Empire of Sin is a fun and engaging gangster, management and strategy fighting game. It is not original in any of its sections. It is easy to understand how it works and what its systems are inspired by to buy businesses, make them dirty, make them grow and enrich us; Neither is its grid and turn-based combat especially brilliant or inspired, but the grace is in its replayability, in the possibilities that the title offers and in its setting.
Above all, Empire of Sin is a game of "making things up", in this case, a network of dirty businesses and alliances with other gangsters in the 1920s. We forged our own empire of sin and improved each of its elements, and we grow to obtain fame and fortune; as long as a rival gang doesn't kill us or the police stop being amused. This is the coolest part of the game. It is not original, but the context that the game raises, its setting and who we manage and who runs the show, makes the title interesting.
The assembly and management of our empire
When we start playing we can choose between 14 characters. You have to think of each one of them as a different setting in a park building game, for example. Each one has its own personality, its attributes, its strengths and weaknesses. Managing each of these gangsters is a new starting point, a new criminal objective. Every time we restart the game to play a different one, the city reconfigures to accommodate this new type, and we start over. In other words, Empire of Sin aims to offer us that taste of a management title of playing over and over again, to make everything more and more beautiful and more efficient. And it succeeds, in part.
The problem is that his management is never as deep as it would take to replay it so many times, no matter how his gangster morbidity balances the balance. With a management system that is not original, but remarkable and very enjoyable, his fights seemed somewhat weaker to me. Again, they are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Their systems are the same as those of those games you are thinking of. But while in the management part there are no major problems beyond a lack of inspiration, here there are. The AI of the enemies is weak and there is not such an attractive staging when it comes to fighting as that of other games that also copy, such as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
The least inspired part of this production
There is even a point where you would prefer that there was no combat, just more dialogues (better written), more tricks and more studio work to give this section its own identity. Technically, the game is correct. Once again, the attractive setting saves the ballot for the title, but it does not stand out either artistically or technically. Nor do you expect a deep story game after game. Empire of Sin just pretending to be a reflection of what we understand the American mafia to be from what we have seen in the movies, not to build an original story.
Recreating the United States of a Century Ago
From the interface to the setting of the streets and interiors, Empire of Sin shows its clear inspiration in the chosen era, or at least, the image that we all have in mind of the 1920s. It is true that during the strategy phases there is no You can really appreciate the graphic quality and everything seems simply correct - models, animations, effects... - but the aesthetics of vehicles, offices or entertainment venues give it a personal touch compared to other management titles, and the soundtrack accompanies it characteristic jazz for relaxed moments or slightly more intense themes during combat. The city map adapts according to the distance of the camera: with a realistic view when we walk through its streets, or simplified and type "board game" when it is time to see the city in full and decide our next objective.
Finally, the dialogues with other gangsters are made in much more detail, close-ups of the negotiation with the bravado of each boss. Obviously Empire of Sin does not have values of a blockbuster, but it does not need much more to surprise.
Despite some bugs, the game is enjoyable. It is not one of those titles that will stick in your memory, but if you like the mafia atmosphere, management and XCom, here is a title that mixes these three things with enough success. Mind you, if you focused more on what you do well and didn't scatter, you could be outstanding.