Crime Boss: Rockay City

Review

Crime Boss: Rockay City is an FPS/heist game that was recently released exclusively on the Epic Games Store and now has finally arrived on Steam. The game features a single player mode that mixes an interesting rogue-like formula with a cinematographic story showing off an impressive cast of Hollywood actors such as Michael Madsen, Kim Basinger, Danny Glover, Michael Rooker, Danny Trejo, Vanilla Ice and the legendary Chuck Norris. I have no idea how they convinced them all to perform in the game, but this is probably one of the reasons players should at least check Crime Boss out. I should give a warning though: despite being great actors, their performance feels a bit cringy, mainly because the animations aren’t really good enough to portray their expressions, the writing is bad and cutscenes have some very static moments. Still, it’s nice to finally see a game not made by Kojima that includes all these movie stars together. The story is nothing original and mainly aims at giving the feeling of a classic “gangster” movie. Rockay City is a fictional place where street gangs and organized syndicates fight every day for control. The protagonist, Travis Baker (played by Madsen), wants to be the king of the city but he needs to take care of the other leaders first (including Vanilla Ice and Danny Trejo).



The game offers three separate modes: Baker’s Battle, Crime Time and Urban Legends. Crime Time is basically offline/online quick play, so you can immediately jump in and play random missions indefinitely. Urban Legends is another mode that can be experienced via online co-op up to 4 players and features longer and more complex missions. In Baker’s Battle (the main campaign) you play as Travis and must complete a series of daily activities to collect money and start building your empire. This mode includes a quite innovative rogue-like structure mixed with micro-management mechanics. While the objective is to conquer territories and take down the rival gang leaders, you can only perform some activities during each day, such as trying a heist or attacking another gang. You don’t have enough time to complete all activities, so you must choose the ones you prefer based on the potential risks and rewards. It’s better to complete each task without attracting the attention of the police, which is led by Sheriff Norris who everyone knows for being undefeatable. If you die in one of these activities, you must restart the campaign from day one. All your upgrades and experience will stay with you of course, but you will have to rebuild your empire from scratch. Cash is king and with it you can hire new crew members with their own weapons and traits; these members also acquire experience after each mission and you can even promote them over time, unlocking more traits. You can take crew members with you during heists and give them some basic orders (like “follow me” or “stay”). They are mostly useless (especially during the stealth moments) but they can provide some gunfire when the police arrive and you can also play as them instead of Travis. They are also affected by the permadeath, so you must choose carefully which member you want to take and possibly lose forever. Heists and other activities are basically randomized, with the objective changing every time to a different location, as well surveillance cameras and enemies’ positions. This gives some variety to the campaign, but the game also includes special events randomly occurring during each mission just to be sure you are not getting bored. Despite the randomized assets, the few types of activities and locations are pretty much all the same, so there will certainly be some repetition after some hours.

Gameplay-wise, Crime Boss is essentially a copy of Payday, without reaching the same complexity during heists. You can approach each mission using stealth or guns blazing and the gunplay feels decent enough, though not that smooth for a shooter. The AI is unfortunately really bad. Crew members often stand in the middle of a shootout without taking cover. Sometimes enemies can’t detect you even when you are close to them (they look in the wrong direction), other times they become super aggressive with nearly perfect aim. Playing missions co-op with real players offers a much better experience overall, though there are still some gameplay limitations that make it less satisfying than Payday.

Graphically the game looks quite good, particularly lighting and environments. While the Hollywood actors’ faces have been faithfully recreated, the rest of the secondary characters look very generic and lack detail. Most models are re-used multiple times throughout the game, especially for enemies. The performance on PC is very good, though the game has already received many patches since its release on the Epic Games store.

While Crime Boss certainly isn’t one of the best FPS I have ever played, it tries a different and unique route, mixing the classic heist formula with rogue-like and micro-management elements. I appreciate this refreshing take on the FPS genre, even if the AI is awful and heists lack the complexity seen in Payday. The game has many flaws, but I think it can still give some satisfaction to those who enjoy B-movies and feel attracted by the cast of Hollywood actors, even though this isn’t their best performance.

Review written by Sonic Punk for Zeepond.com

Crime Boss: Rockay City Steam Store Page


Positives

+ Compelling mix of FPS, roguelike and micro-management elements
+ Includes single player and online co-op modes up to 4 players
+ Impressive cast of movie stars

Negatives

- Repetitive type of missions
- Crew members and enemies’ AI is seriously bad
- Actors’ performance is undermined by subpar animations and writing
- Secondary characters look really bland and generic

Review Summary

A mix of roguelike and micro-management, Crime Boss is an ambitious FPS with a stellar cast of actors, but also some flaws.

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Zeepond Rating: 6/10

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