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To find out what button does what, go into the "Options" menu (from either the Start Screen or Pause Menu), then select "Controller". From here you can view the controls for on-foot AND driving missions. The game will also offer you many on-screen instructions. Pay attention to these, as they'll not only teach you the basics of the game, but they'll teach you how to perform special moves and pull off new execution styles. You can also look at "Motion Tutorial" to learn the various movements you can make with the controllers.
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Early in this walkthrough I'll help you with the controls as much as I can, so, if you're having trouble with something controller based, look at the early missions in the walkthrough and you will find an explanation of how to use the controls.
Knowing how to use the map in this game is vital to completing it. To see the large map, enter the Pause Menu and select "Map". Your location is indicated by they white arrow. Mission objectives that have yet to be activated are indicated by pulsing blue circles. Once activated, a pulsing blue "X" will show you where the objective is actually located. Hit contracts are given to you in locations indicated by pulsing yellow circles. Once you have the contract, the hit is noted by the pulsing yellow/orange "X" on the map. These are the basics.
Next, look at the bottom of the map screen and you'll see a few map functions which can be applied by hitting the specified buttons. You can zoom, place your own marker, and, most important, you can bring up and icons legend. This legend is the key to success. Use it to discover what the many map icons mean. You'll find safehouses (activated are green, unpurchased are orange), places to purchase guns and/or ammo, health clinics, banks, other family properties, and so much more. What you won't find, and this frustrated me for some time, is a key for what the weapons with stars on your map mean. This is where you can purchase weapon upgrades. When you initially earn and/or purchase your weapons, you will automatically have a level 1 weapon. The level 2 upgrade for that weapon can be found at the weapon indicator with the white star next to it. The level 3 upgrade for that weapon can be found at the weapon indicator with the yellow star next to it.
What's more, once you're in the legend, you can flip legend pages to find specific family properties. Choose the family, then scroll down and watch as the property is highlighted on the map. This comes in handy when you're looking for a specific family's warehouse, hub or compound (noted later).
When you're playing the game, make use of the mini-map in the lower right hand corner of your screen. Again, you're the white arrow, blue markers indicate mission objectives and yellow markers indicate hits. When you get close to those blue or yellow markers, you may need to look close at that mini-map to actually pinpoint their location. If you see a blue or yellow marker in the shape of a triangle that points up, the objective or hit is above you. If the triangle points down, the objective or hit is below you.
Finally, note the outside of the mini-map. Along the left arc you'll see a meter. This is your bribe meter. In this game you can bribe cops or FBI so they'll turn the other cheek when you're doing your business. Simply find a cop on the street or find a badge on the map (use the FBI badge icon on the map to locate an FBI agent) and talk to him. If you're successful, you'll pay off the cop and the bribe meter will fill up. As long as there's juice in that meter, the cops will either completely look away, or they'll be soft on your criminal activity. This is particularly helpful if you want to rob a bank.
Your wanted level by the cops is indicated by the number of police badges that appear on the left side of that bribe meter. Truth be told, cop bribing and paying attention to the meter isn't a big part of this game. Unless you're having trouble with cops coming after you, I wouldn't worry about it at all.
I've already mentioned the pause menu giving you access to controller options and the map. The rest of the menu's functions will be addressed here.
First is "Skills and Upgrades". As you play through the game you'll earn respect for doing just about everything. The respect meter is below the health meter in the upper left corner of your screen. It fills as you do mobster things (seriously, it grows with just about everything you do). Fill the meter up completely, and your rank will increase. Increase your rank and you'll earn a skill point. When this happens, enter the "Skills and Upgrades" menu and assign that skill point to the skill you want upgraded. I was fairly even handed in my upgrades, although if priority was given, it was given to Health and Firearms, followed by Blackhand. The only skill I really dismissed was Law.
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Up next in the Pause Menu is "Objectives". If you aren't sure what to do next, simply check this menu, and it will tell you what to do.
"Career Progress" is fairly useless, but it does provide a nice visual aid showing your ranking. Better information about your progress is found in "Tom's Report". Within this report you'll discover your progress in terms of percentages. Percentage of missions completed, percentage of hits completed, percentage of business extorted, percentage of rackets taken over, and so on and so on, all of the way to percentage of the overall game completed. You'll also find fun little stats here like the number of crimes for which you're wanted, how many times you've been arrested, etc.
