Overall - 75%
While City of Gangsters is a solid mafia management sim, the combat holds it back from greatness. Be sure to check out a trailer or two to see what's in store first.
After being revealed at gamescom last year, the world of SomaSim and Kasedo Games’ City of Gangsters is finally here. Is it worth checking out, or should you skip this one? Check out our review and find out.
City of Gangsters Review
City of Gangsters is a gang management game. The objective is simple: take over the criminal underworld of whatever city you are playing in. At the time of writing, you can take over Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. In addition, prohibition has just hit, giving you and other like-minded gangsters a prime opportunity to make some cash selling illegal booze. So while the beginning isn’t that challenging, it quickly ramps up as you spread your territory.
When you start City of Gangsters, you need to choose your boss. The boss will be the person who leads your crew and handles most of the heavy lifting at the start. However, the most important part of making your boss is their perk. There are different perks that you can only choose one of at the start for your character. For example, you can select things like more cash for your protection rackets, less heat from cops, better melee fighting skills, or easier allies from other gang outfits. Some benefit from the earlier game, while others are weaker but last the whole game. Personally, I think the early game is the most critical part.
Once you make your boss, you load in and are given additional random perks. You can then look at the perks and decide if you want to start all over or not. For example, my two further save files had a more business-centered approach than a big meathead boss. My bruiser boss cleaned up the early game, but because I killed a lot of people, I had a lot of heat. The heat and cop issues because a burden later in the game. My more business-oriented boss struggled from the occasional beating early and slower territory expansion. My cop troubles were almost non-existent, though, and I was able to take over a fair chunk of Detroit without a ton of violence.
The core of the game revolves around cash, just like real life. You need money to pay your crew, buy upgrades, fix your cars and trucks, take over new territory, and buy supplies. When you first start off, you are selling homemade beer, cheap wine, and moonshine. Then, as you take over more turf and do more favors, you unlock the premium stuff and can start bringing in real money. Of course, you have to find someone to sell the alcohol to since it is illegal and all. Selling booze can be one of the game’s biggest determinants. Sometimes you need to travel way too far to sell your stuff, and you end up wasting turns.
The solution to this is to set up a delivery schedule for one of your crew members. Basically, you can select what you want your crew members to do on their turns. So I had my driver selling wine, picking up barrels and dropping them back off at the base, then going across town to sell the beer. When I talked about a good start, this is part of it. If you load in and the nearest person who can buy your stuff is two turns away, you are already in the negative. You need reliable buyers of your goods to be near your base of operations, or the whole thing goes down quickly. It doesn’t matter in the midgame as much, since you will be producing multiple types of wine and spirits at that point.
To buy new buildings and get new alcohol productions going, you will have to expand your empire. First, you pay a business that likes you to act as a front for you and your illegal activities. From there, you can also convince the neighbors to pay you protection money. Of course, they won’t like this, and the cops will take notice, but the income is reliable and steady. The expansion rate can be a bit slow, but I guess they don’t want you consuming massive amounts of turf fast. Once you are running multiple fronts and have a good amount of turf, the other outfits will start to take notice.
You will probably get some fish wrapped in newspaper on a stoop, letting you know someone is targeting you. Now is the time for the game’s secondary prime currency favors. You can go to war, but that gets messy and the police get involved. So instead, why not use the favors your been stacking up on your allies to convince the police you aren’t such a bad guy. Maybe you persuade the cops to check out the other gang and perhaps even raid a specific building. Crippling them will get them to back off for a time at least, letting you build up and surpass them. Of course, they might attack later, but you can erase them with ease at that point.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the game is the combat. You equip bats, guns, knives, and whatever else as you go to fight. There are no animations or anything; just pictures showing if you hurt or killed the enemy. It does make combat fast, but I also didn’t feel like doing it because it was boring. Plus, all the police heat didn’t help the situation. If you kill another gang member, the authorities will be on high alert and might bag you for just being in the area. You might get locked up, but you always lose whatever you have on if you get arrested.
While City of Gangsters is a solid mafia management sim, the combat holds it back from greatness. Be sure to check out a trailer or two to see what’s in store first.
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