Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago

Empire of Sin, developed by Romero Games, is a strategic management game set in Chicago during Prohibition and in this review we will talk about it in detail

If you are a fan of first person shooters for sure you will know John romero, co-founder of idSoftware as well as one of the fathers of DOOM e Quake. Over the years the game designer has worked in various companies, until in 2015 he founded with his wife Romero Games.

The software house has worked on several small projects but has now finally released a big multi-platform title: Empire of Sin. The great Romero will have managed to hit the target with this particular one strategic-management set in 20s Chicago? Discover it with us thanks to ours Empire of Sin review.

The faces of prohibition

In Empire of Sin you will have to play the role of the greatest mafia boss of the 20s and fight with other factions for complete control of Chicago. In total they are available well 14 boss. Some, like Al Capone o Frank Ragen, are inspired by people who really existedwhile others are completely invented from scratch. Each of these characters possesses unique traits, skills and backgrounds, which will affect how you play your game.

For example, some bosses could obtain greater advantages by entering into diplomatic agreements with rival clans, while others are led to use more brutal and direct methods to dominate the city of Chicago. Also, although the title is based on individual customizable matches and not on dedicated campaigns, during the game each character will have the opportunity to carry out one main mission based on his background which will have different outcomes based on the choices made. All this will allow you to get to know your protagonist in depth and to empathize with him much better during the game.

Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago

Empire of Vice - Review Empire of Sin

To win a game of Empire of Sin you will have to eliminate all the other bosses from Chicago but to do it you will need a lot money. The main method of making money in the game is obviously to create your own crime empire. Chicago is full of activities that you can master and then turn them into racket able to fill your pockets over time. These structures can be purchased legally, but in most cases you will find yourself at steal them by force from rival gangs or to small, disorganized groups of criminals.

Once you have gained control of a business, you can decide to spend some money on it turn it into a racket specific or keep the previous one for free. In total there are four different types of rackets: the distilleries used for the production of alcohol, the a speakeasy who deal with reselling it to the public, the casinos and finally the brothels. In addition, in addition to these structures that will guarantee you a constant income, you can also create hotels which will increase the number of customers in your neighborhood and safehouse from where to manage everything.

These structures can be enhanced in order to offer greater returns, more varied production or higher security, and this is where it comes into play the management side by Empire of Sin. In the course of the game you will have to decide carefully how to spend money, for example to be able to produce the most requested type of liquor in your neighborhood or perhaps improve the attractiveness of your brothels. It is also important too arrange the various rackets in a homogeneous way, so that they do not compete with each other.

Unfortunately though the management side of the game is not very well cared for, since to get rich you will not need to devote yourself to it in the slightest. Given their high cost improvements almost never offer serious benefits and simply by conquering new rackets around the city you will be able to earn a lot of money in a short time. Consequently, there will never be any reason to commit to creating a balanced crime empire based on the proper use of finances.

Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago

Imbalance of Power - Review Empire of Sin

We continue our review by talking about the appearance diplomatic by Empire of Sin. Even if your goal is to take over all of Chicago, it's not wise at all to try and take down rival gangs from the start. Before you go on the attack you will have to prepare yourself enough and in the meantime it is wise make some deals with your rivals. For example, you can sign non-aggression pacts, trade agreements, defensive alliances and so on. However, this aspect of the title also does not offer many advantages in the game. Except for the very early stages of the match, relations with other factions will only be a nuisance and you will be able to progress faster simply by ignoring them.

Fortunately, however relations between the various gangsters they are handled much better. Over the course of the game you will have the opportunity to recruit different gangsters and, just like the bosses, each of them will have their own story which will be possible to deepen with secondary missions. Also all of these characters will have gods established links with other prominent figures of Chicago organized crime. For example some might be friends of gangsters belonging to other factions, or even their lovers.

To get the most out of your team, it's essential to get people who get along well together and try to increase theirs loyalty. If your companions are loyal to you they will have bonuses in combat and they will be less likely to betray you. Just remember to check who are the prominent members of a faction before attacking it, since gangsters will refuse to attack loved ones and they may rebel if you end up killing them.

Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago

Fighting for Chicago - Empire of Sin Review

Now let's move on to one of the most important points of our review: the combat system by Empire of Sin. The title has a system of turn-based combat very classic, where all the characters act in order according to their value of initiative. Whenever it is the turn of one of your gangsters, you can perform various actions such as attacking, moving towards cover, using special equipment and so on. Furthermore, according to the class of your characters and theirs equipment, you can also use many special skills. To perform any of these actions, some AP and normally each character begins his turn with two of these points.

The combat system is very reminiscent of the one used in the series XCOM but, compared to 2K games, it is much less complex. The AI ​​of the opponents is extremely limited and for this reason they will often find themselves carrying out really stupid and counterproductive actions. Skills are also very limited, as they all rely on performing simple actions such as area attacks or heals. 

In addition, the maps used for combat are small, simple, and always built on a single level, thus very much limiting the strategic possibilities. As if that weren't enough then they are also very few, so after a few hours of playing you will find yourself having already learned them all by heart.

Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago

A Technical Disaster - Empire of Sin Review

As for the artistic aspect, Empire of Sin immediately manages to do immerse the player in the fascinating Chicago of prohibition. The design of the characters, the music and the settings seem to come directly from that era and they manage to create a really great atmosphere. Unfortunately this whole dive is promptly ruined by the lots of technical problems that plague the game.

Flying over the graphics sector, very lacking in both textures and models, the real problem with Empire of Sin is i bugs,. The title is infested with a very high amount of technical problems related to almost every aspect of the game. There are characters who can't use cover, shops that don't work, missions that can't continue, movement problems, errors in attack accuracy rates, and so on. All these bugs seriously damage the gaming experience and make it really difficult to immerse yourself in the beautiful setting of the title.

Empire of Sin Review: Conquering Chicago


Finally, we conclude this review by summing up Empire of Sin. This title manages to recreate very well indeed the atmosphere of the city of Chicago during the years of prohibition. Living the life of a mafia boss during this very particular era is truly addictive and thanks to the presence of many fairly well-kept missions you can easily step into their shoes. Unfortunately, however, Empire of Sin really suffers a lot when it comes to the actual gameplay. Most of the mechanics of this title they lack depth and as if that weren't enough i numerous bugs they worsen the overall quality even more. If you are a great lover of this particular historical period you might find something in Empire of Sin, but if you are more interested in the actual game elements then you will probably be disappointed.

Empire of Sin is available now for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. If you are interested in staying up to date with all the news on the world of video games and much more, then keep following us here on techigames.

6 A shallow title

Points in favor

  • Very varied bosses with a well-kept background
  • Good management of gangster relations
  • Great atmosphere

Points against

  • Shallow fighting
  • Not very useful diplomatic agreements
  • Irrelevant management aspect
  • Technically bad
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