"Motion Tutorials" teach you how to use the Wii controllers to perform certain moves. If you're having trouble with in-game actions, I suggest you spend some time here.
Finally, using the Pause Menu you can quit the mission you're on (helpful if you want to save), or you can safely quit the game (just remember to save before you do).
One thing missing from the pause menu is the ability to edit your character's appearance. This can only be done at the beginning of the game, or, when you load a game. If you're in the middle of the game and have a hankering to buy your character new clothes, or change his appearance, you must save, quit the game, load your saved game, then visit the barber and/or the tailor. When you're comfortable with your appearance, "Play Game" again to pick up where you left off.
Note the Health meter in the upper left corner of your screen. If your Health meter runs out of juice, you'll die, or be "iced". If you're in the middle of a mission when you're iced, you'll get the opportunity to retry the mission from the last "checkpoint". If you're not in the middle of a mission and you're killed, you'll wake up in the nearest doctor's office.
Being killed does lower your vendetta and wanted levels, which is good. However, it will also cost you a bit of cash. For the record, being arrested provides you with the same results (but you'll find yourself in the closest police station instead of the doctor's office.
In this game you'll only lose saved progress if you turn it off or quit without saving. Dying won't affect your saves in the least. To save, simply drive to the closest safehouse (indicated by the green house icon on your map), enter and look for the room with the icon in it. Walk up to the icon and save. Please note, the orange safehouses on the map are safehouses you can purchase. Purchased safehouses often provide you with much ammo. Safehouses are also a good place to go if you want your wanted level to decrease.
Speaking of safehouses, pretty much every safehouse, bar, restaurant, etc., has a phone. Phones are used to receive mission information, but, more importantly, as soon as you have more than one safehouse, you can use phones to warp between safehouses to save you travel time. Doing this is referred to as, "Call Driver". When you do this, you'll get a list of other safehouses which you've unlocked or purchased. Select where you want to go and you'll be taken there immediately.
After your first promotion, you gain the ability to call in Hit Squads. When the Hit Squad meter is full (when the Corleone icon in the upper left of your screen looks like it's on fire), you can call in a four man crew by entering your weapons select screen and pushing "Down" on the "D-Pad". The Hit Squad needs to be paid, so they will cost you money. I had no need for Hit Squads during the game, but if you want to use them, go nuts.
To buy weapons, ammo, upgrades, etc., you'll need money. In all honesty, you'll make enough money just completing the missions to do everything you really need to do in the game. However, if you want some extra cash, here are a few things you can do. Please note, the money you'll be paid from extorting businesses, controlling rackets, and taking over warehouses and hubs will be paid to you weekly (you'll be notified on screen). The money you get will be shared with the Corleone family. The more respect you earn, the larger the percentage of that money will go into your pocket.
Extort businesses - Check your map for family icons which aren't "Corleone" (you're working for the Corleones, so you already control businesses marked with the Corleone icon). Early in the game, you should also use the map legend to give you more details about the business. Start with businesses marked on the legend with one dollar sign, as they'll have fewer enemies protecting them. Enter the business and speak to the owner (person with the puppeteer icon above his/her head).
Early in the game most business owners will require some "persuasion" to allow you to "protect" their operation. At this point you'll be shown the "Pressure Meter". Your goal with the Pressure Meter is to move the bar past the green marker, as the green marker indicates the point where the person is scared enough of you, he'll do whatever you ask from him. However, be careful that you don't frighten the owner too much, or the meter will turn red and you'll have passed the point where he'll cooperate with you. If this happens, leave and return in a couple of days (hours, but the way, are minutes in this game, so wait 48 minutes for a couple of days to pass).
You can pressure a business owner in many ways. For example, you can arm a gun, and target him. You can use your bat and pull it back like you're going to hit him (aka, charged attack, hold "down" on the d-pad). You can actually hit him with the bat or the gun. Just make sure you watch his health meter, if this is the path you choose to take. You can also focus on other things. See what you can target in his business (cash registers, counters, etc.), and destroy these things. If you're an evil little mobster, beat up or shoot customers.
Once the Pressure Meter has surpassed the green marker, talk to the business owner again and he'll let you control the business. You'll get protection payment once a week. Note, once your respect level is high enough, business owners will hand over their places of business immediately. If the family insignia that once marked the business doesn't change to the Corleone family insignia, that means the business is a front for a racket.
