Genre : Strategy
Publisher: Whiptail Interactive
Developer: Media Mobsters
Release Date: March 3, 2004
Pre-order 'GANGLAND': PC
Let's face it, playing the "good Guy" is over rated and thanks to games like "Grand Theft Auto 3" and now "Gangland" we are given a chance to escape from the every day bullshit and moonlight as an ass-kicking-don't-fuck-with-my-money gangster.
Gangland is a truly innovative idea, a real time strategy game with RPG elements and America's Favorite topic, The Mob. With these elements how could you possibly go wrong? For those expecting a boring, turn based mafia simulator, you will be disappointed. However, for those of us that like our action fast Gangland will be sure to please.
I was given the opportunity to sit down and play a preview of "Gangland" and I took it, much like the way you're lunch money was taken in Junior High, before you start having flashbacks that result in months of therapy let me change the subject back to the preview at hand.
The game starts off much like Grand Theft Auto III where you are a small time thug trying to earn a rep and build yourself up in the cities dark crime empire. The player will mastermind Extortion Rackets, murder contracts, Order drive-by hits, blow up buildings, get married-get laid-have children, organize a prostitution ring, conspire with international crime families for profit and… well I think you get the idea. The player will get to role play being a crime boss, play it out, and there isn't a damn thing Uncle Scam or the FBI can do about it since it's just a game.
Of course you do not venture out in mob land all by yourself. As you progress throughout the game you are awarded money for services rendered, which in turn you can use to either set up your own scam and reap the rewards, or use it to expand your squad. Here you have the choice to pick from musclemen, gunmen equipped with a variety of weapons ranging from a standard gun to machinegun, prostitutes using pepper spray and so forth, and of course you switch back and forth between them. Some of your playable characters have 2 attack modes using different types of weapons, for instance your main character can use any type of regular firearm, but when you switch to alternate attack he can lob dynamite over dumpsters in order to wipe out any enemies hiding behind it.
The game features over 26 different map locations within Paradise City as well as the ability to interact with over 500 NPC (Non Playing Characters). The neatest thing by far is the inclusion of what has been coined "The Event Engine" which allows for random events thus making each game a new and unique experience. This will add tremendously to the replay value, smart move, that's for sure.
Graphically, Gangland looks very promising. The game features all shades of day and night thus immersing the player into the world like a fat kid into a free buffet line at Disney World. Character models are detailed, as is the details of the city, which really makes the game, come alive. Character animations are smooth and entertaining and this preview build suffers not from speed bumps as everything is fluid, rather it suffers tremendously from the camera which can be as annoying as the psychotic Ex you had before marriage, don't play it off, we all had one.
The combat engine is real-time and is a load of fun except for the… terrible camera! Cameras tend to make or break a game so let's hope the developers fix the camera before retail, failing to do so will result in game suicide. Lots of bullets, shouting, and gangster mayhem can be enjoyed and heard, being seen really depends on if the camera is being friendly at the moment, that camera is about as moody as I am during the rotten part of the month.
The audio treatment is well done and entertaining. Every Mob stereotype has been included in both speech and dialogue which will keep Italian Protestors up in Arms or Spaghetti for that matter; however what fun is a game without controversy.
Ironically "Gangland" is set to hit retail shelves about the same time as the next Season of Sopranos.. is this a coincidence.. ? I think not… besides I think Nostradamous wrote a passage about this… I can't wait to see the final product, if the camera is fixed this will be a tremendous hit.