Review: Make Your Name in 1920s Chicago with City of Gangsters
In case you missed it, check out our interview with the developers of City of Gangsters SomaSim
Chicago in the 1920s has a sort of mythical quality and has been the inspiration for books and movies for decades, but most attempts to bring this era into video games have had mixed results. The most recent attempt, Empire of Sin (you can read our review here) made a stylized attempt in the prohibition era of the 1920s in Chicago, but while Empire of Sin leaning towards role-playing and combat, The city of gangsters takes a more simulation-based approach to managing a criminal empire.
The city of gangsters is a management game from the developer SomaSim, known for their skyscraper management game Project building. In The city of gangsters You play as a budding mafia boss with the goal of growing your business – or just surviving – on the wicked streets of the 1920s Prohibition Age of Chicago, Detroit or Pittsburgh. You start small by selling homemade hammocks with the goal of creating a network of business partners who are ready to buy your products. You will end up building your own distilleries and underground bars. Of course, you will need to conceal your illegal activities from the prying eyes of law enforcement by executing them behind established fronts. For the particularly smart (or lucky) people, you can set up your behind-the-scenes operations on fronts complementary to those operations, so that you can legitimately produce the raw materials that go into making your illegal goods. But in The city of gangsters it’s not just about what your businesses produce, it’s also about who you know.
Since it’s the 1920s, and especially as a newcomer, you’ll have to move around the neighborhoods to publicize your operation, and even do a few favors here and there to gain the trust and favor of the locals – of course, you can still threaten and extort, but that can lead to more problems down the line. You see, every person you interact with has relationships with other people. These relationships can be friendly or family. If you hurt a family member, others might not want to help you. It is best if people owe you favors, which are reflected as a kind of currency that can be spent on information, to establish a partnership, etc. , or they might covet what’s yours and try to take it.
While exploration is essential to building a network in The city of gangsters, it is heavily based on RNG. Every time you start a new game, your chosen city will be generated again. The neighborhoods and topographical landmarks remain, but the location of shops is changing, and so are the inhabitants. You can use favors to get information about the city without actually going there physically, but to trade or make contacts you will have to send a henchman, or go take care of it yourself.
The exploration and control of the territory rests on street corners, a system both cunning and maddening. This is a great way to immerse the player in the city by having them move around and be physically in these locations, but which street corner corresponds to which business is not always clear unless you zoom out the map. to the perfect amount. If you zoom in too far, it’s not clear which corner you need to go to, and if you zoom out too far, the icons for what’s in each corner disappear completely. It’s a small complaint, but one that followed me throughout my game.
Gameplay in The city of gangsters is turn-based. Each turn, you and your henchmen get a certain amount of movement and action points. I quickly realized that every decision has ramifications, because even though I have no luck establishing my relationship with house beer, a rival gang may have already taken control of a huge territory just below. my nose. If there are rival gangs between you and your businesses, one wrong move and you or your henchmen can die – and if they die with money or proceeds, you can consider it stolen. If your starting character dies, your race is over.
The city of gangsters has a tutorial that does a good job of showing you the ropes and introducing each of its mechanics while giving you tips on how to be successful. Unfortunately, that doesn’t really give you all the knowledge you need to survive – it’s something I had to gain through a few failed starts. The city of gangsters can be quite ruthless, and without any difficulty level you really have to watch your moves and choices, lest you find yourself dead in enemy territory, or worse: breaking out of your own block. Territory wars can arise quickly and sometimes unexpectedly, and can end a race in an instant without proper care and preparation. It’s hard to start on the unforgiving streets of Chicago (or the other two starting cities, Detroit and Pittsburgh). Eventually, if you survive long enough to have new faces, you can really start moving elsewhere.
It is essential to have information about your company and your crew. As I say quite often, management games live and die through their user interface. The city of gangsters does quite well in this regard. There’s a wealth of information in the game to make informed decisions, and plenty of overlays to let you know what’s being sold, where your rivals are, and if the cops start to be suspicious of your activities, stuff like that. .
As a publication with a particular interest in the city we are based in, I spent most of my time in the game with the Chicago map. I absolutely love The city of gangsters artistic style and attention to detail in 1920s architecture and geography. The city of gangsters has an artistic style which can be considered minimal, the scale and the small details are remarkable. Corn The city of gangsters definitely focuses on the macro. While a game like Empire of Sin tries to be flashy with high production values, The city of gangsters handles the feeling of performing a large-scale operation with much less flash. This might be seen as a warning for those looking for full voiceovers and elaborate cutscenes, but The city of gangsters handles an almost old school sim feeling, almost like it’s one of the old Maxis Sim Games. If you told me it was a spiritual successor to (the nonexistent) SimGangster I would believe you.
The city of gangsters is a refreshing take on how to deal with the ban from the 1920s era. You’re essentially thrown into a gangster sandbox and given the tools to make a name for yourself, hire a team, bribe cops, shake up businesses and take down your rivals until you are the biggest and baddest in town. While there is plenty of content to keep you busy for dozens of hours, I’d love to see the addition of challenge modes or scenarios, as well as more cities – something you can try if you get there. deluxe edition of The city of gangsters which includes the Bourbon smuggling DLC — something I didn’t have access to for this review, and can’t wait to give it a try.
The city of gangsters is available August 9e on Steam.
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Categories: Game, Games & Tech, Review