Thanks to Romero Games and Paradox Interactive for providing a code for Empire of Sin
We’ve always been fascinated by the world of organized crime. The idea of this underground culture of scumbags begs the question about what it takes to survive in a world like this. And the kind of person it takes to control it all.
Empire of Sin is a strategy game by Romero Games which puts you in the shoes of the person in charge. By taking on the role of a mob boss, you’re tasked with controlling every aspect of your empire in prohibition-era Chicago. There is a lot to keep track of in this game, but the feeling of outsmarting the other bosses and staking your claim on territories make it a very satisfying experience.
The gameplay itself can be split into two sections.
First is the turn-based style combat. Anyone who’s familiar with Xcom will be very familiar with the combat. Empire of Sin doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the combat and doesn’t seem to innovate much on the gameplay. However, that’s not a bad thing, Xcom is a very fun game. And the style of the game gives it a unique feeling from Xcom.
The main problem I found with the combat was how a lot of the areas tend to repeat. One fight may take place in a brewery with the exact same layout as the speakeasy you just fought in. A bit more variety would be nice, but it doesn’t take away from the experience of the combat.
Controlling your Empire
Outside the combat, there’s the strategy open world where you make important decisions and control your empire. This section is where the majority of the game takes place. You’ll need to examine the world, what gang owns what area, and make important decisions to eliminate your enemies or gain allies.
There’s a lot to keep track of. You need to upgrade and protect your rackets while obtaining new rackets and taking over new areas. On top of that, you need to be working to take out the other bosses by making deals to get allies and going to war with your enemies. In addition, you need to be taking care of your other gangsters and completing missions to get more money.
It’s easy to see how someone might feel overwhelmed when dealing with everything going on in this game. Especially with the amount of stats you need to look at. However, if you’re already accustomed to other RPGs, Empire of Sin is very manageable.
A Colourful Cast of Scumbags
The game features 13 different playable bosses, all with their unique playstyles. Each boss features their own combat abilities, stats, backstories, and storylines. So playing as one boss will give you a different experience to the last.
For my first playthrough, I played as Al Capone, who plays a more aggressive style. When talking to other bosses, he’s very dominant and tries to cause chaos. In comparison, my next playthrough was with Daniel Mackee Jackson, a much more diplomatic character. It was definitely a different experience as Jackson acts much more polite and manages to gain the respect of the other bosses.
Even the gangsters you hire have their own backstories and relationships. I once accidentally left one of my gangsters in a brothel for too long, and she managed to contract an STD, which she then transferred to her boyfriend. Decisions that affect one gangster will often affect others that they have a relationship with.
Of course, no matter what character you play as, every other boss is still in the game and making the same moves you do. The AI-controlled bosses are able to take rackets, organise deals and go to war just the same as you, which makes it feel like an even playing field for all parties. It really gives it a board game feeling, where you’re making deals and alliances, just to stab each other in the back. I’d be very curious to see a multiplayer version of the game.
Empire of Sin is a very satisfying game that requires a pretty high IQ. There’s a lot to keep track of and manage, but that just adds to the world and makes it feel alive. Each run will take about 7-12 hours, but you’ll need to do multiple speedruns to really experience everything the game has to offer.
If your a fan of games like Xcom, or you just really like the prohibition era style, Empire of Sin is worth a few playthroughs.
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