Casting players as a soldier of the Corleone Family, the original The Godfather from EA took the open-world formula of GTA and introduced some unique fist-fighting and intimidation mechanics fitting of its namesake. It reviewed well enough, but its creator decided that, for the sequel, it would take a different approach: the Don's approach.
As Joystiq has previously reported, The Godfather II is indeed a blend of action and strategy gameplay. Taking some liberties with the plot of the famous film, Michael Corleone has appointed the player's character as a fill-in Don. It's in this role that they plot against other families – each with their own ambitions – in an effort to rule all of the rackets in Havana, Miami, and New York City.