HomeReviewsCrime Boss: Rockay City Review

Crime Boss: Rockay City Review

Crime Boss: Rockay City

Developer: Ingame Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X
Release Date: Available Now (PC), 2023 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X)
Price: $39.99 USD – Available Here


When it comes to drawing attention to a new property, few things work quite as well as using a familiar face that fans love, especially those that grew up in the late ’80s and ’90s, as part of the game’s debut. Now, what happens when you take not just one familiar face but an entire star-studded cast of some of the most popular B movie actors of the age and build a game around them? Well, you get Crime Boss: Rockay City which looks to capitalize on its ‘90s crime filled setting and skilled cast of well-known actors and actresses to offer a fresh take on building a criminal empire only to stumble heavily for a number of reasons.


The fictional Rockay City in Florida has been a hot-bed of crime making it a perfect place for someone looking to make their mark in the crime world to stake their claim and Travis Baker is ready to do just that. When the “King” of the criminal underground is suddenly removed from the picture, it creates a massive power vacuum just waiting for the right person to step up, even if it means taking on four other powerful gangs and dealing with an ever increasing police presence to do it. 

Most of what Crime Boss: Rockay City has to offer in the way of storytelling comes from its primary gameplay mode, Baker’s Battle, that plays out in a sort-of roguelike manner. As players advance through the days they will encounter various events, first introducing many of the famous actors that appear throughout the game as well before focusing more on showcasing the criminal elements and rise to crime. Being a roguelike, players are expected to die and restart the story a bit better off each time while also experiencing different events and, for the most part, Crime Boss: Rockay City handles this well-enough after the initial introductions as players never quite know just quite how their rivals may act while playing through the campaign each time though there is a lot of recycling done throughout multiple events.

The biggest highlights of the missions and events players can undertake are the various side-stories that feature original characters that actually have mostly complete stories to experience that see players take on new types of missions ranging from a mercenary on the hunt for a certain briefcase, a soldier fighting battles in the Vietnam war, and more. These side-stories are time-limited and often have some solid semblance of storytelling on their own but unfortunately the actual story development of Baker’s crew and the writing itself is a massive letdown even when paired up with the way each playthrough unfolds. This is primarily thanks to the fact that the title squanders the star power it has as, outside of Michael Madsen’s handling of Baker, Michael Rooker as Touchdown, and perhaps Danny Glover as the aptly named Gloves nearly all of the other characters barely play a role in the game. Even Damion Poitier and Kim Basinger, who work as Baker’s close aides in his criminal schemes, are handled poorly with stiff cutscene interactions. Other crime bosses barely feel like they play a role other than having a celebrity face, with a few notable characters literally having no dialogue. Combine the squandered celebrities with a mostly generic rise to power filled with recycled scenes and awkwardly stilted cutscenes and players will find themselves struggling to find reasons to go through Baker’s Battle once they’ve succeeded. 


Crime Boss: Rockay City offers a handful of gameplay modes though players will likely be spending the majority of their time playing through the story mode that is the previously mentioned Baker’s Battle. This is because the other two modes available in the game, Crime Time and Urban Legends are incredibly generic and simply place players in the same type of missions that they experience in the campaign mode. Crime Time allows players to team up with three other players online to complete heists or other operations while Urban Legends also allow players to play online with a team of other players or even bots in a small set of missions, also taken from the campaign, with a thin veneer of a story stringing them together.

Successfully becoming the new King of Rockay City’s criminal underground involves taking over all of the territory on the map and doing so will require a lot of cash and firepower. Players will obtain money daily from the various territories they own as well as from small-scale robberies such as robbing small stores, other gangs’ warehouses, and even lifting things from a police investigation but the biggest scores come from large scale targets. These missions involve breaking into a bank, smashing into an armored car, and many other lucrative opportunities. Regardless of the size of the heist, players can bring up to four team members with them on a mission though each member of the crew, outside of the boss himself, can only go on one mission a day and if they happen to die, they will be gone forever and if Baker himself dies then the entire run is finished.

All robberies play out in a mostly similar fashion as the crew arrives on the scene and must try their best to obtain their loot without raising too much of an alarm. Players will have three levels of suspicion before police are called with actions such as being seen on camera, caught picking a lock, and other acts raising it by one level a piece. Of course, shooting anyone will immediately trigger a fight but unfortunately stealth is often a complete non-starter in the game. Whether it is a stealth kill that fails to trigger properly, cameras that can see players through obstacles, an often ineffective “intimidate” command, or even the occasional instant fail due to a random event, players will almost always find themselves in a shootout with the police one way or another.

