Bulgarian Developer Haemimont Games (of Tropico fame) is at it again with a new city building game — only this one has a twist. Omerta: City of Gangsters takes the city building found in games like Tropico and Sim City, and combines it with the combat style of games such as XCOM or Final Fantasy Tactics. Omerta: City of Gangsters breaks new ground and becomes a truly unique experience.
Omerta is a Roaring ’20s gangster simulation game. The player takes on the role of a mob boss who is building up an empire based in Atlantic City. It is up to the player to establish buildings to make the family money, places to launder the dirty money into spendable clean money, and to either befriend or crush rival families. All this must be done while avoiding unnecessary attention from the police.
The combat system in the game works well. Fans of XCOM will feel right at home while playing Omerta. The player takes control of a small squad of gang members and must complete tasks such as freeing an ally from capture, escaping an ambush or many other scenarios. The combat feels like a cross between Final Fantasy Tactics and Fallout. Each member of the gang has a limited number of Movement Points and Action Points. Once a gang member takes an action, all of their Movement Points are emptied and that member is forced to stand in his current location until his next turn. The system is very engaging and forces the player to think strategically. Should they rush the enemies and take them out as quickly as possible or should they utilize stealth and distractions to lure the enemies into traps? Each combat sequence in Omerta offers unique ways to play.
Omerta: City of Gangsters does a lot of things right. Adding a combat system is a great touch to an otherwise slow genre. The combat is very fluid, responsive and fun. However, the city building offers enough to satisfy fans of the game style. Additionally, the story does a great job of making the player feel like an actual mob boss trying to establish their own empire.
Omerta does have its weak points. The game’s tutorial does a great job of explaining how to build an empire but combat and stats are barely explained. This means that players are left on their own to figure out how to fight efficiently and understand the fundamentals of the stats system. While this may leave players somewhat puzzled in the early goings, it is easily overcome and does not present a huge obstacle.
The biggest problem Omerta has is optimization. This game runs incredibly poorly, which is a problem considering it does not use detailed graphics to begin with. Top-down city building games are generally very easy on a PC because everything is rendered in lower resolutions. The issue here is that Omerta causes even a medium grade gaming PC to either chug or move down to low settings. However, this seems like an issue with optimization that can easily be fixed before the full version of the game is launched.
Overall, Omerta: City of Gangsters is a very enjoyable experience. While it may run poorly and leave the player in the dark in some aspects, the game does a lot well. The combat and city building are very entertaining and blend well. The story is very strong for a game in this genre and definitely draws the player in. Despite its flaws, Omerta is a unique game that adds a twist to the city building genre. With a bit of polish and work, Omerta will be a hit when it releases in 2013.
Omerta: City of Gangsters is scheduled to release for Xbox 360 and PC via Steam on Feb. 5, 2013.