Publisher: Vivendi Universal; Developer: Radical
Rush rush, got the llello?
Buzz buzz, gimme llello
Rush rush, got the llello? Uh oh
Yo yo, no no llello, uh oh
There are few films with as many ego-driven one-liners and such unadulterated violence as the cult classic Scarface. Cuban gangster Tony Montana, already immortalized in film, hits the small screen in digital form and does more than an adequate job maintaining his reputation.
The premise with Scarface: The World is Yours is simple: Tony survives the relentless assault from kingpin Alejandro Sosa's death squad, but now must claw his way back to the top. He must take Miami back and eventually face down Sosa in South America.
Taking back "what's comin' to me (mother f*****)."
Putting aside the short tutorial in which we see Tony looking goofy in a Cuban military uniform, the real test comes fast and furious right from the start. The game picks up from where the movie ended, but instead of Tony lying dead in the fountain, you fight off your would-be assassins and make your way out of the mansion and into your getaway car.
During the sequence, you learn how to use the "blind rage" mode, which is a Max Payne-like bullet time where gameplay slows right down to a crawl, you become temporarily invulnerable and can plug your enemies full of holes with great accuracy. Blind rage mode can only be triggered when your "balls meter" — which accumulates as you successfully take down your foes — is full.
Scarface is arguably bloodier and filled with more gore than any of the Grand Theft Auto games. And you're rewarded for taunting the corpses of your dead enemies as well. Without question, the bloodiest moments are saved for times where you use the chainsaw because you gain more reputation points and balls by hacking limbs off your enemies.
And all of this is done in a cocaine-free rage. At various times throughout the game, Tony mentions that his snorting days are over, though his henchmen sometimes indulge in a little nose candy.
Build an empire and "bury those cock-a-roaches!"
The map is split into four different zones of Miami. Little Havana is controlled by the Diaz Brothers, Downtown by the "Haza" Nacho Contreras and both South Beach and North Beach are Gaspar Gomez's territory. There is another territory called "The Islands" which seems to be based on a Caribbean locale. Though the Bahamas are the closest to Florida, the accents on the characters are overly Jamaican, so it's hard to say what the intention was.
The focus here is very much like that of the GTA games, with the notable exception that side missions aren't as plentiful and the main story tends to move along at a faster clip.
This is especially evident in how quickly you can buy storefronts to start selling your llello (sounds like ye-yo), and even more so with the storage facility that will distribute the stuff in large quantities.
How things progress in that regard largely depends on what you want to do. Cleaning out all hostile gangs from a territory is a time-consuming process, and a tough one at that, but it becomes essential in securing your product. When rival gangs have little to no presence in your territory, coupled with low Gang Heat, you can distribute the llello to your fronts with relative ease and bring in bigger profits.
Taking out the gangs also reaps significant financial rewards, since you're basically stealing the money they made. You just have to be careful that you don't generate too much Cop Heat in doing this or too much Gang Heat because that will mean certain attacks on your storefronts.
"All I got in this world…"
Like the Tony Montana in film, the video game iteration lives in excess in much the same way. You have the opportunity to buy tons of exotic items to be placed in your mansion at your leisure. These include the remains of his sister Gina and best friend Manny in urns. But then there are all the cars, the boats and investments that you can make. Plus, you get to renovate and update the look of your mansion.
The general persona of Tony is handled very well in the game, and the excellent voice acting has a lot to do with that. A big budget was allocated for the voices and it shows, as a who's-who of Hollywood talent takes part.
When you buy the Jukebox as one of your exotic items, you unlock the different music albums available to you. Everything from 80s pop to today's reggaeton has a place in the game, and you can customize what songs you want to play, rather than picking and choosing every time.
"This country was built on washing money"
Laundering your money and saving your progress at the same time was a good idea, and is a small feature that differs from GTA games. In Scarface, there's always a risk of losing your dirty cash. In one instance, I had taken out a big Contreras gang with a payload over $400,000, but I ended up losing it all after the cops took me down on my way to the bank.
And the idea of "paying down" Cop Heat or Gang Heat is another inventive feature that really illustrates the cost of doing that kind of business. Although there are other ways in which you can lower those meters (i.e. intimidation), paying them down can help you out in the long run. Keep in mind that when those two meters are low, you gain access to bigger drug deals with a higher yield. Not to mention that the bank's take on your dirty cash is lowered significantly.
"I know the game, man"
The best thing about Scarface is that its subject matter is so closely tied to events and characters from the film. Names that were mentioned in the movie now become actual faces and characters who play big roles in Tony's new lease on life.
To do this, it undoubtedly takes all the key elements of the GTA games, but it also has a different take on some things that help give it a bit of a different gameplay identity. Washing money or playing in missions as your various henchmen are neat ideas that can save you time and keep the story moving along.