Reviews - Updated on April 7, 2022

London in the sixties was slick, glamorous and cool, but with a distinctly ultra-violent flavor. Sam Houser, founder of Rockstar Games

The phrase “London of the sixties” evokes many associations: Beatlemania and psychedelia, beatniks and hippies, curled hair and straight short dresses, Andy Warhol (Andy Warhol) and Kate Archer … And also, as the authors of the game Company of Crime add, this is the era of monstrous police corruption , the flourishing of organized crime and the arbitrariness of the Firm. The best time and place to build your own criminal empire – even if you are not interested in the culture of those years.

When I’m In ‘64

“In the sixties, London, along with San Francisco, was the cultural capital of the world. That’s why we chose it: it’s a recognizable and familiar setting, – says Jussi Autio, representative of the Finnish studio Resistance Games. – And in the game we tried to convey the spirit of the era. Locations repeat the real city, its ancient buildings and narrow lanes. The gangsters you hire in pubs are members of the youth subcultures of those years: mods, rudboys, rockers, lemonheads (this is one of the first names for skinheads). The country itself is in crisis: in recent years it has lost many colonies, and we have a secret order in the game that wants to destroy the British Empire, finally finish it off.

Jussi, a historian by training, cautions that while the game’s story is gentle with the realities of the past, it still allows itself some liberties. Company of Crime, according to the developer, is made “in the style of Guy Ritchie [Guy Ritchie]: sort of “Cards, money, two barrels” in the atmosphere of the sixties. The post-processing effects, he says, make the game “look and feel like a movie from the era – like the ones that starred Michael Caine. [Michael Caine]».

Company of Crime preview

The color that each city area is painted with indicates which gang it is under the influence of. In order to distribute it, you need to “squeeze out” establishments: pubs, barbershops, laundries, “French lessons” (a euphemism for brothels), and so on.

With A Little Help From My Friends

“Our studio is young,” continues Jussi, “but we have all been in game development for a long time: on average, thirteen years. And all – or almost all – of us love XCOM, so in the gameplay we tried to focus on this series. Moreover, our game is even more tactical, because the emphasis in the combat system is not on firearms, but on close combat. I would even say that this is our key “trick”.

The main activity in Company of Crime is turn-based showdowns in confined spaces like alleys and pubs. For example, in order to force the owner of the establishment to share the proceeds, you will have to hit him with your fists, cope with the guards, who will come running to the noise, and run away. It’s better not to stay in the building for a long time: the police will come to the crime scene, who will not only try to detain the gang, but also remember its members by sight, so that the next cases will become more difficult.

Company of Crime preview

Red cells are control zones: if you run there, the enemy will instantly react to this and your bandit will not be greeted. You can act tactically: for example, go behind the enemy and hit him with a club. 95% Success Rate: Sounds like a lot, but XCOM players are used to not trusting random number generators.

The key difference between Company of Crime and XCOM is this: if in the latter, killing enemies was not forbidden in any way, then here, as a rule, you only need to remove the source of the threat from the path, and the more damage you inflict on it, the worse for you. There are missions whose goal is to eliminate someone, but in the long run it is not profitable to kill: the police pay much more attention to shots than to fistfights.

That is why the bandits in Company of Crime rarely use firearms: “wet” creates a lot more problems than it solves. The enemy, however, may consider that he has nothing to lose, and get the barrel – then your squad will have to urgently change priorities and deal with the armed type in the first place. On paper, this mechanic looks cool and gives depth to the combat system – let’s see how it will be implemented.

Company of Crime preview

An excellent shelter for a shooter can be either a car parked on the street or, for example, the legendary red telephone box (in the sixties it was already a symbol of England and was still used for its intended purpose).

Twist And Shout

Another advantage of the combat system based on non-lethal weapons is that it is more variable. Threats are neutralized in different ways: the enemy can either be beaten (a few punches will knock him out), or, for example, pushed away so that your squad can regroup or escape through the opened passage. There are also more subtle maneuvers, such as insults: upon hearing swearing at oneself, the enemy will leave the position and run to the attack.

The set of actions available to a unit depends on its type. Some bandits rely on fists and brute force. Others (popularly referred to as “torturers” in the game) act foully and inflict penalties on enemies by gouging out their eyes and kicking their genitals. Still others use everything that comes to hand to deal as much damage as possible. Money earned by racketeering can be spent on pumping your wards – new levels give them new skills.

Company of Crime preview

Pay attention to the bottom panel: the gangster has 15 possible actions.

Money (That’s What I Want)

Successful operations bring resources, primarily money. The more resources at your disposal, the more units become available for hire and the more diverse they can be armed. A successful gang captures more and more establishments and, accordingly, attracts more and more attention.

If in the same XCOM: Enemy Unknown the threat came only from aliens, then here there are much more sources of it: neither the owners of the establishments that you “protect”, nor other gangs, nor the police, nor the mysterious Masonic lodge, eager for the collapse of the British Empire, love you . The war will have to be waged on several fronts at once, but you can’t get too carried away with it. For example, if you aggravate the conflict with the police instead of extinguishing it, then at first the “bobbies” will begin to arrive at calls faster than usual, and then they will start arresting your bandits and raiding your possessions every now and then. How to reduce wanted level? Do not make too much noise, hide the evidence, and if it really presses you, look for compromising evidence on corrupt politicians.

Company of Crime preview

You can’t just break into a pub demanding tribute (even if it’s called the “Deaf Tramp”): you first have to send a squad for reconnaissance. It will also help you find out what enemies are plotting against you.

The last ace in Resistance Games’ sleeve: if the role of the head of a criminal gang seems too immoral for you, you can play for Scotland Yard. Many mechanics will remain in place, but the goal of the game will be exactly the opposite – to look for criminal groups and press them to the nail. True, for the first passage, as the developers say, this mode is not very suitable – at first it is better to play for the bandits. To catch a criminal, it is desirable to start by being in his shoes.

***

Development of Company of Crime began only last year, but the authors of the game promise to release it next summer. She, according to them, is almost ready: there are polishing and the last balance changes. Impressive speed, especially when you think about what a complex mathematical model the game must have under the hood.

I love the London aesthetic, the 60s history, and the XCOM series, and it looks like Company of Crime is going to be one of my most anticipated releases this year. Unless, of course, I forget its name – it is too unmemorable and seems to be drawn from the same generator as Empire of Sin.

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