reviews\ Oct 8, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Scarface The World is Yours - XB - Review

Back in 1983, the film Scarface introduced the world to the boisterous personality of Tony Montana, a man who went from Cuban refugee to head of a cocaine empire. Starring Al Pacino, Scarface showcased Tony’s rise to power and his dramatic fall. The film attained cult status, and stands the test of time as one of the most loved films of the past 25 years. Now, a game based on Tony Montana is out, but instead of being a rehash of the film, Scarface reinvents the end of the film, allowing Tony to survive the assault on his mansion and rebuild his massive empire from the ground up. Scarface: The World is Yours does a great job of carrying on the legacy of the film, with a great script, excellent voice work, and a huge, open-ended world to explore. For fans of the film looking for the chance to play as Tony, Scarface does not disappoint.

Scarface: The World is Yours begins right where the film ends. Tony is attempting to clear Sosa’s henchmen out of his house by means of an M16 with an attached grenade launcher. However, the game gives you control right before he is shot in the back. At this point, you change history by turning around and killing your would-be assassin and shooting your way out of the mansion. After a three-month mourning period (your sister and best friend are dead, after all) you are ready to hit the streets and take back what is yours, as well as get sweet revenge against Sosa.

As far as open-ended games go, Scarface really ranks up there as one of the most open experiences you can find on a current-generation console. You can play the game in many different ways, from drug deals to buying up fronts and property, to taking what is rightfully yours from those who took it over in your absence.

Missions in the game are received via a cell phone that you obtain early on in the game. Using your cell phone, you can not only get new missions, but also bribe cops to take the heat off of you, call your driver to bring out one of your cars for you (a bit later on, you can actually buy a limo to take you around) or switch to one of your henchmen to run their special set of missions.

The combat system in the game is very well developed, moreso than other titles in the open-ended genre. Targeting an enemy allows you to manually target a body part as you shoot, and the game will tell you what you hit, down to the left or the right kidney or, um, more unmentionable body parts. Taking out enemies will give you “balls,” which is basically a meter that amasses to allow you to go into Blind Rage mode. In Blind Rage, the camera will switch to a first-person perspective and basically lets you go buck wild on your foes, gaining health for each enemy you take out. Balls also will add to your total Reputation rating, which will give you clout when it comes to the people you interact with.

A lot of strategy goes into your empire building. You’ll spend time amassing fronts for your drug dealings, like warehouses and businesses. Sometimes it’s just a matter of talking to the guy running it, other times you’ll have to take them by force. This will enable you to maintain a steady income and build your Reputation.

As you earn money, you can purchase all kinds of exotics. Some of these are purely aesthetical, like stuff for your mansion (you can even purchase your former friends’ and enemies’ ashes), or new cars and henchmen. As you gain even more money, you can purchase business ventures, like Montana Music (which unlocks the full soundtrack to the game) and others which grant you gameplay bonuses like stronger henchmen.

A lot of the game focuses on conversations that you have with people. Business transactions occur when you interact with certain people. For example, when you’re making a drug deal, you have to hold down the B button for the right amount of time to get the best deal. However, if you don’t hold it long enough, you run the risk of getting a lousy deal and if you hold it for too long, you could really piss off the other guy and they’ll attack you.

You also have to launder money at banks in order to stay on top. If you die, you’ll lose all of the cash and cocaine that you have on your person, leaving your bank investments all that you have, making constant trips to the bank a must. Going to the bank requires you to do the same kind of sweet-talking that you do with drug deals. If you hold the B button too long or not long enough during the transaction and you’ll get a lousy deal and lose a bunch of your hard-earned cash.

Graphically, Scarface looks great. The character models are nicely detailed, especially Tony who bears the likeness of Pacino. The world is huge and detailed with all kinds of nuances from the film, and the seamless transitions from indoor to outdoor environments is a great touch for those annoyed by constant load times in other titles from the genre.

The sound is another area where Scarface absolutely shines. The voice acting is excellent, and even though he’s not Al Pacino, Andre Sogliuzzo does a spot-on Tony Montana, capturing the personality and the essence of the character while sounding exactly like Pacino’s film interpretation. The supporting cast is also phenomenal, and the well-written and clever dialogue fun to listen to and engages you in the story. The sound effects are also crisp and clean, and the soundtrack (which is absolutely loaded with great songs spanning all types of genres, including the entire soundtrack from the film) is awesome. 

Scarface: The World is Yours was definitely a gamble, taking a license several decades old and changing it up, something that usually spells bad news for fans. However, Scarface pays off big time, with incredibly deep gameplay and a sense of faithfulness to the subject matter. Scarface: The World is Yours sets the bar for licensed titles, and stands as one of the premier titles in the open-ended genre. 

Review Scoring Details for Scarface: The World is Yours

Gameplay: 8.5
With a huge world to explore and tons of different ways to play and missions to explore, Scarface does a great job of providing gamers with a truly open gameplay experience. The control scheme is solid and the balls system is an innovative way of rewarding risky maneuvers.

Graphics: 8.5
The graphics look solid with great character models (Tony looks spot-on with Al Pacino’s official likeness) and a wide-open world to explore. The game also shifts seamlessly between indoor and outdoor environments, and runs at a fairly consistent framerate. As an added bonus, the Xbox version does 720p, making it extra nice-looking for HDTV owners that can do the added resolution.

Sound: 9.0
Excellent voice acting, great soundtrack and solid sound effects make Scarface a tour de force in the audio department.

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 8.5
While the concept of Tony Montana surviving the end of the film may seem a little far-fetched, the well-written script does a fine job of pulling it off, and the dialogue is great.

Overall: 8.5
Scarface is a deep game with a huge, open world to explore and tons of missions and side-quests. Fans of the genre and the Scarface film will not be disappointed.


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