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Crime Boss: Rockay City Isn't The GTA Clone Gamers Expected

When it was first announced, a lot of gamers expected "Crime Boss: Rockay City" to be more of an open world action RPG, something in the same vein as "Grand Theft Auto" or "Saints Row" –  but it turns out that isn't the case. 

The first cinematic trailer that Ingame Studios released back in December 2022 showcased a litany of big-name celebrities including Michael Madsen, Kim Basinger, Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Michael Rooker, Vanilla Ice and even Chuck Norris. This all-star cast, coupled with the panoramic shots of a neon lit coastal city and Tarantino-esque dialogue, seemed to give fans the impression that it was going to be the kind of mission-based open world gaming experience that Rockstar Games usually specialized in. Many fans compared it to "GTA Vice City" in particular, mainly due to its Miami-like setting. Some were critical in their comparisons, but some were still eager to explore this celebrity-filled, 90s-themed Floridian environment.

But that illusion is broken for some gamers, now that the game has launched. Players are quickly learning that "Crime Boss: Rockay City" is very little like "Grand Theft Auto." In fact, many are finding that it has a lot more in common with the multiplayer franchise "Payday" — and not everybody is pleased by this.

What kind of game IS Crime Boss: Rockay City?

Gamers who purchase "Crime Boss" will not find a story-focused RPG that allows them to explore a major city and interact with its people. Instead, this game can be more accurately described as an action rogue-lite with limited multiplayer elements. 

There are several different gameplay elements for players to partake in. They'll hire a crew to perform heists and sell illicitly obtained goods, and then engage in turf wars with rival crime bosses in order to expand their territory. Some missions involve quietly infiltrating secure areas in order to perform these heists, while other areas will give players little or no choice when it comes to violence. To the game's credit, the shooting is one area where the game is truly successful. Fans might have mixed feelings about the game's rogue-like elements, however, as hired crewmembers are subject to permadeath and the main character's death ends an entire run.

Stealth is also an option for cautious players who wish to try and find non-violent solutions to certain obstacles, though some critics have noted that this does not seem to be the way Ingame Studios intended the game to be played. Sneaking past groups of enemies can cause a number of bugs, occasionally spawning new enemies spawning out of nowhere when the player reaches their objective. This has led some reviewers to believe that these engagements were always supposed to turn into shootouts, and were never intended to be stealth missions.

Fans seem disappointed that Crime Boss isn't more like GTA

Fans who'd been looking forward to "Crime Boss" seemed disappointed when they learned it wasn't an open world RPG. Some quipped that it was more of a "Payday" clone, just with older actors and personalities put into the game to drum up interest. with some even expressing that they were excited to play a "GTA" clone.

Critics have likewise struggled to find much to like about the game outside of its shooting mechanics and cast. It currently has a lowly score of 49 on Metacritic and a 3.9-star rating on the Epic Games store. SVG's own review noted that the story is barely coherent: "The [single-player story] mode is introduced through a dizzying series of brief missions, character introductions, and fragments of stories that are never fully established, explored, or concluded. On March 29, the day after its release, "Crime Boss Rockay City" was already being listed at 15% retail price.

It could be argued that fan's disappointment is unwarranted, since Ingame Studios never made any claims that the game would be an open world RPG. The studio clearly had its own vision for what kind of game it wanted to make, whatever fans thought "Crime Boss" was from the initial trailers. Even so, the response from gamers upon the game's full release has been interesting to see.