Tag Archives: turn based

Omerta: City of Gangsters Steam Review

Omerta means code of silence, and that’s something that everyone should keep in mind here in Atlantic City where bottles get crushed and fools get poked. In Omerta: City of Gangsters players run through Absecon Beach, Illinois Ave, Maine Ave, Virginia Ave, North Carolina Ave, or Downtown Atlantic City. Choose your character from a series of mob personalities that would probably be called wise guys in their time. Select their stats based on their nickname around the hood growing up, whether it’s something like “Earful, Berries, or Hood”, and proceed. Answer a series of questionnaires that will define you as a person and then select how much gang violence you would like to be taking place around you (and towards you), then finally gameplay begins.

A top down view of the area you hope to one day control appears. Players can hire and fire a setting-appropriate cast of characters including Ma’ Evans, Big Man, Wolf, Dandy, Happy, Fishman, Squigs, Loony, and more. Ah, who could forget good old Squigs, a true right hand man. He would gut a man for me at just $15 a day and I wouldn’t hesitate to fire him if he told an unfunny joke. Quickly it becomes obvious that this title is more about strategy than actual mafia life. What a funny way to approach an economic simulator I thought to myself. Well, okay. I’ve enjoyed some of those in my day and actually think it’s a pretty cool way to present one. So is it actually any good?

 

After amassing a full crew, upgrading my hideout and extorting a few local spots I came to realize that Omerta isn’t completely terrible. Members of your crew can be zoomed in on and observed making their daily rounds as dirty money and clean money are both earned (and kept separately of course), daily salaries to your thugs are paid out, liquor is acquired, and the business expands.

Players start out with their main man as a Level 1 Mastermind while other characters in their gang are somewhat expendable and have their own purpose such as Enforcing, Burglary, helping with Mastermind duties, Grifting, and more. Each character gets their own stats, equipment, perks, and talents which are advanced as things continue. Not only do players focus on getting them to accomplish earning for the great good of the mob they control, but they also have to think about the well-being of each individual by tracking any persistent wounds. After all, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.

Deals can be made with other gangsters who got what you want, or want what you need to get rid of. Money talks and, well you know what walks already don’t you. After all, it’s 2014 but after a few hours of sensual jazz pumped into your ear Omerta: City of Gangster’s soundtrack has you feeling alright with a trip down memory lane (that is memories from your past life). Some of these deals come with a catch of course, it’s not all fun and games in the life of crime. You can pay to increase your reputation in the streets, pay for guns, and even pay later for money given to you now. But when deals go sour, that’s when things really get interesting.

Crooked Deals offer players a way to test the mettle of their gang’s members by pitting them in sticky situations where shots fire and not everyone gets to go home unharmed. Maybe things will be easier when we’re all microchipped and vaccinated by those micro-machines in The Matrix films, but back in the dirty days of booze and fedoras, hot lead answered the questions of justice.

A strategic economic simulation turns into a turn-based shootout when deals go crooked and it really feels awesome to take part in it. Send out some of your men and control their every action from using a first aid if wounded to which types of shots to fire at their enemies. That being said, the weapons of Omerta range from baseball bats to samurai swords, rifles, pistols, tommy guns, and more. Players have to get a grip on what each character’s role is in the fight and respond accordingly while moving from cover to cover, or risk having their salary-earning hustlers become victims to the ginsu. After seeing war in the street crew members level up and can gain bonuses that are tailored to their particular skill-set (or however you please if that’s not the case).

As the game advances further from early beginnings to more complex mafia management, jobs and killing becomes routine. Heists, shoot-outs, dirty cops, and drunk damsels trying to get out of paying for their booze become commonplace. Jazz is replaced by Swing and some great things begin to happen. The local area you run is transformed and citizens feel happier for having you around, at least they better be – why I oughtta… Keeping track of how much is coming in, how much is going out, how much is clean, and how much is dirty are always challenges but can become normal to the brain of an economic strategist. When all else fails, let your enemies know its time to get hit, get shot, and get sliced. Everyone’s a haggler though, and even regular customers try to pull a fast one on you. Respect is just a fickle thing I guess.

Players establish more and more of a Mafia presence in their area by establishing Breweries, additional Safe Houses, Hidden Storage locations, Smuggler spots, Boxing Arenas, Private Investigation rings, Soup Kitchens, Distilleries, Accountant firms, Counterfeiters, Wholesale warehouses, Labor Unions, and all while keeping enemy gangs at bay. Once vehicles and guns are plentiful though a few drive-bys are definitely in order for assisting in this task. Goons can also be hired for stand up security keeping your each of your joints clear of issues. An informant can be sent around town to hear about even more opportunities you haven’t gotten to yet. Sometimes when the heat gets too heavy, Investigators snoop around and need to be bribed or otherwise dealt with. There are often multiple ways to deal with a situation, whether its getting information from the neighborhood gossip corner or murdering the competition. Shots ring out in the middle of the night and nobody seems to care or question why. That’s life in the fast lane.

Final Verdict:

I’ll take Omerta: City of Gangsters over SimCity any day. Taking things into your own hands when deals go crooked feels great, and there’s so much to do in a corrupt and fun city full of violence and economic potential that it’s hard to stop playing once you start. A few ways the game could be improved include a better looking and slightly more intuitive user interface (though what is presented is not too bad), as well as a more exciting and reasonable introductory experience to the game. The campaign is dull and players will likely favor simply playing through their own way instead of the arbitrary goals that are handed down. It sure would be nice if the Multiplayer had managed to keep its player base too. But there’s not too much to complain about overall though, since Sandbox mode is awesome, and we highly recommend this simulation title to everyone in the gaming community.

