Review: Omerta: City of Gangsters has a great premise but gets repetitive
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Luckily, the combat keeps the game fresh. Throughout your missions, you'll be presented with opportunities to bust your men out of prison, take on the KKK that are bothering one of your partners, eliminate rival gangs, and other tasks that your men need to flex their firepower for. The combat is like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, where you move each character a set amount of spaces, utilize cover, and fire off attacks at your opponent. Line of sight and positioning are key, as is using attacks that will hinder the enemy. The problem is, once again, depth. You won't feel overpowered with any of your henchmen, and that okay, since they're not supposed to be super soldiers. But the combat is just a little too basic and never felt difficult. The animations for some of the actions are good, but most of them are pretty basic.
I'd say the most strategy comes from choosing your group of four henchmen. You choose from a group consisting of women with tommy guns, guys with intense mustaches and shotguns, pistol-wielding wise guys and a big black guy that would just rather use a baseball bat. Throughout the course of the game, you unlock some other weapons that they can use (they do more damage) and you level up your henchmen. Leveling up gives you the ability to assign a perk to that henchmen. For example, you can give them more finesse so they're more proficient with ranged weapons, give them the ability to move further, make them do more damage the more they attack the same target, or give them more health. Once again, the problem here is depth. The same perks are available to every character, but you're always going to choose the same ones for your ranged characters or melee characters. So the other become a waste to have. A progress/talent tree would've been much more preferred -- one where you can take two different paths for the same type of character.
In addition to the campaign, you are treated to a sandbox mode and multiplayer. Don't be fooled by the name 'sandbox.' You're doing all of the same things that you'd do in the campaign, just without objectives. The goal in sandbox is to choose a territory you want to play in, and then unlock all of the buildings and take over the city. It doesn't take long and has you doing everything you did in the campaign, so it feels like a waste of time. Multiplayer has you skip all of the resource management and city takeover and hop right into combat. You can play cooperative missions with another player against AI opponents, or you can play against another person. I tried to play deathmatch, but at the time of this review, I was only able to get in two full matches. Depending on the order of your characters moves, each henchman gets 60 seconds to move around the battleground and complete their actions. After the match, your ranking will be adjusted and you'll get money. You use money to unlock newer, more powerful weapons, new henchmen, and leveling up those henchmen (which just lets you give them a perk). It's nothing amazing, but it does give the game replay value and allows you to skip right to the combat.
Omerta: City of Gangsters is a solid foundation for a great premise. I had fun the entire time I played it, but it was the lack of depth and some gameplay design that made the game feel repetitive. It left me just wanting to skip to the combat portions of the game because I was getting so bored of watching the same businesses do the same thing in every mission. I definitely would like to see Haemimont Games and Kalypso Media make another or release expansions, because they have something good going on here. Even with all of the repetitiveness and lack of depth, it's hard to not enjoy the game. If you're into the whole 1920s mob era, or are just a fan of strategy games, you'll undoubtedly find value in Omerta: City of Gangsters.