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Empire of Sin – Apkrig

To drink or not to drink

Before the real mafia refocused on the hard drug trade during the 20th century, it learned to operate outside the system in the production and smuggling of alcohol in Prohibition America. The interwar society was convinced in the worst possible way of the illegal production of spirits and the associated crime under the guise of the law to combat alcoholism.

You can also try to build your own mafia structure in Empire of Sin, a tactical-managerial strategy set in the virtual streets of Chicago from the late 1920s. Like a drink with an umbrella, it is decorated with a turn-based action designed to refresh the obligatory counting of money and the dead.

Before you embark on mischief, murder and extortion in the game, you will undoubtedly be approached by the faithful stylization with which it looks back to the past. It portrays the typically dilapidated city boulevards sugared with ash from nearby factories and lined with brick tenements. The sullen expression on the workers’ faces conveys the message of the time: Crisis is crisis.

Here and there, a better-placed figure flickers among the needy. Mafia, he’ll make a crowd. And really, maybe one of your people is on the way between a bar, a brothel, and a sunken corner nearby, where he quietly but intelligibly delivered the boss’s kiss of death.

He will drink, the office disorder

You will establish your own godfather empire in a different way than in the role of an immigrant who came to America with one pocket empty and the other emptied, but above all defended by the illusion that in a land of infinite greed it is possible to achieve success legally.

You will have to lie to your mother for the rest of your life about a mobster’s career. The first business you go to as part of game lessons is not without violence. You will shoot the ensemble of the old distillery and then the sunken bar opposite and also the cleverly sewn lair there. What a building, the cornerstone of a new godfather network. Once you occupy one, it’s yours.

The distillery produces liquid bread, which makes money in an illegal bar. These are recalculated behind doors guarded by armed gorillas due to unexpected visits. In the meantime, there will be a lot of iniquities, from the foreclosure of other properties to bribery of the police force to a dirty game with the bosses of other gangs. There will also be an open war.

Number one in real estate

As for the ratio between the action and the managerial part of the game, the cards are dealt fifty-fifty (no, no one laughs at anyone). As a mafia-manager, you will be the power of money, but also a weapon to expand your district with other establishments, such as brothels, because not only in forbidden pubs, interesting capital is spinning.

The more buildings, the more worries about their maintenance and modernization. However, costs can translate into higher sales from a satisfied clientele. Few people can drink the same drinks mixed in a rusty tub every night.

By patiently modernizing on several levels, you will gradually build the background for the production of a quality range, almost indistinguishable from earlier legal production. The same applies to other establishments. Your customer is simply your master.

Most types of buildings can be gradually improved and also better protected. And believe me, well-armed staff is more useful than new Art Deco d├ęcor. In a thriving empire that is multiplied by enemies, it is a necessity. Over time, a bunch of henchmen will form one of the most prominent items on the budget, which, as every boss will soon be convinced, is not an easy nut to crack.

This is war, Johnny

Chicago will soon share several mob families with whom it is necessary to build relationships. This is done by a somewhat truncated type of diplomacy known from games such as Civilization: In a friendly interview with a competing boss, you can agree on a new deal, a defensive pact or a more complex form of economic cooperation. But if empathy fails, disputes take to the streets.

Every boss should know in advance what he is going to war with. He recognizes the strength of his own gang by the number of members he has at his disposal, as well as by their armament and special abilities. In this respect, the Empire of Sin is similar to the Jagged Alliance, under which the development director Brenda Romero is signed.

The game boasts a plethora of evil but well-drawn characters, which are not often seen in the genre of tactical strategies. You can still work with special features and other RPG elements. You can whistle the head of the gang and its subordinates into unique figures hung with grenades, molotovs and submachine guns, which do not get stuck at the right moment, and after their death or loss of loyalty you will find it difficult to say goodbye to them.

Economy at the mercy

But not all that glitters is gold. Unfortunately, after a closer examination of the game mechanics, Empire of Sin will prove to be a game with great but untapped potential. She is bothered by unbalanced gameplay and a lot of mistakes, in some places she is extremely confusing and unintuitive. Damaged saved positions and losing quests are among the smallest problems.

A management interface with windows for a thousand and one clicks is used to manage the gang. Therefore, you will never have full control of your empire. There is no information summary for building and farm improvements, you will jump chaotically from one item to another until, paradoxically, you find that the economics of the game are so shallow that all “acquisitions” that are extremely expensive financially are better done by force.

Did you get a liking for a bar next door? Shoot him and he’s yours. A legal purchase would cost a fortune. Do you like the whole competing gang? In the same way, destroy its headquarters and all the assets will fall into your lap. However, the opposite of easy occupation of positions is precisely their unnecessarily expensive upgrade and expensive staff. You will pay astronomical sums for building improvements, and it will be just as difficult to afford a large team of experienced assassins, even if you do economically despite all the difficulties.

It’s much easier for the competition. Artificial intelligence literally sucks an army of perfectly armed warriors from its finger whenever it pleases. And they will make sure that what you have easily acquired is almost immediately returned to your original hands. This is definitely not a balanced mix of game genres.

Shooting from the side

Directly in action, the game does not look much happier than in management, rather the opposite. The turn-based system of combat is not very varied, you just hide or attack, which might not matter, but worse, in the clutter of graphic symbols, lines and pointers, you must constantly search for your opponents and your own people.

Due to the confusing user interface, it is not possible to adequately orient yourself on the battlefield of the virtual Chicago even after several hours of drill. On the contrary, the way to mistakes is free. It often happens that your character runs or shoots to the very opposite side than intended.

Artificial intelligence is also acting chaotically in the fight, especially in the interiors of buildings. Unimaginative and often repetitive maps do not motivate enemies to move cleverly, so in combat they stand as a sculpture as long as there is something or who to shoot.

Chaos not only in the streets

From individual game mechanics, chaos is transmitted to the entire campaign. This makes it difficult to focus on tasks that seem important at the moment. For example, once we counted dirty money, a rival gang pounded on our gates until it got into the office, and the perpetrators themselves probably had no idea about the motive for the attack.

There are too many unnecessary and unnecessarily surprising moments in the game to look natural. But we have an idea how they arise, because we caused a lot by mistake ourselves. For example, once we provoked a giant street war just because we broke into the wrong place after an inaccurate click and an angry gang didn’t give us a choice. We felt like Franz Josef after the assassination in Sarajevo, when other groups got involved in the chain conflict and sent ours to the truth of God. The cage fell, the war and the game ended.

One inaccuracy and the Empire of Sin will show the proverbial cruelty of the mafia in a way that good movies, books or games do not use. In this case, the famous American Prohibition turns into a farce, albeit graphically beautifully stylized and underlined by catchy jazz tones. The game has charm to give away, but unfortunately also mistakes. Great expectations were not met.

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