Omerta: City of Gangsters is a strategy game taking place during the 1920’s in Atlantic City. With the promise of an accurate depiction of Atlantic City and the unique feeling of 1920’s noire gangster films, Omerta City of Gangsters is a game that stands out among other strategy titles. There are two ways to play, on PC and the Xbox 360. In this review I will touch up on both versions giving them each a score.
You take on the role of a fresh off the boat immigrant with the intention of living the American dream. You will do anything it takes to make it big in Atlantic City, illegally of course. To the police, you are just an honest businessman. By performing jobs, favors, and killing all those who stand in your way, you will expand your empire across 20 different districts of the city.
The story has that mobster atmosphere not many games have these days. Sure you have the Mafia series and the Godfather games, but Omerta: City of Gangsters has something those other games don’t have, suitable storytelling. The ways the game’s cutscenes play are like moving paintings/drawings. The artwork meshes perfectly with not only the time era, but the narration as well. CoG does such a good job portraying a 1920’s gangster vibe. It really gets you in the mood.
The gameplay is set up kind of like XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Sim City. You will send out your henchman to perform various jobs around the town slowly gaining money and power to fulfill the necessary objectives to progress the game. The gameplay is kept the same throughout both versions of the game. The biggest difference is the controls. I will get to that later.
Starting off in every district with some seed money you will have to buy your way into the likeness of the already established business owners. There are numerous businesses like Speakeasies, Breweries, Warehouses, Protection Rackets etc. Everything you can think of that the mob could take control of. You can also interact with other crime lords, the police, congressmen, and celebrities to make other people like or fear you. Depending on your Liked and Fear rating, some of your businesses will perform better than others. For instance, the Pizzaria works best when your fear rating is high when boxing arenas work best when you have a high feared rating.
You will have to manage two kinds of currency, Clean and Dirty. Dirty is obviously the easiest to obtain but some missions will require to gain clean money. There are many ways to obtain clean money like selling liquor through pharmacies or laundering your dirty money through accountants. The micromanaging real time gameplay mechanic is only half the fun. There is also a turn based combat system that allows you to pull off other jobs like jailbreaks, shootouts, and bank heists.
Depending on the mission you will choose yourself and your henchman to participate in fights against those who wish to stop you. Each character has a fighting style and weapon to use. All with pros and cons to take into account. You must use cover and assess your surroundings to ensure you do not die in the fight, because your performance in the next one will be severely hindered until you heal.
Upon completing missions in certain areas you will gain levels for the henchman that participated. Here you can choose their new abilities which offer a huge amount of possibilities. With weapons and additional skills through level up no two henchmen will behave the same. Not to mention they all have unique stats and backgrounds to take into account when employing them. You will have to give your members a paycheck as well.
The biggest differences between the PC and 360 versions are the controls. PC is all mouse and keyboard so everything plays out like a strategy game should. Strategy titles such as this do not usually work well on console. I was rather surprised with the controls on the Xbox version. The button mapping takes some getting used to but other-wise, they are responsive and reasonable. You will accidentally end your turn in fights but that decreases when you play the game more. The camera control is the strangest part about the console version of Omerta. You may spend a few minutes trying to figure out where you are on the map due to the camera slipping a lot when searching for new missions.
The separate menus are displayed at the push of a button and you can access the character screens, storage menu, and favor list quickly and easily. Use of both control sticks and the D-Pad are required to navigate the overworld menu and camera. On some occasions you may move the camera when you actually wanted to move the cursor on a submenu. I found the PC version’s controls to be the best but the 360’s version is not that bad. There have been worse, see Red Alert 3 or Halo Wars.
The last thing to talk about is the graphics. While these are generally the last part someone should look at, I do need to mention the differences. The PC’s visuals are obviously better; however, you will need an above average computer to run at max settings with no framerate drops. The 360’s version has that same HD issue I see everywhere, the darkness is too dark and it really kills the visual atmosphere of the game.
Overall the PC version has tighter controls and a clearer picture. The content remains almost identical and both game have multiplayer, competitive and cooperative. Give those a try if you are into that kind of thing. Remember you need XBL Gold to play this game online. If you pick the game up on PC you obviously do not have to give into Microsoft’s pay to play service for multiplayer. PC version of Omerta: City of Gangsters gets a 9/10 and the Xbox 360’s version gets an 8/10. Both versions are fantastic but if you do not have a computer that can run the game, you can just play the console version and get roughly the same experience. This is a must play game. The strategy is brilliantly done and the atmosphere is just downright amazing. Experience it for yourself if you do not believe me.