Official Trailer:

Overall Score: 8 / 10

RGN Rating: Silver Game

Developer: Haemimont Games

Publisher: Kalypso Media

Available On: PC | Mac OS X

Played On: Windows PC

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140727 and was last modified on 20140727 .

Blackguards Review

With Blackguards, Daedalic Entertainment have created a game that is not easy to get into but unlocks tons of fun and satisfying gameplay for hardcore role playing game fans who are able to master its control set and user interface. If those don’t scare you off, then you’re in for a treat. Blackguards rewards players with a decent story, great battles, and an easy on the eyes experience that easily stands out in its genre.

Blackguards is a tactical role playing game that takes place on a grid with each square representing a slot for the player-controlled characters as well as enemies to move onto and perform actions on. Items on the grid are also able to be interacted with such as boxes to set on fire and on at least one occasion rope to be cut causing a chandelier to fall on opponents. Sometimes players have to close up nests of enemies while other times for an additional example. Enemies range greatly as the story progresses and vary in strengths and weaknesses causing players to rethink their strategy at all times. It’s easy to try the battle again if you fail, and sometimes this game will make you feel dumb – but persevere and it will all be worth it in the end.

This is a game that requires real tactics, and real thinking. Everything in the battles that are presented is based on what’s practical. Characters with ranged abilities need to be kept back while higher defense and physically-oriented characters run up on enemies for up-close action. Sometimes enemies can knock you down, use items on the battlefield, or prompt other unexpected events that keep the player feeling a sense of anticipation breaking any sort of monotony from forming.

Players must set up equipment before in between battles and can’t use the inventory screen during battles. Taking a rest between scenes is possible provided they have enough of the necessary provisions remaining. this will restore all characters to full health and restore their vitality. Switching between weapon sets mid-battle will take up a turn, but means that players have a diverse set of options to use while reacting to the sometimes rapidly thinking, highly tactical artificial intelligence. On the belt, players bring a few items such as bandages to have characters heal each other as well as Astral Potions for regaining energy to cast spells with.

Commands are given to each character using a wheel of options brought up by right clicking the mouse button on a grid and then selecting a section as well as sub-selection within it. Hot keys can also be set for the most common and favored attacks. Using the controls and interface can be a little challenging at first but once players get the hang of things they’ll be glad they did. This title has a lot to offer for true role playing game fans of the turn-based variety.

The main narrative of the game, which I described briefly in our Hands-On Preview of Blackguards back in december, is appended by optional side-quests, dialogue choices based on which character in your party you’d like to participate in the discussion at hand, towns with equipment, gambling, tall tales, and often more.

Speaking again on the few negative points of the title, and where the developers need to focus on improving if they ever attempt another Tactical RPG (or Strategy RPG depending which term you prefer), a few times it became difficult to select the right tile that I wanted to interact with. The user interface needs work in a few ways and that is one of them. While the camera angles presented are definitely interesting and beautiful to look at, the inability to rotate the view seemed odd since the 3D visuals seem to be fully fleshed out suggesting that the feature could have been there. Although the characters are not voice acted extremely well, the overall writing of the game’s story-line has many moments that feel sparse in excitement and pretty typical.

The plot has potential, and it could have been done worse, but while it doesn’t come off as particularly “bad” – some players will be unable to find immersion with Blackguards. The storytelling pace is good and all efforts to give each battle plenty of pre-text and context are successful, but the voice acting certainly could have been a lot more gripping and would have provided a better experience for the player if it were.

That being said, the gameplay is exciting and fun enough to propel this title passed its faults. I found myself getting lost in the accumulation of equipment, side-questing for money to buy better weapons / armor / items, and mastering different types of battle scenarios using a wide range of tactics and strategies that began to feel like a Madden playbook for the turn-based, grid-centered RPG universe.

The upgrade system in Blackguards adds a lot of replay value as well and extends gameplay hours significantly. The type of player that gets into RPG systems won’t be let down here as there are several different categories to level up and players can even expedite learning from teachers found along the journey. Skill base values, Weapon Talents, Talent Levels, Spells, and Special Abilities can be gained and customized for each character in the game. This combined with the mid-battle swapping of equipment setups and the hot-key behaviors eventually allows the player to clear their mind of micro-management and focus on being the ultimate strategist under pressure.

Final Verdict:

Blackguards is one of the few shining examples of how modern turn-based gaming should be in a tactical role playing game. Though once I had gotten used to it I can’t imagine the user interface being any different, it took some effort to really flow quickly and intuitively within the control system presented. Perhaps a better approach could have been taken with that. The voice acting does little to convince and the story can be mediocre at times, but overall it gets the player where they need to go and provides a decent backdrop for the real meat of the sandwich, which is of course the tactical battles therein.

Visually the game has moments that are stunning, animations that are very professionally crafted and polished, and never manages to look bad. The audio quality feels polished as well, with no bugs experienced from the game engine and load times in the final build zooming incredibly fast. Blackguards is what Tactical RPG fans want from life, and is well worth the asking cost. This is a high quality product that has come a long way since its early build showing the dedication, work ethic, and skill level of Daedalic Entertainment. Blackguards gets an 8.75 out of 10 from RealGamerNewz earning it the RGN Silver Game Rating.

Official Trailer:

Official Score: 8.75/10

RGN Rating: Silver Game

Developer / Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

Available On: PC | Mac OS X

Played On: Windows PC

Review Copy Info: A digital copy of the game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20140217 and was last modified on 20140217 .