Empire of Sin
Developer: Romero Games
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Website: : https://www.empireofsingame.com/
Genre: Strategy, Role Playing
Platform: M (Mature)
Age Rating: PC
Release Date: 1/12/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Welcome to 1920s Chicago
Empire of Sin was first introduced at E3 2019 as a 1920s Chicago based strategy role playing game. You can choose any of the 14 mob bosses and build your empire. Among the bosses are some real historical villains like Al Capone and a few unique characters created just for this game.
Throughout your career in crime, you will manage your speakeasies, brothels, casinos, and breweries among others. You have to keep your customers happy as well as keep your empire your own, through any means necessary. You can be diplomatic or you can be ruthless, whatever you choose, Chicago is yours to control!
Take Turns Taking Over Chicago
Aside from empire resource management and roleplaying conversations, combat is classic turn-based, tactics style gameplay. To aid you in your takeover of the Windy City, there are 55 available hired guns with a plethora of skills. There are doctors, enforcers, con artists, demolitionists and hired guns. Each individual gangster also has their own talent tree. As you progress and become more notorious, stronger and more dangerous gangsters become available!
Along your journey, you can upgrade your rackets and increase security, or even bribe the authorities. Throughout this entire game, you can truly make every playthrough unique to your play style whether it’s run and gun, diplomacy and partnerships or completely alienating yourself from all the other gangsters to be the number one crime boss in all of Chicago. The replay value of this game is pretty large as you can play as every boss at least once and completely change your style each time.
Empire of Sin is a very large game. If you are a fan of strategy tactics games, then this is the title for you. Think XCOM set in the 1920s with guns instead of lasers. The challenge is very unforgiving, especially if you fail to plan before taking on any kind of combat. If you go into battle with just your main mob boss, the chances of you surviving are very small. You have to think about every detail in your interactions both in combat and in conversation. There are multiple combat styles to master as well as a very detailed skill tree for every gangster and ally. It’s as if Final Fantasy Tactics took a trip to 1920s Chicago.
Each action costs an action point each turn. Even reloading or just moving. This can make things a little difficult to plan but you must think about everything when taking on combat. Be strategic on when you reload, where you place your gangster as well as when to use their special ability.
A Little Less Conversation
There will be a huge array of conversations with gangsters throughout your every playthrough. How you interact with different leaders will shape your empire. You can be diplomatic and make allies, then turn on them later, or you can just be everyone’s enemy and take over Chicago yourself. I opted for the diplomatic approach and tried to make as many allies as possible. There will be other times when your allies will ask you to turn on your other allies. This really keeps things interesting and less monotonous. I will say however, I wish the dialogue choices were a little more varied. Saying the same thing to every boss got old real quick.
Swing, Swing, Swing…
As a musician, the music in Empire of Sin is very satisfying. The soft jazz and soothing saxophones while you’re gunning down enemies is nothing short of euphoric! I could honestly listen to the soundtrack on repeat.
The voice acting is well done, although some of the writing is a little cliché, especially when having sitdown discussions with different bosses, as discussed earlier.
The action sounds and gunplay are quite loud, sometimes almost too loud. For example, if you play as Al Capone one of his special moves is a tommy gun spray that lasts the entire turn, which can be a while if there are a lot of enemies. So constant, incessant gunfire is quite a chore for your ears if you’re using headphones to play.
A Real Piece of Work….
The graphics are decent for a modern game, but nothing to rave about. Honestly, during sitdown sessions, the graphics are on par with the likes of L.A. Noire on the Xbox 360. I was not that impressed with that portion, however the world layout and the overhead of each racket do look great. It seems the developers put more time and effort into the overall world of 1920s Chicago than anything.
When you scroll all the way out in the map to see all the locations, it is quite pleasing to the eye, but it can be a little confusing when it turns on itself as you scroll all the way out. I found myself having to scroll back to my location afterwards just to find out where I was, only to miss a sitdown session with a mob boss and ended up becoming accidental enemies….that was not pleasant.
Famous Last Words
Empire of Sin has real potential to be something special, however some of the drawbacks are a bit much. I am not proficient at strategy tactics style games so I found the challenge a bit much and unforgiving. Remember to save often, it doesn’t always auto save. I found myself having to redo sitdown sessions multiple times because I attempted a combat scenario, got destroyed and had to start over, only to realize I hadn’t saved and had to redo all my diplomacy. I guess I just have to get good at games.
The opportunities for replay value are enormous. I promise you won’t play this game the same way twice with the multitude of mob bosses and gangsters to work with. If this game is supported well, I believe it will improve on its drawbacks with time. The developers have already dropped a day one patch and continue to work on making this experience a game that’s worth your time.
If you’re into 1920s era American history, crime bosses and a good challenge in the realm of tactics and strategy then this is the game for you! Otherwise, avoid this title or Al Capone will make you sleep with the fishes!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.