What’s up, you slaaags? Any opportunity to put on a mockney accent – I’m down, and Company Of Crime is solely responsible for it. My name is Vulgaris, and it’s been a month since my last Guy Ritchie film.
I’m usually pretty organised and schedule all my reviews based on embargos and what-not, but ideally, like to do a swift turnaround as there’s always something new to cover. Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for time and review purposes, Company Of Crime is right up my street.
A turn-based strategy title using a tile-based urban battlefield, you can opt to play as a bunch of crims or play as the filth – the latter unlocks as you fill your fair share of illegal activities. It’s heavily stylised, but don’t read that as no substance – I’d happily write off the day and get stuck into the gameplay.
But before you whip out the debit card or cut and paste your PayPal code, let me put it in context that I like a bit of a grind at times – even if that means not levelling up as well. You see, Company Of Crime gameplay is pretty repetitive. I understand that some may interpret that as dull and respect that opinion, but for the most part, it was a pleasant (albeit bloody-nosed) experience.
Gangsters do carry guns, but I would advise against it in this game as it’s not worth the literal heat. Put someone in a body bag, and you can bet the bill will show up in force to take you daaaan. That means there’s going to be a lot of melee and cutscenes to spectate, and if you don’t like that style of play, you may find it irritating.
But it’s not just basic punches and kicks; you can punt them in the balls if they sport them and take advantage of positioning. A punch to the back of the head may be more effective than head-on. But if you’re that close, you could always try hog-tying them so they miss ‘their turn’. You know that Company Of Crime is turn-based, right?
It lacks the same strategy elements as the likes of XCOM, but if we’re going to keep comparing genre-based games to a handful of titles, we’d be out of luck in terms of variety. I haven’t played anything like this – notably the 60s setting and set pieces. The fighting sequences are a little like Fights In Tight Spaces, but without the deck-building and martial arts finesse. This game is more about brute force and getting what you want.
To do this, you can offer protection to businesses for a fee, or visit them and take what you want. The latter offers up more cash with high risks, but providing a service to Dave the hairdresser might give you some perks that you can’t obtain through beating people up.
There are several classes in the game that each come with a limited skill set, but they don’t differ enough where you’ll notice. Nicknames et al. were amusing with characters like the torturer. It is all very Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, but it’s not a complete parody and balances the humour well enough that it neither grates nor makes it a farce. I just wish that the default characters didn’t all look like a variation of David Bowie. Though a fan, they looked a bit samey in places.
Voice acting is naturally a Cockney approach. At times it’s a caricature, but I don’t think that Resistance Games or 1C Entertainment will lose any sleep if nobody writes a thesis on the representations of East End gangsters in their game. I enjoyed it, and it didn’t feel like playing anything remotely Mary Poppins. Because all Brits sound either like Dick Van Dyke (American) or Hugh err.. well.. erm.. Grant. Oh yeah, cool music too that’s not overused.
You can’t please everyone, and turn-based veterans could argue that Company Of Crime lacks depth, while casual gamers could say it’s a bit convoluted to have a quick go. My stance? While the UI is a little clumsy in places, I was happy to invest my time in the game and almost forgot myself as I was that absorbed with it. Is it the best game in the genre? No, but it was enjoyable enough to play hours on end.
Some of the missions can be a little unforgiving and ‘spontaneous’. Also, the fact that Johnny Public can go toe-to-toe with one of my bouncers does make me think we underestimate people’s abilities. Just peering at the Steam page, it appears to have mixed reviews, so I read a couple of them. All very valid, and I see their point, but the reviews I perused were from last year, and the devs actively make tweaks. Have a look for yourself as I’ve run out of steam on this one. Let’s just say that I enjoyed Dreadlands very much, and that seems to have a mixed fanbase too.