Crime Boss: Rockay City

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Crime Boss: Rockay City (Xbox Series X) – Review

Crime Boss: Rockay City was originally released back in late March for PC, but it has recently made the move to console. I was given the chance to review it on the Xbox Series X, but it is also available for Series S and the PlayStation 5. So has the console version stomped out the bugs that were heavily present when it was released on PC, or is it still a title that may require a bit more work? The Short answer is yes. I watched a lot of gameplay when it first came out and the bugs have been fixed, but it’s still a yes for more work needed, as it seems new bugs have shown up for the console release.

Crime Boss: Rockay City is a First Person Shooter based on organized crime. You have everything you would expect from a crime-based game, with strategy and your turf always being challenged, so you’ll inevitably end up in a war. You get to control the main character, Travis Baker, who is voiced by Michael Madsen, and he is perfect with his deep and raspy voice.

Based in the fictional city of Rockay, crime is at its highest and the previous crime boss has just died, so it’s all guns blazing and everyone is fighting to become the new King of Crime. The game gets harder as you progress as you lose crew members if they die during a mission. There’s also a little bit of realism, as you can’t just spam missions using the same members for each job.

They need to rest. You’ll also be managing the money coming in and covering the crew’s cut after completing jobs – if you go bust, you can’t recruit or pay your crew, and if you can’t take on a job, you will have to restart the campaign, but don’t stress too much – you keep certain unlocks as this is like a roguelike feature to the game.

Crime Boss: Rockay City is backed by an amazing cast of celebrities making the cutscenes and unfolding story feel like a Hollywood movie. As mentioned, Michael Madsen takes the lead role, with supporting stars such as Michael Rooker, Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, and a short list of others helping bring the characters to life by giving a great performance.

I could not help but make Lethal Weapon jokes when I saw Danny Glover’s character on screen, playing the role of a former detective and looking like he was “Too old for this shit.” – the classic catchphrase of Roger Murtaugh. They also did a great job of making the character models for the key actors, making them appear younger, and looking the same age they were during the key movies that many are known for.

Sadly, the jobs are not overly impressive. They sound great on paper; A bank heist, store robbery, and turf wars. Hell yea! but many of the jobs take place in the same location with slight or no change to them at all. After the second time robbing the same location, you know exactly where key points of interest are like the security room to disable cameras. Sure, it makes for a clean in-and-out job with no cops showing up, or alarms not being triggered, but it also just comes across as repetitive and lazy, especially given that the gameplay, at its core, is Payday, just with a brighter look to the world.

The audio is another area deserving of great praise. There was plenty of attention in everything from the gun fights to the random things characters would yell out during gameplay, but in saying that, many of the voice lines felt overused.

I’m not sure how many times I had to hear Madsen yelling out “F#$K this, that, and you.” I am a sucker for a good soundtrack and when I heard the Prodigy and Boomfunk MC, I was happy, blasting away and stealing stuff with great tunes that I still listen to often.

Rockay City has a massively bright appeal to it and looks incredible while exploring. The guns are fantastically detailed, as are many of the levels and locations you play in, but I would have liked more attention and variety in the other character models, as many of the gang members felt very cookie-cutter. I get they are in a gang and will either wear the same outfit for reputation reasons, but it wouldn’t have hurt to add some hair or tattoos to certain people. I honestly lost count of how many Dominic Toretto clones I gunned down while doing the Chicos gang events.

The multiplayer, thankfully, seems stable and secure. I played a few jobs with randoms and my only issue was down to the players and not how the game ran. If you are looking for a crew looter to play with friends, this has you covered with quick jobs that randomly pick mission types, from breaking into a small warehouse to bank jobs, you’ll be earning money to unlock more guns to keep your spree going. There is also a separate story mode for co-op that can be played solo, but it is designed for multiplayer, so it’s rather hard to go it alone.

A few missions in, I noticed enemies would tend to get stuck on or in objects, and I was taking shots from walls as an enemy had spawned stuck inside a building you could not enter. This also made it possible for some of them to spot you through walls, throwing the stealth option out the window. During the missions that have a boat to escape with, it often spawns submerged, and the first time seeing it, I thought it was going to be a twist that the boat had a leak and that I had to hold out for a backup escape plan.

There are also issues with some audio that doesn’t sync up with what is happening on the screen correctly. One of the worst examples I noticed was when all the dialog dropped during a pause, so it left me sitting in silence and watching the characters mime through a conversation they had already had. Once they were caught up though, it resolved itself and was mostly OK.

Crime Boss: Rockay City does a decent job of using the Payday core gameplay, but it adds an amazing storyline and is backed by great characters and voice actors. Plus, with online play, if you are playing with friends, it has the potential to provide hours of entertainment as you go on a crime spree, but the jobs need more variety. They all felt very short and repetitive.

So, would I recommend this to people? Yes. I would. If you and some friends are looking for a fun co-op game to play, Crime Boss: Rockay City offers that in droves. As a solo experience, the story will keep you wanting more, but the gameplay feels incredibly repetitive.

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The Good

  • Great lineup of celebrity voices
  • Main characters look great
  • Audio for soundtrack and gun firing are good
  • Online has great potential

The Bad

  • Can get repetitive
  • Levels are short reused way too often
  • Bugs where enemies can shoot and spot you through walls
  • Audio bug where it is not synced to what is happening on screen

Written by: Shane Walsh


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