Mafia-themed games have it tough.
With the “Grand Theft Auto” series dominating the
genre, it takes a huge creative stride to be noticed.
“Gangland” attempts to take a different approach to the
common “shoot ’em up” style. Trying to create a
fusion of simulation, action and role-playing,
“Gangland” simply tries too hard to be too much.
Controlling the main character or groups of characters becomes very
awkward, and gameplay is frustratingly difficult. Going from place
to place often gets the player killed (either by enemies or
pedestrians) before they even have time to react. The developers
did take an interesting approach to the game, however, presenting
it through a top-down perspective similar to the original
“GTA” series. They paid close attention to details such
as reflections, smoke and debris, bringing the 1920s underworld to
life. Though the graphics and visual effects — such as the
lifelike day/night cycle — are quite impressive, the audio
that one would expect to see with the “Godfather”-esque
atmosphere is reduced to repetitive sound bites after a while.
If this hybrid of a game spent more time in development and had
its kinks ironed out, it could be a promising endeavor. In the
meantime, however, gangster-hungry gamers should stick with
“GTA.” 1.5 out of five stars
— Jason Roberts