Top critical review
19 people found this helpful
Does Omerta make you an offer you cant refuse?
on 4 February 2013
'Omerta: City of Gangsters' is a strategy/RPG set during Americas prohibition period. You play an immigrant, fresh off the boat from Italy and intent upon climbing the criminal ladder to become a mafia kingpin.
The game is essentially split into two sections - the strategic map, and the tactical map. The strategic map provides you with an overview of the city and from here you can view your base and the various propertys availible to purchase in order to build your criminal empire.
The key of the strategic map is resource management. You start with a very limited amount of cash which you are required to invest in profit-making establishments known as 'joints', 'premises' or 'constructions'. At the most basic level this will mean building a brewery or distillery in order to produce bootleg beer or liquor. Build a speakeasy and you can then sell this illicit alcohol for money in order to further expand your empire.
There are all manner of different proprty that you can build, from bookmakers, to protection rackets, pawn shops, loan sharks, boxing halls, hotels, casinos and many others. As well as generating income, most properties provide other advantages or can work in conjunction with others to increase efficiancy.
Income is split into two types - 'dirty' or 'clean' money. Due to the illegal nature of most of your ventures the vast majority of your money will be 'dirty', however certain institutions are capible of laundering this money in order to make it 'clean'.
Initially your gang will only consist of you. Your can customise your character at the beginning of the game, choosing his potrait and attributes - muscle (effects melee attacks), finesse (increases chance to hit with ranged weapons), toughness (ability to take damage), smarts (intelligence), guts (courage) and cunning (effects the liklihood of critical hits). Its fairly self explanatory,and the balance of your attributes will determine exactly what kind of character you mob boss will be, be that a close combat bruiser, long range sniper etc. Level up and your character will be able to choose from special traits to enhance his abilities or provide him with new ones.
You will soon recruit other members to your gang, usually by completing a task to impress them enough to join. There are about twenty gang members in all, each of which fullfils some sort of mafia stereotype - a shaven headed thug, a drunk Irish doctor, an exotic foriegn pilot, a slick haired knife fighter, and so on. Each member has special abilities and attributes of their own.
Your can take a team of upto four gang members into conflicts on the tactical map. These conflicts will consist of a number of different scenarios, be it robbing a bank, wiping out a rival gang, springing a gang member from police custody. Each of your team will be armed with a weapon and there are a variety of weapons availible, from knives, brass knuckles, pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles and tommy guns. Each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses and should be placed in the hands of the gang member with the most appropriate attributes.
Action on the tactical map is turn based with each gang member able to move using movement points (MP's) then either use their weapon or alternatively their special ability (such as the ability to heal an ally) with action points (AP's). If there is an enemy in sight then placing the crosshair over them will provide you with a percentage chance to hit. Each character has a number of hit points so it will usually take several hits to take an enemy down for good. Taking cover behind terrain will reduce the chances of you being hit. The mission is usually completed by killing all enemies, although there are special missions types here you may be required to escape a building or locate an item for example.
On the positive side Omerta is an enjoyable enough game of the sort that is sorely lacking in the console market. Its easy to play, easy to understand and provides many hours of gameplay.
On the negative side however Omertas graphics and sound are very basic and the game lacks any polish or shine. If I were reviewing such a game for the PC where there is an excess of strategy/RPG type games then I would rate it much less.
Its difficult not to compare Omerta to XCOM, the only other notable resource management/strategy/rpg game on the Xbox, and the most disappointing thing is that XCOM shows us just how much can be done with the genre on the console market. Really, theres no reason why Omerta lacks the excitement and style of a game like XCOM and that leaves me with an overall feeling of disappointment at what could have been.
Final score 6/10