Omerta: City of Gangsters
Omerta is a new sim/tactical
RPG from Kalypso media which accurately represents Atlantic City, New
Jersey in the mafia's golden age. The aim is to create an engaging
portrayal of crime life complete with an entertaining and full-featured
combat system. Given that Omerta is a multi-platform release in the same
price range of big studio blockbusters, there is a certain degree of
ambitiousness about this game, and the bar it sets for itself is high.
Omerta offers a reasonable wealth of options and
content, including achievements, multiplayer maps for competing with
others, and a "sandbox" mode to supplement the main story mode. The
difference between the two is somewhat disappointing, however, as
sandbox mode really only offers the ability to play one of the story
mode maps with a fresh character and access to all playable mobsters at
level 1. It would have been much more interesting for the sandbox mode
to feature a mega map that will take much longer to complete, with
options for A.I. opponents or randomizing factors. This is just one of
the many small disappointments that tarnish an otherwise fine game.
Omerta's graphics are okay, but since optimal play is
done when zoomed out, they aren't often appreciated. Even when zoomed
in, there's nothing super impressive here - it's somewhere along the
lines of Silent Storm with bloom lighting. The character portraits have
a great feel to them, though, and the HUD is well organized. This means
that the lion's share of the game - the map strategy - is easy to
navigate for anyone who has played an RTS before. Combat encounters look
nice, but effects are minimal and animations are recycled to the utmost,
so repetition is a factor.
I find myself repeatedly comparing Omerta to XCOM:
Enemy Unknown in my head. Perhaps that's unfair, as XCOM is exceptional,
but they compete in the same market for the same consoles at the same
price point. This should be clear up front - though comparable, Omerta
is no XCOM. The focus is less on grinding battles and more on the
strategy element - you will spend more time organizing your businesses
and pulling scams on the map, with much less time dedicated to
turn-based combat. The result is entertaining, but for a smaller
audience than XCOM appeals to. It doesn't help that Omerta's strategic
elements lack the depth that fans of the genre are typically looking
for. On the other hand, characters offer a bit more individual
customization, with a "perk" system that creates the possibility for
many different builds. Unfortunately, both the strategy and combat
portions of the game utilize the same set of up to 6 gangsters, while
the total available number of gangsters is more like 3 times that - so
you won't be able to have fun with all of the characters you unlock as
the story progresses, unless you constantly switch them in and out of
The story is pretty forgettable, but does its part in
setting up the scenarios which your fictional mob will work through in
order to dominate Atlantic City. The story mode does a good job teaching
you the ropes, and I must admit: for a game with some disappointing
flaws, I found myself devoting quite a bit of time to Omerta. The
atmosphere is well done, the music is authentic, and the voice acting is
excellent in some areas (Although I could really do with never hearing
Squigs' voice again).
On the whole, Omerta offers an engrossing(if not
deep) strategy experience with a mediocre-yet-sufficient combat system
thrown in. It's a shame that Omerta was released so soon after XCOM:
Enemy Unknown, as the comparisons are unavoidable and Omerta simple
doesn't offer the same quality. Omerta can still be a lot of fun, but
the price is not right for most gamers.
- Josh Waters
Gameplay - 7 - Far from perfect, but engaging and easy to pick up.
Graphics - 6 - For today's market, the graphics are average.
Sound - 7 - Good music and extensive voice over is a key part of the
Value - 4 - Omerta costs a good bit more than it's worth.
Overall - 6 - Omerta offers a solid experience, but its reach far
exceeds its grasp.