Crime Boss: Rockay City Review – A Disappointment

A star-studded cast might not be enough to save this game.

Crime Boss: Rockay City Review
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance


Crime Boss: Rockay City is a game with big ambitions, but it fails to deliver on most fronts.

  • Developers: INGAME STUDIOS
  • Publishers: 505 Games
  • Release Date: March 28, 2023
  • Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X & Series S, and PC


  • Iconic Actors
  • Interesting Blend of Genres


  • Corny Writing And Dialogue
  • Repetitive Gameplay Loop
  • Unsatisfying Gunplay 
  • Terrible Companion AI

This is our review of Crime Boss: Rockay City, the latest game from Ingame Studios, which is a first-person shooter with elements of classic Hollywood action movies and draws heavily from titles like Payday.

The title features a cast of well-known actors who bring the characters to life, but that alone may not be enough to convince you to spend a full $40 on this game. So without further ado, let’s start with the article, and take a look at what it has to offer.

Story And Setting

Crime Boss Rockay City review

The premise of the game is fairly simple and straightforward. Players step into the shoes of Travis Baker, an up-and-coming kingpin in the fictional city of Rockay City. And in order to get to the top of the power structure, he must contend with the city’s other criminal bosses as well as the tenacious Sheriff Norris. So we follow Travis as he develops his empire from the ground up to become the most powerful crime leader the city has ever known. 

This rags-to-riches story isn’t very memorable in the least, but the game does try to distinguish itself with a cast of 90’s superstars that play the majority of the NPCs. Among the cast members is Michael Madsen as Travis, Chuck Norris as Sheriff Norris, as well as other notable names like Danny Glover, Kim Basinger, and Danny Trejo, each of whom bring their respective characters to life with their iconic performances. 

But this dynamic does not work in the favor of the game, because the celebrity appearances simply take you out of the game as you play it. The writing is also exceedingly corny and mediocre, relying completely on the assumption that players would remain invested if they look at it through rose-tinted nostalgia goggles. It would have been preferable if all of the budget that went into hiring these actors had instead gone towards enhancing the story and writing of the game. 

Aside from that, the dialogue is frequently unpleasant and cringy and relies way too much on dated tropes in an effort to recreate the 90’s vibe. Furthermore, some of Travis’s supporters, such as Touchdown, become exceedingly tiresome after a while because their entire schtick relies on a single joke. As a result, the dialogue and script are in fact reminiscent of a ’90s action film, but in the worst way conceivable.

But apart from that, in his mission to take over Rockay City, Travis goes on various heists with his gang members and tries to gain control over enemy territory. These missions are incorporated in a nice way into the story of the game, and we will discuss them in detail in the next section of our Crime Boss Rockay City review.


Crime Boss Rockay City review

The gameplay is an intriguing spin on the Payday-style shooter formula that takes roguelike aspects and mixes in some elements of management sims. The majority of the heists we carry out follow the same general pattern of going out into the field and engaging in firefights. But most of the time, our primary goal is to steal a valuable object from enemy territory, transport it safely to our van, and flee. The gunplay is supposed to be an afterthought, but it’s also the main attraction.

We can choose between various gang members to go on a mission as or we could go as Travis himself. And this is where the roguelike elements come into play with the introduction of permanent death in a shooter game such as this. Because if any of your gang members die during a mission, they are gone for good, and you will have to recruit new members to make up the difference.

The same goes for Travis, and if you die as Travis the game is over and you will have to restart your progress from the beginning. Remember that the upgrades and equipment you grant to dead characters are not recoverable either. As a result, the game has considerably higher stakes than others of its kind, and each mission seems more exhilarating with much more at stake. But the missions themselves aren’t as smooth as one would expect.

Noticeably, the companion AI needs more polish to say the least. You cannot directly command any of the companions on your team, and they will do whatever they want for the most part. This is extremely annoying when you are trying to go for a stealth approach and the AI decides to go in guns blazing, ruining your entire strategy.

There were also cases during my playthrough when the companions just stood in place, not taking any actions. Even if you were near your van, they would not proceed to move out. The AI isn’t of much use when it comes to firefights either, as they seem to have horrendous aim when you are engaged in combat. All of these issues add up to make the gameplay loop a bit irritating.

Speaking of the gunplay, it feels extremely outdated and unresponsive. The weapons have no force behind them, your shots feel flimsy, and their impact is significantly less than what you would expect. Enemies do not respond appropriately to the shooting as well, with some foes not responding at all to being shot. This makes the combat less than ideal for a game that is a first-person shooter at its core.

The campaign also includes a few management simulation aspects, as the players are in charge of Travis gang as well as his wealth. This means they’ll have to determine which new members to let into the gang, and how much money to invest in upgrades and equipment for them. Attacking others’ turf and defending your own also takes money, so managing that properly is an important aspect of the game.

Once you finish the campaign, you get access to permanent upgrades that aid you in future runs. These upgrades are not lost after dying, and these make successive playthroughs much quicker. But the fact is that the game does get repetitive very fast, and there is not much replay value in it. We never would have started another run of Crime Boss: Rockay City, was it not for the fact that we had to prepare a review.

Aside from the single-player narrative, the game also includes two more modes: Crime Time and Urban Legends. Crime Time is the campaign mode stripped of any story beats and roguelike aspects. The map for this is much smaller, but the missions seem more or less the same. And in the Urban Legends mode, you progress through a number of smaller campaigns, each with its own set of missions.

It is obvious that these modes don’t have a whole lot going on for them, and they were most likely included to give players more things to do. Overall, the gameplay feels underdeveloped, and a little extra polish would have gone a long way to making this game more enjoyable.

Visuals And Performance

Crime Boss Rockay City review

When it comes to the visual department, Crime Boss Rockay City is a game that seems to blend in with other Unreal Engine titles. There is nothing about the visual presentation or art direction that makes it stand out from the rest.

Even at maximum settings, the graphics are nothing to rave home about, it’s actually so generic, that you have to struggle to think of it as anything other than a tech demo. With that being said, it does look serviceable and is perfectly adequate to look at. Throughout my playthrough of the game, I did not encounter any major game-breaking bugs, but there were a few visual glitches that popped up now and again.



Crime Boss: Rockay City is a game with big ambitions, but it fails to deliver on most fronts. It is obvious that the developers spent a pretty penny in order to hire some of these iconic actors and actresses, but I cannot really see the value in that. The title would have been considerably better if that money had instead been directed toward improving the gameplay and narrative instead. 

The core gameplay loop gets repetitive pretty quickly, and there isn’t much value in playing the game in its current state. 

If you are someone who loves the ’90s Hollywood aesthetic, and this particular setting appeals to you, then I suppose one could say that there is still a serviceable game here. But it’s not innovative, polished, or even all that fun to say the least.

This has been our Crime Boss: Rockay City Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

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Huzaifah Durrani

As an RPG fanatic, Huzaifah is probably Immersed in yet another playthrough of Fallout: New Vegas or Elden Ring. He will also help you complete game quests, and stay familiar with the latest game releases. You can also find his articles on Gearnuke & Twinfinite.

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