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Crime Boss: Rockay City Review for PlayStation 5

“Crime Boss: Rockay City” initially released on the Epic Games Store in March and has now made its way to consoles. Despite its initial poor reception, I approached the game with lowered expectations but remained hopeful I’d enjoy it due to its intriguing concept and star-studded cast. Developed by Czech Republic newcomers, Ingame Studios, this is their first venture into the gaming industry. With its foundation as a heist-based first-person shooter, the game showcases an ensemble of legendary actors primarily known for their roles in crime and action films from the 80s and 90s. When the announcement trailer was released out of nowhere, I was immediately interested and kept my eye on it. As a fan of the action and crime genres, particularly when these actors were in their prime, I thought it was kind of a neat idea that each cast member has been de-aged to relive those prime days in their films. So, is this title as disappointing as what everyone has been saying it is? Unfortunately, it kind of does.

Crime Boss: Rockay City Review for PlayStation 5

Starting with the tutorial, the game set the stage for a heist experience, emphasizing the need for stealth and swift action, where guards and civilians were to be subdued rather than shot, surprisingly, I managed to navigate the tutorial without firing a single shot. I was getting heavy “Payday” vibes. When the actual game began, it shifted gears entirely, transforming into an intense and chaotic shootout. It became evident early on that the enemy AI was very unpolished and rudimentary, as crouching in strategic locations seemed to significantly impede their accuracy. I can’t say if the PC version previously was even worse, but it still didn’t feel great here either.

“Crime Boss: Rockay City” suffers from an overabundance of cutscenes, which I wouldn’t have minded too much if they were pulled off well, taking a break from the overall action was probably a smart call because playing the actual game isn’t all that much fun either. It often feels like I’m stuck in a loop, encountering similar enemies at predictable intervals. While the game attempts to incorporate other elements of becoming a crime boss, such as managing turf wars and assembling a crew, the execution falls short only because none of it is all that engaging. One intriguing aspect is the permanent death of crew members you hire during missions, which is kind of rogue-like in a way and initially I thought was a neat idea. Sad to say though, this mechanic fails to reach its full potential and feels poorly implemented.

The game’s story draws inspiration from 80s action films, of course, attempting to capture their essence. In doing so it often dwells on aspects of that era that don’t age well in today’s climate. Not only that, the dialogue frequently falls flat, despite the iconic status of the cast and their association with the era and genre the game seeks to emulate, their voice acting skills are not up to par. These actors were great for what they knew how to do, but voice acting isn’t really most of their cup-of-tea. Everything about this project feels severely undercooked. “Crime Boss: Rockay City” harbors a promising concept, but its journey is marred by poor design choices. While Ingame Studios demonstrates potential, the game ultimately fails to fully capitalize on it. I’m sure while making this game that they have learned many hard and valuable lessons to ensure that hopefully their next project excels. The talent within the game remains untapped, awaiting an opportunity to shine brighter in the future. As much as I wanted to love this game, I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t meant to be. At least this isn’t the worst game to come out this year seeing as how Gollum currently carries that trophy.


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Related: Reviews by Nick Navarro

Gaming since I was given an original Nintendo as a kid. I love great storytelling and unique ingenuity. When both collide in a single game, I'm a happy gamer. Twitter/IG @NickNavarro87