Crime Never Pays
Company of Crime is a criminal empire game set in 1960s London. However, it fails to reach any lofty heights as it is let down by its poor progression and AI. For a game that is centered around building a criminal empire, Company of Crime places an odd focus on melee combat. Guns, whilst available, are often not necessary or are counterproductive to your mission objective. What this does create is an ‘XCOM’ style loop of forming a crew and choosing missions on a beautifully crafted map.
Load into a new game and you’d be excused for drawing parallels to the XCOM games. The camera perspective and UI are immediately familiar for veterans of the turn based tactical genre. Finnish developers Resistance Games have taken some risks in other faucets of the game, but these only pay off to moderate success. There are a plethora of melee options in this game. Not only can you do a standard punch to the noggin of an enemy, but you can also unleash an arsenal of attacks that would make Tyson Fury proud. Enemies are prone to headbutts, kicks, throws, and most importantly, insults. Every unit has a zone of control; enemies entering or leaving this area are automatically attacked. This creates an interesting dilemma where positioning your units can often make or break a tight mission.
Just as you think the combat gets interesting, Company of Crime begins to falter. The poor enemy AI rears its ugly head time and time again. I’ve had multiple instances where the enemy AI would just use a turn wandering into my zone of control with drunk bravado, getting hit in the process, before moving to another location. The AI was just far too inconsistent to provide any meaningful sense off difficulty. When I did fail a mission, I felt that the game was trying to punish me for spending too long in a level, as the police eventually show up after an arbitrary number of rounds, leading to a mad dash to the exit. This led to some odd balancing, as some missions such as extortion left me little choice but to stay so long that the Police did show up.
Speaking of the police, each mission also adds to ‘heat meter’. This concept is never fully really explained well in the game. Use guns in your missions and the heat meter will rapidly increase, leading to more skirmishes with the Police. However, the game often tasks you with reducing heat by completing missions. This often feels at odds with what the game is trying to achieve as these missions only reduce your heat by a minuscule amount. Another currency that is introduced early on is ‘influence’, which seemingly serves no real purpose other than being utilized to start certain missions. These systems regularly felt disjointed, never really giving you a clear idea of how to progress.
This leads to another one of the game’s main issues. It becomes repetitive too quickly. There’s only so much extortion a man can handle before he cracks. This led me to draw my time with the game to a close far before the credits hit and also before I could try my hand at the Police campaign. The game’s character progression works fine for the most part. But it does this by not really adding anything new to the mix. The game features different classes, with skill trees that add new skills. If you’ve played other tactical turn based games, there’s nothing new in here that will really astound you.
The only crime being committed here is the price tag of this game. At $30 you’d be best served spending your time elsewhere. I genuinely believe there is a good game inside Company of Crime, but it is not one that has shown itself in my time with this game. It may be worthwhile on a deep sale once the developers have fixed some of the balancing issues and overhauled the enemy AI. It is a shame, since the 1960s London setting is vividly illustrated. But ultimately, crime never pays and neither should you.
Company of Crime is available on Steam here.