Ally AI is thankfully rather intelligent as they will properly shoot at police and rival gangsters though they will often opt to leave loot behind rather than grab bags though this can be remedied by simply tossing bags at them and grabbing more yourself. As for the enemy AI, things are a bit of a mixed bag. Police come in waves of ever increasing power and can often feel like they are simply funneling into a kill zone without any challenge while, at other times and on lower threat levels, players will find themselves dropped with pinpoint accuracy from a distance away. As for the gunplay, players will find a wide-array of weapons available to them and each weapon, with the exception of a few pistols and one of the assault rifles, feel incredibly stiff and unresponsive when used in combat. Rapid fire guns are the worst in this regard with SMGs and LMGs feeling completely lackluster when fired though melee is also completely ineffective when not done as a stealth attack… when it properly registers.

Outside of the heists players will find themselves needing to take over and defend territories from rival gangs. Some locations can be completely empty and can be taken over at the cost of a few soldiers to defend the area though most will see players needing to lead a team to assault a location. Playing as Touchdown, they will take part in a Team Deathmatch style of gameplay where they must eliminate a certain number of enemies before taking down their Lieutenant to take over a location while defending simply sees players having to eliminate all attacking enemies. This deathmatch gameplay is simplistic at best and glitchy at worst as there were a couple of battles that saw enemies spawn directly in front of the character, riddling them with bullets instantly at the cost of a life. Along these same lines, ally AI can be rather iffy in territory battles with players often needing to do the lion’s share of the work even when bringing a surplus of soldiers with them.

Unfortunately, outside of the special missions that see players taking on the role of an original character in a side-story, that is all the gameplay boils down to, two separate modes that will be repeated ad nauseum throughout the game with only a little variation depending on the level. Players will never find themselves interacting with other crime bosses nor will they even interact with Chuck Norris as the detective outside of him appearing when the player either dies or is captured by the police at the end of a run. This lack of actual content from the celebrity cast is a shock considering the star power Crime Boss: Rockay City has at its fingertips or even mission variety is a massive disappointment that quickly begins to drag.

Being a roguelike, players will level up their Crime Boss as they make their way through the campaign. Every level players can choose from one of three perks that will carry over permanently, ranging from increased health and damage for Travis, earning more money from loot, having better starting gear or extra territories, and more. These little bonuses are a nice way to make sure every subsequent run is a little easier but, as mentioned before, the lack of standard mission variety is the biggest damper to rerunning through the game.

Visuals & Audio

With Crime Boss: Rockay City bringing so much star power to the table it only makes sense that the development team put as much effort as possible into creating authetic looking facial scans of the cast. The characters in the game look absolutely fantastic with cutscenes looking realistic as characters talk with one another. The city is also well-detailed with plenty of neon lights and fancy looking explosions though there is a lack of map variety that will quickly become apparent. Even the designs of the guns are nicely handled with some of the more powerful weapons having unique looking paint jobs or etchings to make them stand out from standard firearms.

Unfortunately for as impressive as the cutscenes and the characters in them look, the way they sound is often quite terrible. Despite having talented actors as part of their cast, most of the voice work must have been recorded in separate sessions and, especially in Chuck Norris’ case, awful sound booths. Madsen, Glover, and Rooker sound perfectly fine and fit their characters quite nicely even if they are playing their signature roles turned up to the max but the rest of the cast, if they talk at all, sound quite terrible with stilted conversations. Thankfully the soundtrack features a great collection of background music that fits perfectly with the ‘90s setting and criminal themes.


When Crime Boss: Rockay City was first shown off it highlighted its celebrity cast and ability to rise through the crime world in fantastic fashion and at its core it has that type of potential but it has fallen short in almost every regard here outside of some stellar looking facial captures. Perhaps due to a lack of time or money the game lacks polish in nearly every regard with repetitive gameplay, lackluster storytelling, and a near complete squandering of its celebrity cast. Crime Boss: Rockay City has potential in its bones to be something far better than it is now but unfortunately this crime boss is better left sleeping with the fishes.

Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.


Crime Boss: Rockay City has some potential but lack of polish across the board combined with repetitive gameplay does more harm than its poorly included celebrity cast could ever help.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Crime Boss: Rockay City <i>has some potential but lack of polish across the board combined with repetitive gameplay does more harm than its poorly included celebrity cast could ever help.Crime Boss: Rockay City Review