Omerta: City of Gangsters - PC

Release Date:

February 12, 2013

Also on:

PC Xbox 360

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.


In Omerta: City of Gangsters, step into the crime-addled streets of Prohibition-era Atlantic City as a small-time gangster and try to build an empire through turn-based combat and RPG levelling. Players can make their way through 20 different historically accurate maps of Atlantic City and its landmarks, all the while gathering intelligence on rival gangs, planning assaults, expanding territory, and engaging in close combat, complete with a cover system and stealth attacks. Gamers can accumulate their wealth brazenly through bootlegging and robbery, or hide their nefarious activities by operating soup kitchens and bribing the right authorities.

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Up until the release of Omerta City of Gangsters, just about the only thing that Haemimont Games was known for was the development of the two most recent Tropico games, Tropico 3 and 4. When they announced they were working on a turn based strategy game a la X-Com, it seemed a bit off from a developer that had only made a city-building simulation up until that point, but it still seemed interesting. Now that it's finally out, was Haemimont able to create something outside of their wheelhouse, or does the game fall flat?

Omerta City of Gangsters is set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City, and once you know the title and the location, the rest is pretty easy to guess. You play the leader of a group of gangsters that is trying to build a bootlegging empire. Haemimont has always been able to create games with environments that feel fantastic, and Omerta is no exception. The entire game just oozes with the 1920s from every pore.

The game is split into two distinct gameplay elements. First, there is a city management segment where you manage all of your illicit holdings, trade beer and dirty money for goods, and that sort of thing. This mode feels like a 1920s Tropico that just happens to be set in the United States instead of the tropics, and if the entire game was just made up of this, it would be fantastic.

However, there is a second part to the game, the turn based combat, and this is where everything about Omerta City of Gangsters absolutely falls apart. After the release of X-Com not all that long ago, this turn based combat feels like something that was rushed together at the last minute. There is very little cover in any of the maps the gameplay doesn't involve all that much strategy, instead just finding out who can do the most damage to the other side's gang members as fast as possible.

And while you might think for a moment that perhaps this terrible gameplay is due to AI problems that could be patched, you haven't heard about the multiplayer yet. This multiplayer reveals the game's strategic gameplay for what it is, a title with the absolute minimum of effort put behind it.

Oddly enough, I still feel compelled to continue playing this game, even though I come close to literally feeling pain every time I get to another turn based strategy section. There is definitely something intriguing here, enhanced by the game's environment, but Haemimont doesn't bother to delve into that, and decided to focus on some under par strategy gameplay instead. Perhaps at some point there will be a mod that strips out the tactical, turn-based parts of Omerta, and then this game might become bearable. But as it is now, it is clear that the developers of Tropico need to stick to making those types of games without trying to shoehorn in what ends up amounting to a cheap rip off of X-Com.

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Release Date:

February 12, 2013

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