Crime Boss: Rockay City Xbox Series X Review

Crime Boss: Rockay City has a spectacular display of cast that we might have witnessed in the history of video games.

By Rayan, Posted 20 Jun 2023

2023 thus far has been a fantastic year for video games with titles that will make GOTY selection harder for critics and gamers in general. When some new entries and remakes of old titles have already stolen the highlights, plenty more highly anticipated titles are yet to come over the next few months. But despite being among the highly anticipated games of this year, Crime Boss: Rockay City didn't get the attention it deserved when it made its first appearance on Epic Games on March 28. Developed by INGAME Studios and published by 505 Games, this is probably one of the most extraordinary video games we have experienced.

No, not because of its gameplay but its spectacular display of cast that we might have witnessed in the history of video games, or perhaps we will in any time soon. With names like Michael Madsen, Kim Basinger, Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Vanilla Ice, Michael Rooker, Damion Poitier, and Chuck Norris, the cast is truly impressive, especially compared to any other recent video game, at least to my knowledge, so far. Crime Boss: Rockay City, a roguelike at its core, tries to combine various genres that make us feel like we've stepped into different genres in a single game. And perhaps that's where the developers misjudged their decision, trying to do too much in a single game.

Crime Boss: Rockay City, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Hollywood Casts

The story follows Travis Baker (Michael Madsen) as he plots to become the new King of the criminal underground in Rockay City, a Miami-like city from the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the previous King has suddenly died, leaving an apparent power vacuum. To compensate for this deficiency, Baker recruits a team of loyal allies, Kim Basinger and Michael Rooker, to aid him in his Herculean mission of inundating Rockay City with narcotics, guns, and grand theft. The plot follows the standard formula for a gangster film. You take on the role of a crime lord from humble beginnings who must rise through the ranks to the very top of the criminal underworld. You will meet a variety of conventional characters throughout their journey, including a violently obsessed thug, a clever consigliere, fierce rivals, and the city's lone honest cop. Although the plot isn't particularly original, it has everything you would want in the world of crime.

If Crime Boss: Rockay City confidently is only considered as a roguelike, it provides a satisfying take on a genre. You are given control of Travis Baker at the beginning of the story, who already has some competition in the industry. At the beginning of the game, you will be tasked with completing a series of relatively straightforward assignments, which will need you to eliminate a small number of rivals and obtain various illegal goods or valuable resources. Following this, you will eventually move on to a number of multiple heists, as your main objectives of the game are to acquire drugs, money, and members for your army through recruiting. And when you go into any of the game's objectives, you can play as Baker or any of your other recruits. There's a five-star heat system in place during the battle that rises steadily the longer you stay in it. So each time you enter a mission, the difficulty gradually increases, and you encounter a wave of police and elite forces depending on the star's heat.

Later in the game, you will be tasked with tasks such as Turf Wars, in which you will compete with rivals to control different areas of the town. Your ultimate objective is to take complete control of the city. This is a roguelike-style game. If you were to die, the game would end, and you would have to begin from the beginning. Despite this, it only occurs when you die while playing as Travis Baker, not as one of your recruits. However, if they pass away, it is a death that cannot be undone, and if you had promoted that character, you would lose all of the progression earned with him. You always have the option to hire fresh recruits, but the cost of hiring quality recruits is typically rather high.

Crime Boss: Rockay City, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Hollywood Casts

Even if you are skilled at first-person shooting, Crime Boss: Rockay City is not a simple game to complete because the complexity of the assignment steadily increases as you progress through it. Therefore, your crew members play an essential part in each operation. Because they are not automatically conferred to you as the game's story advances, how you put them to use is of the utmost importance. Since new team members are pricey and it is your objective to make a profit while playing the game, you can't afford to keep employing new people only to have them die in different missions.

On the other hand, they grant you a variety of perks, such as an increase in health or damage or even additional rookie crew members. Every time you gain a level, you will also receive certain permanent benefits; these benefits will remain with you even if you start a new game. This implies that you begin the game with additional bonuses after dying as Travis Baker, although you lose your previous crew members in the process. These perks, however, grant the boosts that make the subsequent run less difficult.

The game remains enjoyable, thanks to the camping, even if the gunplay isn't particularly impressive. The game also includes a Quick Play and a Co-op mode, which may not add anything to the overall experience. Because the basis of the game is a roguelike, you need to be careful because you can't just use your crew members an infinite number of times each day, and you can't hire too many because the money you get from each task is restricted. And the same holds true for your army since you will receive crew members and an army.

Crime Boss: Rockay City, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Hollywood Casts

The crew members are responsible for carrying out your missions, including going to another gang and robbing them of drugs, money, etc. In contrast, the army carries out turf takeovers, which involve claiming more territory or defending existing territories. Therefore, strategy is necessary due to the restricted use of both your army and the crew members. You cannot simply enter any and all missions that you desire with all of your crew members and then keep doing this over and over again until the map is clear. The game is played over a day, and throughout each day, you will be tasked with achieving various goals, such as making enough money to keep the company operating and expanding your turfs, and difficulties, such as defending them.

