The Sopranos: Road to Respect - PS2 Review

The Sopranos is one of those series, for me at least, that you hear about too late, you know it' good but having seen snippets you know that so much has happened in previous episodes that you will never be able to get in to it 100%. This said, armed with the wisdom from the great mob flicks and having recently played PS2 titles such as The Godfather and Scarface, I set about this title with a certain amount of expectation and enthusiasm.

The Sopranos: Road to Respect

I'll start with the basics, the playability of the game itself is not the bad, but by the same token it is not that good either. You start the game with the expectation that the titles is going to have some kind of free roaming element but it is extremely linear and constricted from your third person perspective. As you go about your missions handed down from the mob captains, you will invariably get yourself into a bit of trouble, in which case you have to fight your way out of it. This is not particularly a problem in itself and the melee mode is also quite good with a number of special variations in which you can see off your enemy from slamming his head in a cabinet to a gangland style execution. The gripe is that this is all the game is really about, fight after fight after fight, in linear mission after linear mission and it is a major problem. Having said this, you cannot help but have run as you bowl around town as Joey La Rocca busting heads as linear as it may be. You can also choose what kind of a gangster you want to be during the limited vocal exchanges. You can take a tough, neutral or smooth standpoint and this will determine how you relate to other characters in verbal exchanges. This doesn't affect the game one iota, but is a bit of fun nonetheless.

The title itself looks pretty good with the Bada Bing strip joint recreated in all its glory, included the pre-requisite pole & lap dancers. In fact you can just stand at certain points in the club and go into a cinematic 'watch' mode and concentrate on the pole dancers jiggling. Gore and whacking enemies aside, there is every reason for the title to be an '18'! The actors from the TV series actually play the voices of their characters in the game, so from the perspective of a fan of the show this may very well be the highpoint of the game, whilst the storyline is excellent and could have been an episode in itself. The question you will ask yourself though is whether that would have been a better idea. As with only 4-6 hours before you finish the game and with a plethora of button mashing melee's and no scope to roam, it may have been better to have it as an episode and put more effort in to the playability of a better Ps2 title to rival Scarface and The Godfather. In a nutshell, too much emphasis has been put on a script and the voiceovers, rather than the actual game itself.