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Crime Boss: Rockay City Review (PS5) – Starry Heist Game Has No Heat

Crime Boss: Rockay City Review (PS5) – A star-studded cast leads the way in this co-op crime shooter. Discover why Crime Boss: Rockay City is a bumbling crook in PlayStation Universe’s PS5 review.

Crime Boss: Rockay City Review (PS5) – Starry Heist Game Has No Heat

At times (a lot of times) Crime Boss: Rockay City feels like it could be some kind of elaborate scam. What is clear is that the majority of the budget was chucked at a bunch of names to prop up an incredibly sloppy co-op shooter.

Travis Baker (Micheal Madsen) is in Florida to corner the market on ‘candy’ (that’ll be drugs if you’re unable to breach the game’s slang) and is ably assisted by a starry crew that has Kim Basinger and Micheal Rooker among its number.

There’s also a collection of antagonists that features Danny Trejo and Chuck Norris. It’s like going to a convention to see The Expendables, but all the big ones pulled out.

Look, I get the appeal of shoving a bunch of cult names into a video game and using that as the selling point. Madsen’s been in that situation before, albeit more successfully than this. But this isn’t 1997.

You don’t have to curl out a game for some movie tie-in. You have the freedom to create a genuinely decent game to go with that star power.

I can only assume the developers of Crime Boss: Rockay City were too busy marking out over rendering a youthful Kim Basinger to remember there was a game that needed making.

So the game that is there is a basic co-op shooter where you play the objective, hold your ground, and escape. With a cast like this, that could be fun, right?

Well yes, it would be if the game in question didn’t feel like a collection of poorly-structured fan levels designed to cheat you out of any fleeting pleasure it may offer you.


To be fair to Crime Boss: Rockay City, it does have some good points. The haptic feedback from weapons is actually very well done.

The weapons are otherwise pathetic and there’s little opportunity to show any kind of power with them that doesn’t get wiped by terrible game design.

But it’s an actual surprise to discover Crime Boss: Rockay City has some of the best haptic feedback on PS5 in its gunfire. The competition isn’t exactly spectacular mind, but still, credit where credit is due.

The use of celebrities may be utterly cynical and dare I say not all that inspired, but you can totally get a kick out of seeing Basinger, Trejo, Rooker, Madsen, Norris, and…Vanilla Ice in a video game. There’s even some exquisitely hammy performances that get what they’re in.

I feel like I’m trying to sift gold flakes from a sewer pipe though. Crime Boss: Rockay City is just so, so terrible in so many ways, and its cynicism is unmatched. There’s a content plan for this game!

Actual promises of ‘content’ beyond the meager offering we already have. You almost have to admire such a bold and brazen step.

You see the promise of making broken games better all the time, and while it’s frustrating we even have to have that intermediate stage at all, it does show commitment to righting wrongs.

With Crime Boss: Rockay City, I don’t see the path beyond what this hollow shell of a game is. It’s actually a bit insulting that we’re led to believe there’s a future for this wrong sided effort.

A Dirt Poor Payday

I should justify my anger at this game and the way it plays beyond that point, and really, the point is that Crime Boss is a very very unpleasant gaming experience.

Baker can recruit goons to go out and do his dirty work for him in a variety of combat scenarios, and if they bite it, then the story goes on, but if Baker and his more famous friends get involved, the run ends and you need to start over. It’s basically like Payday, just a really sloppy mess of an approximation of it.

You’re encouraged to not be disheartened by failure because it’s a learning experience, and that’s fine if you’re playing as the fodder in levels, but there really is no proper structure to the game, and things move in a wishy-washy disinterested fashion.

It barely seems to care what happens and that ends up reflected onto the player. Crime Boss: Rockay City’s action is either dull or frustrating. The AI is mindless and over-stacked.

In theory you could see how overwhelming numbers should create an intensity as you try to carry out whatever crime is asked of you, but all it means is a nonstop barrage from suddenly spawned morons from all sides.

There’s a reliance on procedural generation in Crime Boss: Rockay City that misunderstands the benefits of that and just chucks it in as a fix. It’s a big reason why the levels feel so nothing to be in.

There’s next to no flavor to the small slices of Rockay City you do get to see. A litany of game-spoiling bugs only adds to the tedium.

Flat Tony

The writing is thuddingly dull and trite. It’s crime movie 101 with no flesh on the bone. While there are some hammy performances, most of this cast sounds like they’ve been subjected to the game itself.

Bored, listless, and in some cases, an almost literal ‘phoning it in’ performance.

Everything about Crime Boss: Rockay City is a waste. To take a cast and a game type like that and drain it against a wall just makes it look worse. You get the feeling this package could have been big dumb shallow fun in the right hands.

Instead, we have a confused mess of a game that feels like it’s crept out of free-to-play mobile phone fodder and tried to disguise itself as a game of substance.

Crime Boss: Rockay City is now available on PS5.

Review code generously provided by publisher.



The Final Word

If Crime Boss: Rockay City pulled off even one part of its package, it’d be passable. In reality, it doesn’t do a whole lot of anything right. So we’re left with a lot of wasted potential and a game that is about as pleasant and exciting of an experience as being stuck in a lift with Kevin Sorbo.