After completing each task, your crew members will go into resting mode. Therefore, you can't participate in excessive missions without adding to their total number unless you already have enough. And in addition to that, to have an army, you need to have at least ten crew members. Therefore, their values determine how much you can accomplish in a single day. Only Travis Baker can do two missions in a single day, but as soon as you have a minimum of six recruits, you can plan to finish more than three missions in a single day. You can take Travis and the two recruits with you on two money-heavy missions, which are typically more difficult, and then take the remaining two on a theft mission, which is more straightforward.

When I started with three crew members available, I could use Travis once, then use Travis and the crew members in a mission, and then do a second mission on the same day while taking two crew members with me this time. Then, when it comes to the army, I've begun dividing it into different groups. There is land that has not yet been claimed, and you are free to take it for yourself. In contrast, when fighting rival gangs for control of their turf, it is preferable to divide the crews responsible for low-risk activities among themselves. However, it is very close to being risky, though winning two turf wars in a single day is possible.

Crime Boss: Rockay City, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Hollywood Casts

You must exercise extreme caution when engaging in territorial conflicts with your army. Because there are several tiers to the soldiers you obtain, tier 1 soldiers may only have knives or pistols, depending on the situation. Therefore, it is not ideal when rivals shoot at you when you just have a knife to defend yourself in a gunfight. Even if you can easily sacrifice a soldier from your army by charging at your rival and getting yourself killed, the game will still transfer you over to a different member of your army who is armed with a handgun. You can get the work done this way, but unless you have higher-tire soldiers, someone will have to die in turf conflicts.

The objective of this game is for you to gain control of all of the territories on the map. Although it is simpler to lay claim to unoccupied territory, it may prove more fruitful for you to attack an area already occupied by another gang. Additionally, your turf will come under attack from competing gangs, and defending your turf will cost you money. Therefore, it is not enough to acquire territory as quickly as you can get your hands on it; you must also be strategic regarding how much territory you possess and how much territory your competitors hold.

There will be times when your crew members do not perform up to your standards. Therefore, it is best to rotate people in and out so that they can all gather experience for potential promotions. Because the game's stealth system isn't its greatest point, it looks that the easiest approach to complete tasks like robberies will be to eliminate the guards standing in your way, as this will allow you to complete the job more quickly. However, killing guards will make the authorities more aware of your presence, making things much more difficult unless you have reliable members of your crew to back you up. It would be ideal to dodge the guards and turn off all the cameras.

Crime Boss: Rockay City, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Hollywood Casts

However, doing so is typically difficult given that there is no mini-map that reveals the guards' current whereabouts or the areas covered by the cameras. The camera can be turned off if you can access the security room and use the monitoring system there. If this is the case, it is somewhat simpler if the theft must be completed within a specified time to receive a bonus. To turn off a single camera, all you have to do is walk up to it, hit it, and it will stop recording; however, this increases the likelihood that someone will notice you or that camera.

Crime Boss: Rockay City includes a nice feature that allows the player to sell stolen items on the black market. These items include drugs, valuable metals, luxury, gems, and electronics. Because it is a black market, the prices constantly shift from one transaction to the next. Therefore, you need to closely check it so that you don't miss out on the opportunity when the costs are high. Even though you may occasionally be forced to sell the stolen things at a loss when you really need fast money, it is always wise to hold onto them while the price increases if they increase in value. Because the expense of some crew members is more than one hundred thousand dollars each, they typically have a high level of ability and come armed with guns. Also, if you often sell things on the underground market at a loss, it will take you several days before you can afford to have one of them on your squad.

Visually, Crime Boss Rockay City seems to mix in with other games made with the Unreal Engine. The art direction and visual style don't set it out from the competition but aren't unremarkable even at the highest settings. Though the character designs are nicely done, the environments lack variety since you feel like going to the same building on a different mission and doing the same task. This wouldn't have looked so repetitive if the visuals were different for each mission.


Though the music and sound design are nicely done, swear words are excessively high, which might turn some players off. Of course, it's a game based on the crime world, and we can expect there to be swear words. But some sort of filters would make it easier. I mean, they are being used during the cutscenes, which is understandable, but while playing the game, Travis Baker is constantly swearing, which made things a bit awkward for me personally don't like using swear words.

In the end, despite its drawbacks, Crime Boss: Rockay City is still an enjoyable game to play. It could certainly be frustrating if you've progressed much far in the game and died at that point without having to get your crew members or army back, but this is exactly what players want from roguelike games. The game is not flawless by any stretch of the imagination; in point of fact, the mechanisms for shooting and stealth aren't really that remarkable, but they can be enhanced with a few regular upgrades since the overall concept is fun. Given that the game is different from the standard first-person shooters we typically engage in, it is undeniably worthwhile to give it a go.

Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX
Publisher(s): 505 Games
Developer(s): INGAME Studios
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Crime, '90s Florida, Heist Game
Release Date: 2023-03-28

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