hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Omerta: City of Gangsters
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Review: Omerta: City of Gangsters

5:00 PM on 02.03.2013 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

Refuse this offer

When a Don asks you a favor, you can't refuse 'em. No matter what, you have to take what's on the table, and one day, somewhere down the line, he'll return that favor.

Omerta: City of Gangsters asked me to buy into the idea that it would show me a meaningful series of events, moral choices, and a complex combat system. It promised me an enjoyable experience.

Halfway in, I found out that I was the victim of a fix. A setup, you see. Because Omerta wasn't the Don it claimed to be.

By the end, I just wanted to whack him and get it over with.

Omerta: City of Gangsters (PC [reviewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Haemimont Games AD
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Release: January 31, 2013 (PC)/February 12, 2013 (Xbox 360)
MSRP: $39.99
Rig: Intel i3-2370M, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 555 GPU

As a second-generation Italian American, I grew up infatuated with mob films and the romanticism of organized crime. Even in college, I studied Criminology for one of my majors, and my thesis was on the motivations of modern day Robin Hoods of the 1920s and beyond.

Naturally, I gravitated towards Omerta: City of Gangsters, which on paper, is a mix of the resource development mechanics of Tropico, and the turn based combat of XCOM. However, it was clear from the get-go this lacked the same polish as the developer's Tropico franchise. Some early warning signs flashed when I was asked to set up a painfully generic tough guy avatar and choose some canned traits (think Elder Scrolls, but less detailed).

I chose the dude who looked like a young Alec Baldwin -- my nickname is "The Earful," I grew up as a stonemason, and my weapon of choice is a pistol. The game began, and a generic voiceover came on over top of a series of still images, explaining my motivations for power.

All of this pre-game fluff is fugazi (fake), fellas -- it's to trick you into thinking your choices really matter. More on that later.

Once you're actually ready to take on Atlantic City circa 1920, you get a full overview of the town, which is yours for the taking. On the world map, which is set up like a smaller version of Sim City, you can manage the structures you own, and look at new ones to take over. 

In order to gain resources at first, all you have to do is send out your henchmen to do menial tasks like rob neighborhoods, wait for the money to roll in, buy establishments to earn more cash, and repeat. Hiring new thugs helps you earn more actions (and units in combat), and each thug can be simplistically kitted out in case there's a combat situation. And that's the game, basically.

You send people on jobs, you wait, and you do some more jobs until there's occasionally top down strategy style combat. If you've ever played a free-to-play Farmville style game, you'll know what I mean, as it feels like a basic resource farming game. There's only a few resources to manage -- money (split into clean and dirty cash) beer, liquor, and firearms, and you won't run out of any of them, so long as you're willing to wait for more cash to get them. It doesn't matter if the structure you choose to create for money making purposes is a boxing club or a speakeasy; it all either earns you dough, or resources that you can trade for dough. They progress at a set interval, as you wait to progress to the next linear, scripted mission.

The game tries to mix things up, but everything blurs into one giant resource. Soup Kitchens can increase your "likability" while other buildings, such as pizza joints, increase your "fear" rating. These ratings are supposed to allow you to perform different actions like gaining the ability to kick people out of their houses through fear, but it all comes back to the same one goal: get more money.

Activities such as robbing buildings or butting heads with other rival gangsters is, in theory, a way to decrease your "like" rating and give you trouble. The problem is, I never really noticed any changes on a consistent basis, as you can eventually get everything you want so long as you have the patience to click on enough buildings and wait.

One actual negative consequence you can get by clicking with reckless abandon is a high "heat" level, that will unceremoniously bring up a screen saying "unless you choose one of these options, you lose the game". Generally, your choices are to bribe the police, blame someone else, or fight them to "destroy the evidence."

The funny thing is that by enabling actions to raise the heat and reach this impasse, you were in turn doing actions that let you obtain a ton of cash to more than pay off the heat level. Once your heat rating indicator gets high, all you have to do is wait, get enough cash, and then raise your heat one more time and pay them off.

Presto: then the cycle begins anew. By the time the heat level raises incrementally to a relatively high amount of cash, the mission will be finished, and you'll start another one completely fresh. Nothing really matters big picture wise.

Literally everything in the overworld portion of the game can be swept under the rug on a mission by mission basis. You're never really in danger outside of the combat half of the game -- but that has its own set of issues.

Once conflict arises on scripted occasions, Omerta will switch to the game's asynchronous RTS style battle mode. Omerta allows you to choose perks and respec for a cost, but all of the game's perk options are basically "increase this stat," so you don't have to spend hours deliberating on what to pick -- everything starts to blend together. Combat dialogue is even worse than the core game's, consisting of constant sound bites like "I'm way better than you!" and "See me and you die!"

