Omerta: City of Gangsters is a fantastic old-school role-playing game like the ones we used to play back in the day. There hasn’t been a strategy game since the early 90’s that can stack up to Omerta. Kalypso Media has brought back the enjoyment of strategy-based games with this release. I haven’t had this much fun with a strategy game in a very long time.
Omerta is divided into two different components – a strategy based map overview and an RTS combat system. The strategy portion of Omerta is very easy to understand, yet complex at the same time. The game takes place during the roaring twenties when prohibition existed and alcohol was illegal to possess and consume.
The strategy portion of Omerta is comprised of multiple steps that must be completed to finish a level. You must repeat these same steps during the course of each mission/chapter. The main objective(s) for each mission involves obtaining monies for purchasing illegal businesses to smuggle or distribute alcohol. There are many ways to distribute alcohol, and this can be accomplished by building your own breweries and distilleries. You can also rob/raid your competitors’ breweries and distilleries for their alcohol and then sell everything for a profit.
Omerta plays like a classic gangster game from the early nineteen-nineties, but the only difference is that it doesn’t completely rely on real-time strategy mechanics. The real-time strategy mechanics that do exist come into play during combat when you take control of your characters. Depending on what action you take during combat, your gangsters will move or attack, but it depends on whether you use a special attack or not.
Certain special attack skills require both MP and AP. When performing standard attacks, you can move and attack your opponents. Some skills do not require Movement Points (MP) or Action Points (AP) to be used. And while combat is turn-based, it feels more like a real-time strategy game. Plus, the enemy AI is fierce; it constantly gives you a challenge.
Despite how small the chapter/mission map may seem, you basically have free reign to do whatever you want. There is plenty to keep you busy during each mission. But if the small maps bother you, there is an open sandbox option for players who don’t like the confined feeling of the single-player campaign. As you progress through the single-player campaign, the world map expands the longer you play.
Omerta teaches you how to operate and run an organized crime operation. As stated earlier, Omerta is very simple, but very complex at the same time. There isn’t much of a learning curve, but what you do need to learn can be easily taught through the built-in tutorial system.
The bulk of your money is earned by operating breweries and distilleries that produce illegal alcohol such as beer and hard liquor. Even though this produces plenty of capital early on, you can earn additional money by participating in side-missions. These side-missions consist of buying and selling firearms, liquor, and beer. Some of them consist of loan sharking and other small favors. You can choose to either take these missions on or not; the choice is up to you.
These missions can be very lucrative and they can help establish your crime empire, but you can also choose to do things on your own. The law will also keep its eyes on you. There are many ways you can take care of the law, but deciding on how to do it can be the hard part. Police officers can be paid off to look the other way; witnesses can be murdered; and evidence can be destroyed.
Omerta’s online community is constantly active with players, so you can always find someone to play with. There are four different online gaming modes available — Gang War, Get The Money, Bank Heist and Jailbreak. Out of these four different game modes, two of them are cooperative and two are PvP (player versus player). The online portion of Omerta has something for everyone. If you are a PVP gamer, Gang War and Get The Money are tailored to you. Jailbreak and Bank Heist, on the other hand, cater more to casual gamers. As you play online, you will earn money that can be used to purchase more henchmen and additional equipment such as firearms and melee weapons.
Playing online can be a real blast, especially when you’re battling players via Gang War and Get The Money. Since the game is based on strategy, you have to constantly out think your opponents, especially during Gang Wars when you’re fighting against two-to-three different teams. The adrenaline rush you feel during these matches is extremely enjoyable and sweating it out between turns is excruciating.
The cooperative modes are just as much fun, if not more enjoyable than PVP because you’re working together to accomplish the same common goal. Having an additional player to help you is also necessary to complete the objectives. The only downside to playing online is the lack of an in-game chat system to communicate with other players.
Omerta has two different leader boards; one for cooperative play and the other for PVP. One great feature is the ability to import your Friends List from either Steam, Twitter or Facebook. If you would rather not use any of these options, you can add a friend directly through Omerta’s lobby chat system.
The graphics are the star of the game as they accurately depict the roaring twenties. The buildings, outfits and vehicles look authentic to the time period. Even the voice acting is remarkable. Some of the actors sound like they’re from New York City or Sicily even though the game takes place in Atlantic City.
The music sounds like it came from a 1920’s speakeasy. It helps to set the mood, especially during combat. In some ways, it resembles the music from Brian De Palma’s movie The Untouchables – from the heavy bass to the piano scores. Being from the same era as the movie The Untouchables, you can’t help but make a comparison since both are based on the same premise.
Developers seem to be revisiting older game concepts and reviving them for a new generation. Doing this adds a refreshing alternative to the genres we enjoy playing today. Omerta: City of Gangsters is a beautiful game; it represents an era that was rife with conflict and illegal misdoings. It also allows the player to experience the trials and tribulations of being a Mafia Don while making it fun. If you are looking for a great game with an old-school approach on the turn-based strategy genre, Omerta: City of Gangsters is definitely that game.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittarp
Platform: PC (Available on Steam)
OS: Windows XP SP3 32-bit, Vista SP2, Windows 7
Processor: 2 GHz Dual Core
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Geforce 8800, Radeon HD 2000, Pixel Shader 3.0, 256 MB discrete RAM
Hard Drive: 5 GB HD space
Sound: DirectX compatible
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
|Beautiful and charming, Omerta’s graphics are stunning.|
|Elegant music and impressive narration adds to the experience.|
|Omerta’s old-school combat system is memorable.|
|Omerta will have you glued to your seat as you play both single-player and multiplayer campaigns.|