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Crime Boss: Rockay City Review - A Caper Worth Skipping

EDITORS' RATING : 3 / 10
Pros
  • An interesting roguelite structure in its campaign
  • Solid gunplay
Cons
  • Missions are overly simple and brief
  • Complete lack of a multiplayer progression system
  • Frequent bugs and visual issues
  • Lackluster use of star-studded cast
  • Poorly balanced mission difficulty

A PC review code was provided to ZaaZ for this review. "Crime Boss: Rockay City" is available now for PC via the Epic Games Store, and is coming soon to PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

"Crime Boss: Rockay City" is the first title developed by Ingame Studios and is published by 505 Games. The game quickly grabs your attention thanks to its star-studded cast that boasts the talents of Chuck Norris, Danny Glover, Michael Madsen, Kim Basinger, Michael Rooker, Danny Trejo, and Vanilla Ice. It features first-person shooter action across small criminal missions that task players with robbing stores, fighting over turf with other gangs, or bank heists. 

"Crime Boss" brings some interesting new ideas to the table by blending in elements from genres such as roguelites and management sims. However, it does struggle to smoothly execute its concept because of frequent bugs, odd narrative structuring, mechanical simplicity, and poor balancing. There is fun to be found in "Crime Boss," but its issues bog down the experience enough to keep it from keeping you invested for very long. Whether you were looking for an online experience to tackle with friends or an interesting and varied new roguelite, you will find "Crime Boss" disappointing.

Rockay City Stories

The main content in "Crime Boss: Rockay City" is its single player roguelite mode that follows the story of Travis Baker, a criminal kingpin trying to shoulder his way into the underground world of the fictional Rockay City, FL. The mode is introduced through a dizzying series of brief missions, character introductions, and fragments of stories that are never fully established, explored, or concluded. 

During the mode, you're are able to tackle various missions while managing your gang's finances, armory, and team members. When members die during missions, they can be killed off permanently, whereas if Travis Baker dies during a mission, the run is over and you have to start all over again. To guide you through your runs, there are various goals and objectives that you can activate, as well as occasional story missions appearing on the map to introduce new characters and keep things moving along. 

However, this main mode really suffers from the overly simplistic design of the missions. The vast majority of them are so short and straightforward that they can be completed in less than three or four minutes. Missions that aren't over before they barely begin are then subject to sharp difficulty spikes in the form of powerful waves of cops arriving on the scene. Over the course of a run, you can also unlock upgrades for future runs, but doing so feels largely useless because it is easy enough to successfully complete a run on your first attempt. 

Multiplayer with a limited scope

The second mode available in "Crime Boss" is its multiplayer that supports up to four players. When playing multiplayer, you can either jump into quick matches that are randomly selected missions, or you can start a short series of missions that tell a brief story, known as Urban Legends. Each Legend challenges a team of players to select from a limited pool of characters that each have their own appearance, traits, limited number of revives, and equipment that are carried over each mission of the Urban Legend. 

The multiplayer missions are built on the same bones as the single player mode in "Crime Boss," but they struggle because of the minimal elements surrounding those same overly simplistic missions. In the quick play mode, you are able to accumulate wealth to purchase different characters to tackle missions with, but there is a severe lack of progression outside of that. When playing Urban Legends, you get ranking upon completion that can unlock additional characters, but that is all the progression there is. 

The biggest missing element of the multiplayer modes in "Crime Boss" is the complete lack of customization. Players are unable to customize their profile at all. Characters are randomly generated and their models tend to repeat a lot. You're able to get different weapons to equip for missions, but they can't be customized or upgraded in any way, contributing to the modes feeling half-baked.

Struggles along the way

The lackluster content of "Crime Boss" is also hampered by various other issues that are present throughout the entire game. One of the game's most pervasive issues is its general lack of style and polish. It attempts to incorporate the style of 90's America in its menus and presentation, but it fails to do so in a visually interesting way. This issue also bleeds into the game's cutscenes that play out nonstop in the single player and multiplayer modes. These scenes feature the game's massive cast of Hollywood actors, but are delivered in such a way that they are more disorienting and confusing than anything else. They bombard the player with discordant fragments of information, leaving the player to try and piece it all together. 

"Crime Boss" also suffers from some major technical issues on PC. Load times take an inordinate amount of time for how simplistic its levels and graphics are. There was one bug in particular that frequently reared its head that sees enemy models not loading in properly, leaving you to be shot by invisible enemies while wildly firing to try and kill them. Other bugs also plague missions with sometimes being unable to swap weapons, getting clipped into geometry from being hit by a closing door, or enemies getting stuck and killed repeatedly. The bugs pile onto the inherent issues with "Crime Boss: Rockay City" that make it hard to see any player picking it over better titles.

"Crime Boss" is a live-service game that will likely see plenty of updates, should the playerbase remain invested long-term. It's just hard to recommend the title in its initial launch state.

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