Electronic Theatre Preview: Omerta – City of Gangsters

Kalypso Media’s console catalogue is welcomingly diverse, with role-playing games, stealth-lead experiences and multiplayer mayhem all just around the corner. Of all of them Omerta – City of Gangsters stands apart as being the kind of thing that modern console gamers are crying out for. […]
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Electronic Theatre ImageKalypso Media’s console catalogue is welcomingly diverse, with role-playing games, stealth-lead experiences and multiplayer mayhem all just around the corner. Of all of them Omerta – City of Gangsters stands apart as being the kind of thing that modern console gamers are crying out for. Good strategy experiences aren’t just hard to come by, they’re practically non-existent. Hopes are understandably high that Haemimont Games deliver a quality product.

Set in the US during the prohibition years of the 1920s, Omerta – City of Gangsters tells the tale of two brothers divided by the law: coming to Atlantic City from Sicily with dreams of making your fortune, you turn to organised crime as a means to an end. Your brother however, choosesElectronic Theatre Image a very different path. After using the money you send him to come and join you in the US, he ends-up working against you as an enforcer of the law.

Once your character has been created, cleverly developed through the process of answering a series of questions, the videogame begins properly. Omerta – City of Gangsters is experienced on two fronts: business strategy and combat. Players have been set the task of building an empire, and doing so requires keeping the correct balance between co-operation and intimidation. Protection money is your bread-and-butter, but in order to move things forward the player must appropriately manage their balance of hotels, lawyers and the all-important speakeasy. Often, this will need to be done by force.

Combat is performed in a turn based fashion, and by the developer’s own admission works very similarly to the classic X-Com titles. Players spend each character’s turn points in movement and action, and using different weapons for attacksElectronic Theatre Image can have different effects on the enemies. Each character can also earn new Talents, which allow for special bonuses in combat or actions to be committed. Your own character, as the boss of the outfit, has no special abilities but instead earns permanent combat bonuses that can make him into a considerable badass: earning additional attribute points in your firearm accuracy and more action points per turn is never going to be anything but considerably beneficial.

Of course, beating on your enemies and ruling with an iron fist is all well and good, but there’s another party to factor in: the law. Surprisingly, they won’t like your behaviour, and so it’s always good to have a cop or two in your pocket by way of a few notes. This way, should youElectronic Theatre Image attempt to take on a rival crime lord – typically attracting a lot of attention not just from your associates, but the public at large – you might just find yourself getting away with murder.

In addition to the single-player experience Omerta – City of Gangsters will offer both co-operative and competitive multiplayer gameplay modes. Electronic Theatre wasn’t shown any of this during our time with the videogame, though we were informed that the multiplayer is only designed for two players with no option for local play. Limited though it may sound, this is effectively a revision of the X-COM: Enemy Unknown rules of multiplayer warfare and also offers an opportunity to develop your online persona with persistent gangs.

Set for release on Xbox 360 and PC in the very near future, Omerta – City of Gangsters is a very enticing prospect. The combination of strategy management and combat is unlike anything currently availableElectronic Theatre Image on current-generation consoles, and its cerebral challenge is certainly looking to be a very welcome broadening of the software catalogue on Xbox 360. In reality, the only competition that Omerta – City of Gangsters faces is that of the critically acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and Electronic Theatre certainly believes there’s more than enough room for two action-strategy videogames on modern consoles.

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