Reviewed by Jimmy - 10.18.06
It was only a matter of time before someone had the balls to transfer the legendary film Scarface into a game. Radical Entertainment and Sierra Entertainment are the two partners who have come to bat for the one and only Tony Montana in this open world action opus. Think Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and then crank it up, this is Scareface: The World is Yours.
Developer Radical Entertainment respectfully stayed away from retelling the Scarface movie plot in game form. Scarface: The World is Yours leaves off at the climactic shoot out at the end of the movie and asks the bold question "What If Tony Montana Survived?". It's brilliant idea and it has you playing as Tony Montana rebuilding your empire to its former glory. What Scarface fan can resist having another chapter in the Scarface lineage? That's right cock-a-roaches, no one!
Helping Scarface feel authentic enough to capture the atmosphere of Brian de Palma's 1983 masterpiece is an all-star cast including the penmanship of David McKenna. With David writing the storyline in Scarface we have to expect greatness considering he has penned the amazing American History X and 2001's drug trafficking epic Blow. You can probably tell that I'm a bit of a fanboy, but not without reason. McKenna has written some good screenplays and Scarface can be put at the same level. Scarface: The World is Yours does a great job making this digital world seem alive with Tony Montana on top of his game. This is the most important factor next to game play and it's good to see an A+ effort in the storyline development area.
Scarface: The World is Yours might feel a little familiar to gamers if you've been through the similar Grand Theft Auto experience in Vice City. Vice City was basically a huge tribute to Scarface right down to the location and storylines. Vice City even went further with chainsaws in bathrooms and a red carpeted mansion almost identical to Tony's. How Scarface is different from Vice City is that it's a more focused, profane and story driven then Vice Cities loose feel. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a good equal to Scarface and the both excel ahead of the other in certain areas. It would be hard to pick a winner out of that match up, but one thing is for sure, it's feels good play the real deal.
One aspect that is nailed home in Scarface: The World is Yours is that you have to have "Balls". Tony Montana is all about being fearlessness, getting things done, and doing them your way or simply put as having balls. In the gameplay you have a "Balls" meter which triggers a matrix like effect where Tony is amped up with ultra fast speed with unlimited health and ammunition. It's pretty cool and it adds a nice element to the overall game, Tony was always unstoppable and one step ahead and the Balls meter conveys that feeling. Building up the balls meter is simple, have some balls. Curse at bad guys; avoid being sideswiped in a car, anything that shows an edge will most likely boost your meter. Its Tony Montana after all, it's pretty easy to have a big set of cahonies.
Cash is also uniquely handled in Scarface. When you acquire cash through various illegal activities it is called 'dirty cash'. You need to take this cash to a bank and switch it over to real cash, but watch out the bank takes a cut. Like all the events in Scarface you'll be presented with the circle mini-game where you have to hit a rising meter before it hits a certain point. For example in the cash laundering the circle represents the transfer rate, the higher the better, go over and it's bad news. This circle meter is used in every aspect of Scarface, so it's you'll have to get used to it.
Other unique feature to Scarface which is in the same vain as cash is drug dealing. Scarface isn't shy about the way to become a king in America, sell drugs, in Tony's case its cocaine, and not the Eric Clapton song. You will need to be hooked up with a supplier and then your off cursing the streets looking to unload your stash which is iconed in grams in your main hub. Sell dope is easy, find a dealer on the street and push the dope for the biggest price. When selling you have to watch your gang meter to make sure the rival gangs influence isn't too treating, if it's too high your selling value will go down and you could even get into a gang war. If you don't want to sell on the street, you can go to one of your fronts (when you acquire them) and sell your sugar to them. It's not as profitable, but it's less dangerous and easy.
Scarface is also loaded with a host of new features which are innovative and fit perfectly into the Scarface world. A major feature is how you purchase and what you can purchase through the 'Exotics' menu. In a nice twist which isn't added in other games in this genre is the ability to see the effects of your wealth and power. Scarface does a great job and purchasing extravagant items is all a part of Tony's world. The best purchase in the Exotics menu is the he ability to hire henchmen which come in five classes (Driver, Boat Pilot, Arms Dealer, Assassin and Enforcer). These men can be called upon at any time and can help Tony out, if you actually need it. You can also purchase new vehicles including boats, unique collectables, interior designs and furniture that can be displayed in your mansion. Investments are also avaliable for purchase which significantly boosts your reputation points; one investment is "Montana's Records" which is Tony's very own record label. Having the ability to upgrade and lavish your player is what was missing from other games like the GTA series and new gang bangers like Saints Row. In Scarface: The World Is Yours your wealth finally pays off, and it feels great.
Scarface keeps the innovate train rolling with the way Radical handled dialog. You have a "Taunt" button to make Tony randomly should obscenities, but this button also works for normal talking. When walking up to someone Tony can start a conversation and rather then branching off with a dialog box with text and options you can repeatedly keep on pressing "B" to talk and go through a conversation with a NPC. Keep in mind there are no options to what Tony says, but it's interesting to listen to your character converse with a NPC. This is the future of gaming once it's revised and given more juice. I'm impressed Radical Entertainment spent the time developing this system along with doing lengthily voice work.
Scarface also has a few other features that keep the pluses coming for the games score, you would be reading forever if I keep on going on. You should just know that Scarface pushes the little aspects just enough, making this gang related open world experience fresh. Even though Scarface didn't come along first, it really feels like a fresh start for the genre. I hope they have plans to port this over to the next generation, or build a new Scarface experience because it rocked me all over Miami.
The rest of the Hollywood talent belongs under the sound category because they have Oscar winner, Randy Thom working at Skywalker sound to produce authentic sound effects. They also have 40 actors and actresses who lent their voices to this project which had a huge effect on the delivery of the lines. I'll scan over a few names and you'll probably recognize a few, Michael Rapaport, Miguel Sandoval, James Wood, Cheech Marin, Robert Davi, Michael York and the original Many (Steven Bauer) and Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia). It's quite the impressive list and these "famous" people actually improve the product along with giving the promoters an extra notch when they name drop.
For graphics Scarface is up to par with the hardware, the Xbox version looks close to the PS2, and I imagine the PC edition would be even better. Scarface: The World is Yours gets close to capturing the feeling of Miami with its ocean side properties and bikini clad women. I found some of the textures a little dull, but overall given the scope of the world it is acceptable.
Scarface: The World is Yours accomplished the impossible by making a respectful adaptation of the immortal film. It feels good to play the Cuban gangster Tony Montana, reclaiming the underworld and building a new empire. Scarface: The World is Yours innovates the genre bringing the gritty Scarface world to gamers. It's over the top, pumped full of action, and Tony isn't shy about dropping a few F*** bombs. If there is one game to own on the current gen machines before the next waves overtakes us, it's Scarface: The World is Yours.
Game: 9, Graphics/Sound: 8.5, Innovation: 8.5, Mojo: 10 Final: 9 / 10