Crime Boss: Rockay City was one of the bigger surprises to come out of The Game Awards last year: a brand new video game property from a relatively unknown studio, featuring a star-studded cast of relatively well-known actors – with a hard release date just a few months away, no less! The slick, colorful reveal trailer definitely turned some heads, but it also raised some eyebrows, since it focused more on who is in the game rather than what you’ll actually be doing.
After an hour and a half of hands-on time with Crime Boss: Rockay City, I now have a much clearer idea of what it actually is, but I also came away even more skeptical that it can actually achieve what it’s setting out to do.
Crime Boss is fundamentally a first-person shooter, but it aspires to be an ‘organized crime game,’ meaning stealth, strategy, and careful preparation will likely yield more favorable results than going in guns blazing. The obvious comparison to make is to Payday, the co-op bank heist series, but my time with it felt more like Left 4 Dead.
Crime Boss: Rockay City Screenshots
Three modes will be included at launch. There’s Baker’s Battle, the single-player campaign where players take control of Michael Madsen’s character Travis Baker and help him become the titular crime boss of the eponymous Rockay City. There’s also Crime Time, which consists of quick heists that can be played alone or cooperatively. Those earn you quick cash to unlock new crew members, gear, or contracts.
The mode I previewed, Urban Legends, is the happy medium of the two. Much like Left 4 Dead, these six “mini-campaigns” consist of several unique missions interspersed with cutscenes to tell a loose story. Up to four players can play cooperatively, with bots available to pick up the slack. Unlike Left 4 Dead’s lean arcade-like roster, Rockay City has players picking their character from a sizable rogues’ gallery of royalty-free goons, henchmen, crooks, ne’er-do-wells, rogues, and so on….