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The Sopranos: Road to Respect is a Playstation 2 game based on the HBO series The Sopranos, and was developed by THQ in 2006. The series is a drama revolving around Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and his conflicting loyalties between his family and his criminal organisation. Aside from some occasional graphic scenes, the series is not particularly focused on action or violence, and instead is a well-written, brilliantly acted character study which is often moving and frequently very witty.
The game however is entirely action-based, however fans of the series won't be too disappointed. Many of the notable characters and locations from the series feature in the game, and the storyline follows on from certain events in the series. You play the role of Joey LaRocca, the illegitimate son of Pussy Bonpensiero who was "whacked" in the second series for snitching to the FBI. Road to Respect takes place between the second and third series of The Sopranos, when Tony Soprano offers Joey a place in the New Jersey Mafia family. You then perform various jobs for the family including threatening people, stealing cars and killing members of rival families.
Being a fan of the TV series, I liked that it stayed relatively faithful to it in terms of plot, and it was good to see familiar faces and locations pop up in the game. However, I found the game to be a little disappointing. While the series is known for its excellent writing and believable storylines, the game had rather a weak storyline. In one of his missions, Joey accidentally kills the nephew of a rival family boss causing a vendetta against him culminating in a violent showdown. This was reasonably interesting yet very predictable in my opinion. While the story of the game is fairly independent of the series, I think a better route for the game to have gone down would be Joey finding out exactly what happened to his father and who killed him and then embarking on a mission of revenge against Tony Soprano and the other people involved. Of course this does not fit in with the later series, but I think that the storyline would be stronger and more exciting.
The graphics are reasonably good but certainly not the best I have seen with some locations not very well designed and the sound quality is also fairly average. The gameplay is fairly poor, particularly in fight scenes in which there is often a huge barrage of enemies to fight and it seems as if you just have to button bash to defeat them. A nice feature of the game is the additional poker mini-game which I found to be quite entertaining.
Overall, The Sopranos: Road to Respect is a rather disappointing adaptation of the series. Although it is satisfying to see the familiar characters and places from the series this is not enough to hold up an adequate game, as it is let down by its poor storyline and gameplay. It is reasonably entertaining but it is not outstanding.
I absolutely loved the Sopranos tv show and when I heard that a game of it was being released for the PS2 I was over the moon. You play as Joey La Rocca, the illegitimate son of Pussy, who was whacked in the tv show for being a snitch. La Rocca is a petty crook until Tony takes him under his wing, and this is where the game begins.
The best thing about the game is the superb voice overs which are done by the actors from the tv show, however these are immediately let down by the fact that the graphics in the game are so poor. I could perhaps understand the poor graphics if there was a solid frame-rate but there is not and it does little to make me enjoy the game. The areas to explore in the game are very limited and this frustrated me a lot of the time. I was hoping for a more open world GTA style offering but instead you get shoe-horned into specific locations and are penalised if you stray from the set path.
A lot of the game revolves around combat, and La Rocca has plenty of moves to use to attack rivals and there are also interactive surfaces like table saws however this becomes repetitive as this is the main feature in the game; button bashing. At times it's all too easy and I like a challenge when I'm playing games. I don't want to be able to play straight through a game in a couple of hours without feeling challenged which is what happened here. There is also a dialogue system giving you three choices of tough, smooth or neutral whenever you're talking to a character, however these have no real influence on the final outcome of the game it is quite pointless.
There are also a variety of mini-games to play; poker and slots are available and you can also buy some design art to add to the replay value but to be honest once you've played this game once you won't go back to it again. I was glad that I tried it out though and for many Sopranos fans I would recommend picking it up cheap just to feed their addiction, but for non-fans, stay away!
A mob war is brewing as Philadelphia's and New Jersey's most powerful families are about to collide. As the illegitimate son of Big Pussy, you have been born into the organization and are now being given an opportunity to demonstrate your loyalty to Tony Soprano.