Now that Zynga has given up a considerable amount of territory with its attempt at emulating Crime City with the flop that was Mafia Wars 2, Disney's social game studio has swooped in for a takeover with Mobsters: Criminal Empire. The third game in Playdom's long-running crime game franchise, Criminal Empire takes a similar birds-eye view of the mob game scene both literally and figuratively.
Gallery: Mobsters Criminal Empire on Facebook
The general play hook is, however, relatively new in its own right, roping in concepts from the existing isometric mafia games on Facebook with those of the real-time strategy games that the small "hardcore" set seems to enjoy. The two ideas aren't all that original in their own right, but combined together make for a seemingly refreshing approach to this well-tread street.
"Two things: A.) It's really fun to run around a city and throw grenades and stuff. And B.) You can be a little bit more strategic and be like, 'Well, their city's really well-laid out and defended, but if I can get my avatar in and take out this one building, then I can throw in a bunch of troops through that new channel and exploit them.'"
Players also have their own empire to worry about, which is where those troops come in. There are five types of available troops (with more to come)--like the Soldier, Thief and Pyro--all of which have their own unique uses. But in order to gain these special units for battle, players will have to take over nearby buildings and effectively force their hand in joining them. You don't build your empire in this mafia game. You take it.
"One thing we found out [is that] it's actually okay to make things a little tough," Prewett admits. "It's not always win-win for our players. I think the key part that we found out is as long as they know how to win they'll come back in and try harder."
Unfortunately, social features will be rather light in Criminal Empire at launch, with simple visitation and gifting mechanics in place. Things look much better on the horizon, however, with PvP, avatar interaction and the ability to defend your friends' territory on the way, according to Prewett. Ultimately, this leaves one question: How will Mobsters: Criminal Empire avoid the same fate as, say, Mafia Wars 2?
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Are you excited for the next game in the Mobsters franchise? Will this game suffer the same fate as Mafia Wars 2? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.