City of Gangsters: Shadow Government (DLC) Review

City of Gangsters by developer SomaSim and publisher Kasedo GamesPC (Steam) review written by Susan N. with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes. 

In August of 2021, Kasedo Games published City of Gangsters, a simulation management game that revolves around the prohibition era of the 1920s. Players begin as a new gangster trying to make their mark by driving rival gangs out of business. After our original preview SomaSim released a few DLCs like Atlantic City, Bourbon Bootlegging, Criminal Record, and a few different outfits for players to choose from. On June 15th, SomaSim released Shadow Government where players get to meddle in political affairs. This is where the fun begins.

NB: Before continuing, I will acknowledge that the original preview of the game had some criticism about the graphics. After the game dev reached out to us, we were informed that my graphics issue came from an AMD driver problem that they rectified. Since I run an AMD GPU, I had a graphics bug where assets didn't appear as intended, and I had based some of my impressions on that fact. Any image contained in this review displays the proper nicer-looking assets.


My general feelings about this title have not changed since my original look at City of Gangsters. Its core gameplay loop gets to be tiresome rather quickly, the management aspect of the game relies on the production and distribution of goods, and the vehicle maintenance aspect adds a unique element to the genre. While all of this makes for a decent foundation, it's not enough to hold my interest for very long.

One reason for that is the leveling system seems to be relatively random. There is no way to track how much experience a character has gained. It also doesn't have a character sheet or skill tree. Thus, there's no way to effectively plan out your gangster abilities, making it feel like an afterthought to the game. Unlike Empire of Sin where I felt like the game had too much micromanagement of individual characters, City of Gangsters tells you nothing until the character levels up.

Another point about City of Gangsters is that it suffers from a lack of urgency and interest. Sure, it becomes more complex as time progresses, but the beginning gameplay is dull. Players spend a lot of turns driving around to pick up resources and they sell what they have for cash. Generally, this isn't bad, it just boils down to a random chance of finding the resources needed. Unfortunately, that means clicking on every establishment possible.

One of the aspects I do like is building connections with the NPCs. Players must increase their standing before they can make deals with the shop owners. And once standing is high enough, you can call in favors. The only downside is that it's done for each person which negatively draws out the experience. That said, I enjoyed the game but found myself bored with it early on because it takes too long to get going.

Aside from the general impressions of City of Gangsters, let's talk about the Shadow Government DLC in specific and what it brings to the table.

What the DLC Adds


The DLC brings in some actual stakes to the game and does so incredibly early on. I felt more interested in generating funds to invest in the local political candidate. At first, it seemed a bit steep as it takes a couple of grand to sponsor a candidate, but this aspect has many future implications. Ultimately, this is an element that makes me more enthused to play the game.

To initiate the Shadow Government storyline, players need to start in New York. Not only will players build their empire on the largest map available, but they can play the new content immediately. As we received a review copy of the game, our player received the start-up cash freely without having to earn it. That said, in other maps, players may have to save up money for political donations. Again, I love this concept but I don’t believe there is enough starting cash to make a real impact. While adding a political system to the game speeds up gameplay, it only accomplishes that for a short time. Let me elaborate.

Shadow Government Gameplay

The Shadow Government DLC gives players the chance to foster and bolster political connections to both meddle in the affairs of other gangs but can potentially lead to the removal of problematic legislation or perhaps abolishing prohibition. And adding this DLC to the mix certainly creates an urgency that the game was so desperately missing before. Players now have a time limit to earning money for contributions which will increase the heat value of your operation. Not only that, but the other rival gangs will be more interested in taking you out. Also, if your candidate loses the election, then there will be dire consequences as other gangs will take notice.

Players need to build up funds not only to maintain their operations but to save money for bribes and contributions. Each political term will transpire over a certain amount of time when candidates are nominated. During a political term, players can pull up information about the candidate, which displays their type of leadership, traits, total elections won, and nationality. This is useful information to the player because it allows them to determine their next course of action. Not only that, but in certain cases, the candidate will request favors from you to complete! Fulfilling those requirements will affect how the vote goes. In fact, some of those requirements carry additional leg work for the player which adds to the complexity of the strategy, which is something I appreciate.

Once the political term ends, players go back to the normal grind of building an empire of illegal goods. After that, I felt like I was more interested in the political aspects than engaging in the regular gameplay loop. I just wanted to skip the constant back and forth of buying and selling. Unfortunately, that is a clear indicator that City of Gangsters is not quite ready yet. If it had an influx of cash or an employee requirement before engaging in the political landscape, it would be better. Essentially, you really have to understand the game first before appreciating Shadow Government and that is a shame.

Final Thoughts and Summary

City of Gangsters is a great game on the surface. It has the makings of an incredible game set during the prohibition era but, even with the Shadow Government DLC, it just misses the mark. There is nothing wrong with the gameplay loop except that it needs more urgency. Even with the DLC adding more complex strategies, it's not enough to hold interest for very long. Despite that fact, Shadow Government does a great job of forcing players to think about their connections and rivalries. Unfortunately, to appreciate the title and this DLC, players need to fully understand the game first. 


People that are in the market for a relaxing strategy game can feel confident in the Shadow Government DLC. It changes the entire landscape of the game by letting players influence legislation that can hinder other gangs or abolish laws that impede your supremacy.

As such, Shadow Government is a great addition to City of Gangsters as it adds more strategies for the player. For those reasons, this DLC adds enough of a unique spin to receive an 8 out of 10!

Score: 8 / 10



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