Empire of Sin

Game review by
Angelica Guarino, Common Sense Media
Empire of Sin Game Poster Image
Violence and language key to challenging mob strategy game.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Lying, cheating, and stealing are effective strategy measures for power-hungry gangsters, but they're not positive ideals for younger players.

Positive Role Models

While most characters aren't considered role models, it's positive for players to have the chance to practice making choices in complicated situations. It's also notable that it features a diverse cast of protagonists, who succeed in avoiding gender or racial stereotypes. 

Ease of Play

While the user interfaces and combat design are user-friendly, there’s a lot of care players have to place onto several empire-running responsibilities. The balance of acquiring rackets, recruiting a crew, and managing relationships with other bosses is a challenging endeavor. While this very well may be welcomed by more experienced gamers, taking on all of these tasks at once can be a bit overwhelming for players new to more intense strategy games.

Violence

This title features guns, guns, and more guns. There are some gratuitous scenes of violence when characters perform a special "execution" ability, though these are occasional. The choice to use the brutal "execution" moves also contributes to a risk that characters in your crew will suffer deep emotional consequences. Bodies and pools of blood will remain on the location's floor once combat is over, but will disappear once the player leaves and re-enters the building. 

Sex

The presence of brothels as a profitable illegal racket is keyto every boss' economic plan. Dialogue mentioning sexual activity is present, and non-player characters will walk around brothels wearing lingerie in order to court customers. 

Language

Words like f--k and s--t appear often.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Illegal breweries are vital to building an empire. Because the game takes place in prohibition-era Chicago, illegal alcohol production is a necessity. Players can also order drinks from bartenders, sell their products on the black market, and develop negative status changes or traits if they drink too much. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Empire of Sin is a strategy/role-playing game available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation4, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac. Players enter a sandbox version of 1920's Chicago and take on the challenge of building a mob empire using relationships, money management, and violence. Some bugs in the racket ownership mechanics and open-world navigation can make the prospect of dominating an entire neighborhood quite complicated. There's a large focus on violence, with players using guns to execute enemies. Bodies and pools of blood can be seen as a result of your actions, and your characters can be psychologically affected by their violent actions. Dialogue mentioning sexual acticity is included, and players can set up brothels with women walking around in lingerie to support their business. There's also a focus on alcohol during this Prohibition-set tale, and characters can be negatively affected by drinking too much. There's also frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t" in dialogue.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBobjerry March 21, 2021

It’s a rly Lit game

You’ll love it it’s rly cool

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

In EMPIRE OF SIN, players enter the seedy criminal landscape of prohibition-era Chicago as one of thirteen mob bosses, each with a set of skills and abilities exclusive to them. The main strategy to grow one's empire in acquiring and managing rackets in the forms of casinos, speakeasies, brothels, and breweries. Players will also need to develop a combat strategy by hiring and developing underlings, and leverage relationships with other bosses to determine the correct time to take over their operations. Beyond this, each character has their own set of personal missions and side quests, meaning that everything outside of the main strategic elements is different every time. Using charm to control others may be key to one gangster's strategy, while others may excel at instilling fear in others or simply relying on pure muscle to get what they want. While some are driven by a desire for notoriety, others are entangled in complicated family histories or existing on basic survival instincts. Regardless of their differences, every boss wants the same thing -- to be the last one standing. This makes for thirteen possible storylines instead of one, all blended together by turn-based gunfights, turf wars, and administrative strategies.

Is it any good?

While there are many strengths to this impressive strategy/roleplaying/city building combination, its control issues and bugs have the potential to ruin the player's immersion. For instance, one wrong move or failed skill check during a mission for your henchment in Empire of Sin can throw an entire run off course, so saving frequently is a must, which occasionally feels like a distraction. In combat, it's too easy to mis-click an unwanted action or accidentally place a character outside of their allotted movement range. These small missteps add up rather quickly and have a tangible effect on tasks that are dependent on the proper pacing and player focus.

This being said, hardcore strategy game lovers will find it worth the hassle. The most notable accomplishment of Empire of Sin is that it doesn't back down from what it wants to be. Pushing boundaries in games, in this case by including so many moving pieces, will always be risky, but it's better in the long run rather than playing it safe. Empire of Sin could have been much simpler by only including one or even two tasks to focus on, but simpler isn't always better. Setting the bar higher also means that there's more opportunities for patches and bug fixes that may lead to this title fulfilling its full potential, even if it's not there on release day. Warnings regarding flaws aside, the most important takeaway from Empire of Sin is that it's a lot of fun. When you're on a run where everything's coming together, players definitely get the feeling that they are unstoppable. Taking risks and surviving another day always makes hearts skip a beat, and if draws such as aiming to refine battle strategy won't make players come back for more, the goals of finishing an intriguing quest storyline or managing the most profitable casino will. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Empire of Sin affected by the amount of blood spilled in the game? Would the action have the same effect if there wasn't realistic blood or violence included?Though the characters are not objectively branded as "good" or "bad", what effect can playing through violent situations potentially have on people? 

  • Empire of Sin presents impressions of real people in a recreated Chicago mixed with fully fabricated characters, backstories, and quests, but how can you keep facts separate from sensationalized fiction while still enjoying the game?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strategy

Themes & Topics

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