Scarface: The World is Yours Review (PC)

There are plenty of games out there to satiate our seemingly endless need for senseless crime and violence. Scarface: The World is Yours is the latest in the distinguished line of crime empire building/run around with a machine gun and kill everyone type of game. It has everything you’d expect: killing, abundant profanity, graphic violence, gameplay bugs, a great storyline and a soundtrack.

Let’s say Tony doesn’t die in a hail of bullets like he did in the movie. Let’s say he blasts his way out of his besieged mansion and lives to fight another day. In Scarface: The World is Yours, we help Tony rebuild his cocaine empire in 1980’s Miami. The problem is he has no money, the DEA has his mansion, and almost everyone he knows is dead. All he has going for him is a taste for revenge and a kicked coke habit.

You gotta be pretty ballsy to wear an all tan outfit Just another day in Miami

The missions for the most part are standard fare, kill this guy, defend this, assault this place, drive here, all with the colorful language found in the movie. Not only are you on a quest to increase Tony’s cash and influence, but you have to help him prove to Miami that he has a huge set of cajones. Balls are like style points and they are gained by driving like a maniac, taunting your victims, elegantly executing gang members etc. As you waste goons, you fill a special meter that allows you to unleash an unreal killing frenzy.

Instead of dying, you “F up.” Failing to outrun the cops results in the state of being “F’d.” When you’re “f’d,” you face a relentless, unsurvivable police pursuit.

The money you make is spent on “Exotics.” These range from cars to investments to henchmen. You can even buy objects to pimp out your already pimpin’ mansion.

Driving in the game is a treat with realistic game physics and a great world in which to drive. Of the nice quirks on the game is the ability to call a driver. Your personal cars have better armor and speed than the civilian models on the street and after delivery the driver moves aside and becomes an extra gun. This would be great if the AI characters weren’t as dumb as bricks. Your henchmen only respond to commands such as “stay here” or “follow me.” They’ll shoot at whatever is shooting at you and they will just stand there... shooting... until they die. The enemy AI is slightly dumber with their two main tactics being rushing you with numbers or spawning directly behind you. Cover is virtually nonexistent so your main counter-strategy is to run around and hope you don’t run out of ammo.

It just isn’t a good idea to shoot at Tony Think he’s nervous? Nah! He’s Tony Montana!

The console-designed controls are awkward on the PC. Not only is it tricky to surf the menus, the character movements are even more difficult. You have to pick your mouse up a few times to turn Tony around. A quicker way would be to use the directional keys but you still have to use the mouse for aiming and firing. It’s as if the developers assumed everyone has an extra arm because you really need three to play. Hand to hand combat--which you would think to be essential to the game—is loaded with bugs. Punching or shoving an opponent is fine... until he gets behind you. Then it is next to impossible to turn yourself around to fight back. It should be really satisfying to watch Tony go nuts and stomp some chump, instead the gameplay prevents it.

The FPS tends to slow down when a lot of things are happening which can be hair-raising in a firefight or when trying to outrun the cops. Character animations are passable, especially in the cut scenes. Although, when a group of people are running, it looks like a bunch of “Peanuts” characters in a footrace. Slouched forward, stubby legs moving really fast although little progress is being made. For an extra laugh, drop Tony in the water and watch him swim.

The manual is almost nonexistent, with 7 pages dedicated to the game (including table of contents) and 13 to credits. And the 7 pages do little to explain the game or the setting or the characters. It does however do a great job of differentiating a pistol to a shotgun.

Besides the manual, there are a few other oddities. For example, put Tony in a car and he will mow down any pedestrian dumb enough to stand near his way. Try to target and shoot a guy however and Tony will refuse to do so. “I don’ wan’ that on my heart man, I don’ shoot the womens or the childrens.” This is pretty interesting to see in such a violent game. Oftentimes, the game mechanics just don’t make sense. In one game, I let my gang heat get too high and the Diaz brothers bombed my car. It exploded, spiraling through the air in a fiery blaze and landing at my feet. I called for a new car but, according to the game, the one next to me was still usable. Although it had no wheels I was still able to drive it a few feet before I died, the car exploding around me.

Miami Beach is a cool place, no matter what game you’re playing You want to play rough?

If you forgive it for its flaws, the game accomplishes its mission. You end up with a taste of what it’s like to be Tony Montana. I couldn’t shake the feeling that this game wasn’t tested on the PC nearly enough and to be completely honest it doesn’t belong on the PC. Scarface: The World is Yours is a good time for fans of the movie while other gamers may find this console game in disguise to be frustrating and unworkable. The “sequel” approach to the storyline is refreshing but, and although the comparison is unfair, those who are used to “Grand Theft Auto” and “the Godfather” will be disappointed. A fun game lurks in here somewhere; it just takes a healthy dose of fortitude and good humor to see it.

Top Gaming Moment:
Simply being Tony Montana.