Control rackets - As mentioned before, if the family insignia of an extorted business doesn't switch to "Corleone", that means the business is a front for a racket. Once you extort a business owner who is hiding a racket, back doors will become unlocked (they'll glow). Move through them and find whatever kind of illegal activity is going on. Find the boss of that activity (again, look for the person with the puppeteer icon above their head), and speak to him. Like the business owners, these guys will need to be pressured (some will even want to fight you). Do what you need to do to get it done and, again, you'll be paid once a week.
Warehouses and Hubs - Once you feel comfortable with the game, you might want to try to take control of a Warehouse. Use the map legend to select a family name and find a Warehouse in the area. Details of acquiring a warehouse are found in the walkthrough, as it does take some skill. However, it basically goes like this: Kill those blocking the outside of the warehouse, kill those in the crateyard of the warehouse, kill those inside the warehouse, find the warehouse boss (usually through a door to the left of the stairs on the second floor of the "office" area, and convince him to give up control of his warehouse. For this you'll get much money, again, paid once a week. By the way, once you've figured out how to take out one warehouse, you'll know how to take them all down, as they're really all the same (same with hubs and compounds). You'll earn your warehouse money once a week.
Hubs supply Warehouses, so you'll want to wait until you've upgraded your weapons a bit (again, look for the weapon icons with the stars next to them for places where you can buy upgrades). Hubs are very much like warehouses, they're just protected better. Again, the walkthrough addresses the specifics of taking down a hub. Again, you'll be paid Hub money once a week.
Hits - As the game progresses you'll be given the opportunity to take out enemies of the Corleone family. Doing so will earn you money and respect. Hits contracts are indicated on the map by a pulsing yellow circle. Speak to the person offering the contract, first. This person will give you details of the hit, including specific kill instructions, which, if followed, will earn you bonus money. Once the contract is active, head to the pulsing yellow "X", which indicates the person you must kill. If you forget the specific instructions, go into the "Objectives" menu and scroll right for Hit instructions. Details of the Hits can also be found at the end of this guide.
Safes - You'll find safes inside most buildings in this game. You can blow them open if you have Dynamite. If so, approach the safe and tap "B" to place the Dnyamite. Exit the room and wait for the Dynamite to blow (watch the meter atop your screen). Once it blows, return to the safe and collect the money AND a new stick of Dynamite.
Rob Banks - When you're comfortable with your shooting skills, find a bank on the map (indicated by the "$" sign), and enter it unarmed. Pass through the unlocked doors and find your way to the basement. Here you should arm yourself, as people will begin shooting at you. Kill those who do shoot at you, then locate the safe door. Plant a stick of Dynamite at the safe door, move away so it blows safely, then enter the safe. Collect the many bags o' cash. Next, you must shoot your way out of the bank, hop in a car, and drive to a safehouse, while being heavily pursued by the police. Enter the safehouse to escape the police and have the stolen money be added to your cash collection. It helps if you bribe a police man before robbing a bank.
Vendettas and Mob Wars
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Shooting mobsters from other families will cause your Vendetta Meter to rise (upper right hand corner). The higher the Vendetta, the harder members of that family will come after you. Fill up the meter to start a mob war. You can deal with a mob war in one of three ways. First, go with it and wait the 48 hours (48 game minutes) for the families to cool off. If you go with this option, you might have to deal with the rival family bombing one of your businesses. If this happens, the mob war will end (you'll lose), and the bombed business will be inaccessible for a week. Second, you can end the mob war by bribing an FBI agent. Find any FBI icon on the map and bribe the agent like you'd bribe a cop. Third, bomb one of the family's many businesses. If, for example, you've started a Mob War with the Cuneo family, use the map legend to locate a Bomb supplier. Buy a bomb. Next, locate a Cuneo family business (again, use the map's legend), and enter. Arm the bomb and run around until you get a prompt to plant the bomb. Do so and run out of the building.
Please note, bombed building will take a week to recover after a bombing. If you try to enter a business and find it's closed due to a fire, that means the business was bombed by you or another family. Wait it out and enter at a later time.
I know I've mentioned it before, but I feel the need to dedicate a little section to upgrading weapons. When you have a chunk of money and want to upgrade your weapon, find the weapon icon on your map that has the star next to it. A white star offers you the opportunity to upgrade to a level two weapon. A yellow star provides you with the chance to buy a very pricey level 3 weapon.
And with that...on with the game.