|System: Xbox 360*, PC|
|Dev: Haemimont Games|
|Pub: Kalypso Media Digital|
|Release: February 12, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol Reference, Blood, Language, Violence|
There are three main ways to play Omerta. The single-player campaign is essentially a string of micro scenarios, giving you a goal to reach and ushering you on to the next stage once you have reached it. Unfortunately, your actions in prior scenarios have no effect on your actions in later ones. You simply start from the beginning on a new map and go through the motions once more.
Sandbox mode is there for simulation buffs that prefer to create their own dream mob empire. Unfortunately, this also starts to get boring quickly. Unlike SimCity and several other simulation games, the map doesn’t change much in Omerta. At the start, you’ll see a grey-brown representation of a prohibition-era city, and when you have completed your grand conquest of all things mafia-related, you’ll see a grey-brown representation of that same city with some icons spinning over it. So there isn’t a whole lot to show for endlessly slaving away at the mafia life other than a few high numbers, which might be satisfying for score junkies, but it provides very little motivation for the rest of us.
The game also has multiplayer modes for both co-op and competitive play. However, you are literally getting only half of the experience. Multiplayer does away with the simulation aspects of the game altogether, focusing solely on the combat. While squaring off against your friend in turn-based battles is fun and the battles themselves move at a brisk pace, there are only four maps to play on, which makes you abandon multiplayer after only a few matches. It just doesn’t have any staying power.
Omerta: City of Gangsters has a few things going for it: The soundtrack is pleasantly jazzy, the graphics aren’t the worst (even if they are boringly brown), the voice acting is actually well done and fun to listen to, and the backstory-driven character generation has lots of potential. However, the story of the character creation system is a good metaphor for the game as a whole: It’s a great idea that failed to capitalize on the potential it had. Omerta isn’t Haemimont’s best, and it certainly isn’t Tropico. It’s fun at times, but it drags too often and gives little reward. Perhaps this is some sort of insightful moral commentary on the criminal lifestyle, but even then it doesn’t make the game any more fun.
Angelo M. D’Argenio
Date: February 20, 2013