Omerta – City of Gangsters deserves concrete shoes
Omerta – City of Gangsters is a turn based tactical strategy game, blended into a crime simulator, set in prohibition era Atlantic City. Or is it? It isn’t. It’s a shallow crime building simulator, where combat encounters are done via turn based tactical action, similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Or is it? It kinda isn’t. It’s actually a shallow crime building simulator, with a nor terrible impressive turn based combat encounter system bolted to it, and the similarity to XCOM is strictly theoretical.
It’s the latest game from Haemimont Games, known for their remastering of the Tropico franchise, and horribly overpriced German publisher Kalypso Media, known for their outdated habit of demanding preposterous sums for shallow games, small DLC and similar such villanous deeds. Like demanding 30€ and more for this wreck of a game. For fucks sake guys, i loved Tropico 4, stop doing this shit, Dungeons was a pile of useless waste too.
Now that I’ve mentioned Tropico 4, I can mention it some more! Wait, just kidding, you’re not getting the pleasure of me talking about a good game, I was going to mention who they’re using the same damned engine, thus cutting costs even further, hell, it even reuses several bits and pieces of Tropico’s art assets, even a couple of voice actors get paid again. Should mention that they voice actors are actually very good, and have, duty done.
Crime Simulators doesn’t pay.
Omerta – City of Gangsters is simple, and due to it’s simplicity, it’s easy as hell to play. The simulation have a theme of duality. Illegal (dirty) and legal (clean) cash, liked and feared ratings, joints and premises. The dirty cash is used for the setup of illegal activities, the clean for construction sites and little else. Liked ratings improve some activities, mostly gambling, and feared makes shit cheaper and pawn shops better. Not that you would ever build more than one speakeasy, boxing ring and similar, seeing as diminishing returns makes yet another ugly appearance here.
The gameplay is nice and simple, you rent joints and premises, and make your money using a limited range of illegal and semi-legal activities, some are logical, like speakeasies and nightclubs needing supplies of beer from breweries and liquor from disteleries, in order to rake in the dough. Other? Less so. Like the pizzaria that makes people fear you? I really don’t recall the part of the Godfather where Don Corleone spread fear through a fucking pizza hut.
Throughout most of the empire-building parts of the game, your opposition is pre-programmed and lacking, little if any AI will present you with any opposition, and the lack of any sort of logically located speed-up function can and will make the game hideous and slow.
XCOM is weeping for it’s lesser cousin, for it has lost its way.
The turn based combat, oh dear merciful Eris, daughter of Chaos, preserve us all, it’s not very good. I’ll make a presumption, and presume that you have all played the new XCOM:Enemy Unknown, which I know declare the benchmark of turn-based squad gameplay.
Omerta’s connection to the shinning beacon of XCOM, is technical at best, in XCOM, cover was basically everywhere you could see, a tree was cover, a car, a wall. In Omerta? Only where the programmers have determined it to be, can you find cover, so where it’s instinctual in XCOM, it becomes illogically flawed in Omerta.
The complete lack of any serious customization beyond slightly better guns makes the game even shallower. There’s no armour, so when the game ramps up the difficulty, oh boy, does shit ever die. It becomes a matter of luck if you can even manage to drag all your gangsters through a combat mission.
Should I play this?
No. You really shouldn’t, perhaps with an expansion pack it might become more interesting, and if Steam comes around with a giant sale, you could pick it up, if you are so desperate for a Gangster empire builder.
However, if you want a tough-as-nails crime simulator? I suggest Gangsters: Organized Crime. With the warning, that I suck at it.
I give it 36/100.