If you lose a fight, it usually means game over, but you can just load an autosave (which always saves right before combat) or a manual save up and try again. Some battles even give you the option of automatically simulating the fight (think Total War, or forcing locks in Fallout). For the sake of testing, I tried re-loading an autosave over and over before a battle, and seeing if the "auto-battle" option would work if I spammed it. It did.

Unlike XCOM: Enemy Unknown or a number of other strategy games, the outcomes are not predetermined every time to prevent an exploitation like reloading -- so you can in essence, game the system.

Movement for all of your units is also really sloppy. There's no grid or hex-based indicator for moving around, so you're at the mercy of clicking at an area, and hoping they arrive where you want them to. Many, many times my characters were supposed to snap into cover, only to be left in the open entirely and die a gruesome death. 

All of this is a shame, because one of the best parts of the game is the beautiful period setting and the pitch-perfect soundtrack. Like Boardwalk Empire, the developer does a great job encapsulating the 1920s feel to a tee. Although the story and characters are woefully generic, they really nailed the theme.

Once you're done with the samey campaign, you can replay it again on one of its three difficulties, tackle the game's coop and competitive multiplayer, or play sandbox mode. The problem with multiplayer is that it plays into the same trappings as the single player's strategy portion of the game. In order to really enjoy it, you really should get with another person over voice chat who's willing to suffer through all of the problems listed above.

Unless the developer adds some serious free DLC and content updates to make your choices more meaningful, you probably aren't going to want to play it again.

If you're really into mafia movies and other cosa nostra flavored dealings, you might get some pure novelty enjoyment out of it on a Steam sale, provided you can put up with the repetitive nature of the game. For everyone else, it's probably best to "forgettaboutit".



THE VERDICT

5

Omerta: City of Gangsters - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Average - Like a meal of lukewarm water with white bread. It filled my time and my belly, but lacks any discernible flavor or nutritional value. A game that left me no different than it found me. Just passing through.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Steven Hansen avatarSteven Hansen
Idris Elba needs to be James Bond & heck to anyone who thinks otherwise
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We need a Dtoid RPG that stars Mr Destructoid, Gardevoir, Macho Man Randy Savage, and MATT DAMON. The hub zone will be Nekro's dungeon.
Cynic without a Cause avatarCynic without a Cause
In the middle of discovering a bunch of Hirasawa Susumu's non-film related work. Currently listening to Planet Roll Call. Fantastic album!
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
*Looks at Battle.net* League of Storm Heroes. Magic: The Hearthstone. Diablo. Starcraft. World of Warcraft. Oh, pay $10 to unlock Tychus. ...Guys, is Blizzard evil? I mean really, despicably, EA-level evil?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Do you enjoy MOBA games such as LoL, Dota 2, or HOTS? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
The Witcher 3 is 30% off on GOG.com, if you thought it was a bit expensive at launch. You get store credit too.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Realized I've turned on my PS3 in the past month or two only to watch Mario cartoon DVDs. I really need to get around to playing something - anything - on it.
Perro avatarPerro
Listening to Studio Ghibli Collection at work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WbO_LPXDo Reminds me that my dad really liked Howl's Moving Castle. He's retired military and serious most of the time but rather enjoyed its fanciful world.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Sorry for my inactivity... I've been lacking motivation and have nothing on my mind right now so i haven't blogged in a while. Still playing Grandia 2 anniversarry, getting annoyed by mount and blade warband's phantasy calradia mod and other shit...
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Donkey Kong Land 3 Any% Speedruns, right now! [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Remember Black? That PS2 era shooter from Criterion? It has a REALLY good orchestral soundtrack. I'm gonna throw that in my MGSV iDroid. Why not.
CaseyCor avatarCaseyCor
Can't sleep cast: Donkey Kong Land Any% [url]http://www.twitch.tv/caseycor[/url]
ooktar avatarooktar
Defeated a sniper in MGS V by dropping supplies on his head. 10/10.
Nat Monney avatarNat Monney
I'm with 3 other guys and we're about to release a mobile game we started almost 3 years ago. What should we do ? [youtube]https://youtu.be/5EGPUBZCGwo[/youtube]
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys I'm on a train what should I do?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Traded in a bunch of old Star Trek novels and other books at a used bookstore. Made $10 and got Tori Amos' "Strange Little Girls" album along with it. They made me take the William Shatner novels back. Smart clerks.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube]https://youtu.be/XJkZX0rKElY[/youtube]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Also I will be reviewing freedom wars. I didnt make it to the end. I will not be kind to it. There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Yeah....been there before.
techsupport avatartechsupport
MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10.
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Omerta: City of Gangsters


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -