Empire of Sin was a big mess when it launched late last year. A great premise and a developer that seemed to understand the prohibition era was not enough to save it from the mountain of bugs and fundamental issues, unfortunately. Another patch is on the horizon, though, and this one's set to tackle some of the most glaring problems.
Safehouse battles ended up really being Empire of Sin's undoing. There's no need to painstakingly build up an empire through thoughtful expansion, diplomacy and sneaky assaults, because you can simply saunter into an enemy boss's safehouse, kill them and take all of their rackets in one fell swoop. Safehouse scraps are trickier than regular ones, but not so much that they pose any real difficulty.
After 1.03, says Romero Games, you'll need to work a lot harder to get to that point. Safehouses will no longer show up on the map just because you've encountered the gang, and there won't be a way for you to quickly root out their location. Instead, you'll have to attack their rackets and wait, both of which will eventually reveal your target. There's a bit of randomness involved, too, as the chance to discover the HQ increases by one percent every week, which also goes up when you hit their other businesses. You might also be able to find clues in those rackets, speeding up your investigation.
When you do find the safehouse, the fight might not go the way you expect. The guards protecting mob-owned businesses have been getting sick of all these arse kickings, so they've been hitting the gym and beefing up. They'll pose more of a problem to anyone attacking rackets and safehouses. Expect them to have better gear and appear in greater numbers, as well.
Balance tweaks will reduce the effectiveness of your weapons, too, lowering critical damage for all of them, along with other changes like rifles having armour damage removed and sub-machine guns being even less proficient at taking out distant enemies.
Things won't be tougher across the board, though. While taking on rackets and safehouses will be more challenging, this will be balanced out by fewer street brawls. These fights are all low stakes compared to the indoor ones, and they only ever go one way: with a lot of dead thugs. Knowing that, thugs will be less likely to start fights. To get them to square up to you, you'll first have to try and steal from them.
The patch also aims to introduce what's apparently the first version of an auto-resolve feature. This will give you the option to fight or flee from fights where your boss or gangsters aren't involved. The version after that will also let you actually auto-resolve it. I say that it's "apparently" the first version because I absolutely saw it crop up during my review, though it appeared inconsistently.
Other changes are also on the docket, including a better variety of buildings and thigs, UI tweaks and the removal of full fast travel. At the moment, you can immediately teleport from any location, but after 1.03 it will be limited to your safehouse and taxi locations.
Empire of Sin's 1.03 update is coming this month.