OXCGN’s Omerta: City Of Gangsters Review
A gangster RPG like no other
by Kent Sobey
© 2013 Kent Sobey
I for one had no idea what the word ‘Omerta’ meant before I played this one.
For those of you like me, Omerta is a code of honour that binds mafia or similar criminal organisations together. It refers to a code of silence, and a non-cooperation with the authorities.
Now that we have got that out of the way, we can get moving with the review of the game, Omerta: City of Gangsters.
City of Gangsters is an RPG at its core but it’s not like any other RPG you’ve played before. Instead of taking control of a single character and crafting him or her how you see fit, you build an entire criminal organisation.
You take the role of Freddie Tannino, who was born in a small village in Sicily. He has come to Atlantic City to live out the American Dream.
Set in the 1920’s, this means that there is a ban on alcohol in the area so the first thing you need to do is set up an operation manufacturing and selling as much booze as possible (naturally).
Once you’ve got the basis for your illegal business on the way, you can start to get your fingers into all sorts of illegal pies, like Money Laundering, Gambling, Killing etc. etc. You know, as you would if you had just moved to a new country.
Each level you play is a small part of the city and comes with its own challenges that you must complete before you can move on. Normally these challenges involve getting rid of a rival gang, or doing some dirty work for someone with a little more power than you. Don’t worry, with a little blood, sweat and tears you’ll be telling them what to do in no time…. Mainly blood though.
Gangster For Hire
Instead, you can hire gangsters, each with their own abilities, and send them on missions that you think suit them. Some characters are better at particular things than others, so if you’re planning a drive by, you might want to send the appropriate person so as to not get caught by the cops.
When you do find yourself in a combat situation, you get to select who comes with you, ‘the boss’. The combat is a turn based strategic system that allows you to move each of your selected players one at a time. Again, each thug you take along with you has different abilities and you can upgrade weapons and other equipment as you would expect.
The combat is good fun, but you need to have a little patience to find it enjoyable. If you’re looking for fast paced action, then this is probably not for you. If you’re a fan of a good game of chess then this is probably right up your alley. Think chess with Gatling guns and knuckle dusters and you’re on the right track.
The contrast between combat and ‘city management’ is great because it takes you from a macro level of management to a very micro one, where every movement makes a difference to the outcome of the fight.
The RPG elements of the game are supposed help you to shape how both combat and city management go, and how you will ultimately take over the city, but it’s just not enough. It doesn’t feel like the choices you make for your gangsters make enough of a difference.
It would have been nice if there were more decisions to make that actually affected the story in a major way. The consequences of making a bad choice are just not there and – for me at least – that’s what makes an RPG worth playing.
That being said, this game has a huge amount of potential. If they were to build on the idea that they have already created, it could result in an amazing game. That’s not to say that it’s not already good – it just needs some refinement.
It is worth playing if you think you have the patience for turn based combat, some very cheesy dialogue and a sound track that is full of bugs. Be prepared though, this game is probably not what you thought it was.
Firstly, it’s fun to play only once you’ve got the hang of it. And I really mean this; before you get the hang of things it just feels clumsy and irritating.
Secondly, because there is some great innovation in the game and new ideas that I’ve not seen in any other game before. It deserves credit for trying something new and different.
I hope this game is a success because I think it will encourage developers to think outside the box a little.