“As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” ~Henry Hill
Like Henry I too had dreams of being a gangster. Who wouldn’t want to live like the Corleones? There have been quite a few gangster and mob-related games over the years., but none of them really grasped the business end of organized crime. With Omerta: City of Gangesters, gamers are transported back to the roarin’ twenties during Prohibition as you begin to build your organized crime empire in Atlantic City. Players will have to manage both their backdoor business and their crews, all the while keeping out of trouble with the law and other unsavory groups.
To begin your career of crime you create your virtual wise guy. The creation tool is a key part of how you’ll play the game, as you’ll be prompted to select various traits for your character. Each trait has a positive and negative effect on the characters stats. Will you be a brute or a more suave wise guy? The choice is yours. Once your digital mobster is made you’ll jump right into the game’s story. The overall goal of the game is to rule the streets of Atlantic City, but you have to work your way up through the ranks and wipe out rival crime families along the way. The story is split into chapters which each take place in a different district of Atlantic City. Each chapter has an overall goal, from cleaning up the streets for the residents, to taking over another gang’s business. On your path to finishing the chapter goal you’ll be faced with different mini-missions. Again they vary and could be combat-based or management-based. One thing that is the same in each chapter is that you’ll have to establish illegal business to earn money and fight other gangs or street thugs. Each chapter felt unique in the missions you faced and the visual look of each district, whether it was the famous boardwalk or even the more rundown sections of town. Unfortunately even though this is an open world game that allows you to play in many different ways, one thing that I didn’t like is that all the hard work you put into a district doesn’t carry over to the next chapter. Establishing a big money making racket in one district won’t give you extra income as you continue your path to the top of the family. The only progress that is made is in your gang choices. You’ll be able to hire various gang members and as they work they earn XP which can be used to give them specialized perks. In my crew I built up multiple melee members and multiple sharpshooters, which allowed me close-range power while hampering the enemy with long-range crippling shots.
The combat is typical turn-based fare,which feels similar to last year’s excellent XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Each gang member’s points dictate how many spaces they can move per turn or how many attacks they can perform. The one key I found is to always work in cover and plan your moves based on the available cover. Unfortunately I found at times places that would logically be cover in the real word weren’t available to be used in the game. For instance I might be able to take cover on one side of a door but not the other side, or an object might be valid cover in one direction but not in the other direction. One neat addition to the combat is the use of the “Support” member. You can assign one member to the support role and they might act as a sniper who will at random times land a devastating shot, or they might be a mole who gets the enemy drunk before battle causing their skills to be lowered. The Support role is always random and might not actually benefit you each fight, but when it does you’ll notice a difference.
Building management is fairly simple and straightforward. You rent properties and then turn them into various businesses. Depending on how you want to make your money you might be solely a manufacturer or a both a manufacturer and distributor. You can build beer breweries and then sell the beer to the local speakeasy. Or, on the other hand, you can build multiple speakeasies and then you’ll have to strike deals with local beer and liquor outfits, or you could always raid them! While both tactics are fun I found the easiest to be making the illegal goods and selling the goods, allowing you to make money from excess goods and by selling to the locals. Another big part of the management is managing local officials from police to celebrities. Being able to call in a police favor will help as the chapter unfolds and you begin gaining heat for fighting other gangs. Police can also provide arms which you’ll need as well. Celebrities and politicians offer easy ways to make quick money as you’ll build a friendship just to extort them in the long run. Again, the game gives you various options for how you want to tackle each situation.
Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this game a gift on my daughter’s wedding day
Omerta: City of Gangsters is a solid turn-based strategy game set in a world many people enjoy. Unlike other mobster-themed games Omerta does a great job bringing both the business and fighting aspects of the mob to a game. There are a few mechanical issues with the game, such as the limited cover choices at times, and the fact that your prior business choices have little impact on your future, but each of the game’s campaign chapters are very enjoyable and have enough unique goals that they don’t feel too repetitive. If you have been looking for a fun mobster game that will test your skills and wit then give Omerta: City of Gangsters a look on either the PC or Xbox 360.
A copy of Omerta City of Gangsters for PC was provided to us for this review