Omerta: City of Gangsters Review
After viewing baseball bats swinging towards my mafia boss’s head and fire bombs fly through the windows at my gang, I can say I am addicted to the gameplay in Omerta: City of Gangsters.
When scenes like this go down in the combat sections of the game the only thing I can think of is how am I going to retaliate and destroy the oppositions businesses. The beauty of Omerta is you can do that to some extent. Most of the combat comes about because of something you were doing to a rival business. Finish the fight alive and be rewarded with the competitions money pipeline.
The guys at Haemimont Games took what they learned from their giant of a city-building simulation Tropico 3 and applied it here, just with a mafia twist on it. There isn’t as much detail in Omerta as there was in Tropico, but overall still an enjoyable experience that I will keep coming back to for the foreseeable future.
You start your journey up the crime ladder as a new to the city immigrant with nothing in your pockets but five dollars and a dream. The campaign immediately throws you into a tutorial that helps to get your business running as well as teach you the ropes. Getting information on your area, raiding a brewery, then selling off everything you stole with your newly recruited gang member, Squigs.
From there you move from one area of Atlantic City to the next, completing odd jobs for crime bosses or the local community. Nothing is very persistent however, when you start a new level you begin with some money from the previous mission, but no goods or businesses. Each level you start from scratch and try to complete your objectives without killing off your characters in combat.
And that is can be a task in itself, combat can be difficult or extremely easy. Sometimes the enemies don’t have any idea what they are doing with themselves. I have had games where Ku Klux Klan members run up to cover right beside my men and just wait. Others times it feels like the AI cheats, enemies occasionally shoot through solid brick walls and score perfect hit after hit.
I am not sure if this is a glitch or just some under-lying mechanic at work in the game. Overall it does not detract from the experience and the combat is still something I look forward to going into, especially after purchasing a new weapon upgrade.
There are different types of weapons available throughout the game, from pistols and shotguns to knives and baseball bats. Each one has a couple of levels worth of upgrades that need to be purchased from dirty police or crime lords scattered about the map. Each has distinct characteristics and comes down to your personal preference more often than it does a requirement.
Omerta comes with a few different game modes for you to spend time in, Campaign, Free Mode, and Multiplayer. The free mode is exactly what it sounds like, you choose from one of four maps from the campaign mode and start with nothing but your hideout and some money. It is incredibly easy on normal and easy difficulties, I experienced a lot of waiting around during my time in this mode.
It is not hard to earn tons of money and control the map, I did it within an hour and had over $100,000 Dirty Money and $100,000 Clean Cash. I owned every business and they were all fully upgraded along with my hideout being maxed. The only thing I did have to keep me busy was watching the money counter go up higher and higher and the occasional odd job from a crime lord or random event. Omerta thrives on its campaign mode and having players working towards objectives.
Multiplayer is also a welcome addition and will give you plenty of play-time. From the main lobby area you can choose your gang members that you want to take into battle. Each one can be leveled up for a certain amount of money, allowing you to choose perks that help them in combat. Additionally each one can be customized with your preferred weapon for a certain price.
Once you decide on a game mode, which there are four of; Gang War, Get The Money, Bank Heist, and Jailbreak, you will load into a game with a random player.
Gang War is exactly like the campaign’s combat except the enemy is another player, during the games I played you couldn’t tell. The maps are small and make sure you get into a fight quickly.
Get The Money is a crime take on Capture the Flag, one player must defend the cash, the other must do everything in their power to take it and escape to the getaway cars. This mode is a lot of fun and gives you an objective to accomplish instead of just one on one.
Bank Heist is a cooperative game mode, with two players teaming up to rob a bank and get away with the cash. My experience with this mode was hectic to say the least, I had no idea what the other player was going to do so I had to focus on his gang as well as mine to survive. This one is definitely gonna be good with future content and some friends you can talk to over a voice chat server.
And finally Jailbreak, another cooperative mode tasking two players to break into a jail, free their friends, and quickly escape. This one is as hard as you would think breaking into a jail would be. Frantic shootouts and some swearing will surely ensue.
Graphically, Omerta will stand out in the Strategy genre of games. The portraits for your gang members are skillfully hand drawn and show a level of detail I have yet to see. Along with that the world around you looks perfect, you can make out landmarks and stop and watch people go about their business. Each vehicle passing by is detailed and looks like a real time-period car.
To make sure you feel right in the world the sound design draws you into perfectly. The soundtrack feels like a mix of The Godfather and what it must have been like sitting in a bar in the 20’s. Occasionally the sound will skip, I noticed that the most in combat, gunfire would fail to register as a noise and just be canceled out. When doing a drive-by however you could hear the roar of the Tommy Gun’s from across the town.
You get your money’s worth with Omerta: City of Gangsters right out of the box. That is not to say the game couldn’t use a few updates and some DLC to make the experience even better. I would recommend anyone who was a fan of the Tropico games or turn-based combat titles to grab Omerta.