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Crime Boss Rockay City Isn’t Worth Your Money Or Time

Platform(s): PC (version reviewed), PS5, Xbox Series X | S
Genre: First-person shooter

Crime Boss Rockay City is a game that wears many hats. It’s a first-person shooter that takes place in a digital city full of crime and celebrity cameos. Imagine being at a party where everyone’s trying to outdo each other with snappy one-liners, except nobody’s actually funny.

If that’s not your jam, there’s also a single-player mode where you try to take over the entire city. It’s like Payday, but with a lot more dying and restarting.

Crime Time is the multiplayer mode in the game that’s quick and fun but doesn’t have the same level of depth as Payday. Urban Legends is similar, but it has these little side stories that play out over a few missions. Unfortunately, neither mode really understands what made Payday great in the first place.

Crime Boss: Rockay City has a lot of stuff going on. But even though it tries to be a shooter, a roguelike, and a multiplayer game all at once, it never quite hits the mark. It’s like a pizza with too many toppings – you’re better off sticking with a classic.

The game’s biggest detriment

The biggest problem with Crime Boss: Rockay City is its lacklustre shooting mechanics. The weapons lack impact, and shooting baddies feels more like a chore than a thrill. Even worse, the guns are blandly designed, and the colours they come in are nonsensical.

As you progress through the game, the enemies do get harder, but it feels forced and artificial. The low-level gang members can only hope to get you with their numbers, while basic cops and security guards will just stand there and take it as you mow them down. But as the stakes are raised, you’ll eventually face off against S.W.A.T teams and heavily armoured juggernauts that can take a ton of punishment.

The whole thing feels like a missed opportunity. There’s potential for some exciting shootouts, but the lack of precision and the enemies’ lack of intelligence make the game a bit of a slog.

Cringe Writing

To make matters worse, Crime Boss: Rockay City fails at being a nostalgic throwback as well. The writing is filled with cliches, and the performances from the star-studded cast fall flat. Even Michael Rooker and Michael Madsen, who are typically captivating on-screen, can’t salvage the poor delivery and tired dialogue.

The game also struggles with misogyny. Vanilla Ice’s character, Hielo, can’t seem to decide how to refer to the women in his orbit, vacillating between treating them as property and calling them “Bitch” every few seconds. Unfortunately, he’s not the only character guilty of this, and the game’s attempt at capturing the ’90s zeitgeist falls flat.

To add to the disconnect, the weaponry in the game feels modern, with laser sights and other attachments that don’t quite fit the supposed ’90s setting. The music is also an odd mix, with Bomfunk MC’s “Freestyler” blasting from a boombox in one moment, and contemporary weaponry firing in the next. It all makes for a world that feels disjointed and resists immersion

So, remember how we talked about Crime Boss stealing a lot of ideas from Payday? Well, it does have a couple of unique features. In single-player mode, you play as Baker and complete heists to build up your own criminal empire. The money and loot you steal can be dumped into a pit to decorate your office and increase your prestige. You can also hire soldiers and upgrade your weapons to make your gang more powerful.

As you progress, you can level up and unlock perks for Baker and his team of middle managers, each with their own specialities. For example, Michael Rooker’s character Touchdown is focused on turf wars and can be upgraded to make attacking and defending easier. Other characters can help with recruiting new gang members or selling stolen goods.

You can also recruit AI heisters to join you on missions and level them up to make them more effective. This is especially useful for riskier missions because if your main character dies, your campaign is over, and you only get to keep the level-ups you’ve earned so far. With AI heisters, you can build up a gang that you can send on missions without risking your main character.

Despite its many flaws, Crime Boss manages to deliver an engaging experience with its mix of heists, territory battles, and story vignettes with a diverse cast of characters. However, the lacklustre shooting mechanics hold the game back from being truly enjoyable. It’s possible that the developers and publisher are aware of this, as the game is currently only available on the Epic Games Store with console releases planned for June.

For diehard Payday fans, the game’s issues may not be a dealbreaker, but for everyone else, there are better options for nostalgia and first-person shooters. Crime Boss: Rockay City can be found on the Epic Games Store, and we played it on PC.

Loading Simulator

Playing on my RTX 3060 laptop, I found myself waiting forever to load into levels with one day actually having me start and finish an entire movie all while in the same loading screen. Because of this exact reason, I had to Alt + F4 numerous times throughout my playthrough.

I also dealt with bugs when I initially booted up the game with a controller connected. Apparently, if a controller is connected when you boot the game up, if you want to switch to mouse and keyboard then you’ll have to restart the entire game.

Cash Out

All in all, Crime Boss: Rockay City is a game that falls short of its potential due to various issues. While the idea of building a criminal empire through heists and territory wars with a variety of characters is compelling, the poor gunplay and writing detract from the overall experience. Even the star-studded voice cast can’t save it from being a disappointment.

Despite its flaws, die-hard fans of the Payday series might still find some enjoyment in this game. However, for most players, there are better options available in the first-person shooter genre. Crime Boss: Rockay City is currently only available on the Epic Games Store, with console versions set to release in June.

In conclusion, Crime Boss: Rockay City fails to deliver on its potential and falls short of expectations. With a heavy focus on licensed music and celebrity voice actors, the game neglects important gameplay aspects such as shooting mechanics and writing. It’s a shame to see good ideas go to waste, and ultimately, Crime Boss: Rockay City is a disappointment.

Pros

  • Promising concept.
  • Baker’s Battle is pretty fun with its roguelike twist.
  • Young Michael Madsen

Cons

  • Lacklustre shooting mechanics.
  • Cramped levels.
  • Cringe writing.
  • Poor optimisation.

Final Score: 30/100

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