Omerta: City of Gangsters Preview
It's the turn-based combat we're most interested in learning more about, however. Chatting to Omerta's designer after the demo presentation he made mention of a wide variety of missions, from raids on the stills of rival gangs through to full-on prison breaks when your favourite henchmen gets captured by the police.
Combat isn't the only solution to these problems, however. If your best guy gets thrown in the slammer, for example, then you might be able to smuggle him out through a network of bribes if you have enough cash. Alternately, you could just wait for him to serve his time.
These are the sort of decisions you'll have to make repeatedly throughout Omerta's campaign, usually when the police close in and start gathering evidence on your illegal operations. Again, bribery and intimidation might be the simplest way through, but there's nothing to stop you storming the evidence room with a team of six grifters - just don't expect everyone to make it out alive.
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Nor are the cops and rival gangs the only ones you'll be fighting either. The demos we were treated to included missions such as a bank raid against security staff, with the objective being to try and secure the building with a minimum of casualties. Unfortunately, the guards got off a few lucky shots and the team struggled to find a foothold as a result.
On reflection, the problem was probably that they were the wrong team for the job; a group of seductresses and bat-wielding goons aren't a decent match for armed guards.
Later, we saw a second attempt at the same task, this time with a more suitable selection; guys with tommy guns and dual pistols. That worked a lot better, the former proved excellent for spraying across a room and lightly damaging large groups. Akimbo pistols could then be used to hamper the movement of specific targets by firing at their feet constantly, keeping groups clustered together for another pass of the tommy gun.
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This proved to be just one approach to the mission, however. Again, chatting to Haemimont's team after the presentation revealed a much wider range of weapons, moves and tactics than we imagined; shotguns and bare fists, revolvers and rifles.
One reason why the combat works best of course is because of the way it's paced; slow and steady, with characters deliberately standing still while they wait for orders in turn. All the real animation and complexity takes place in your head, meaning the on-screen details don't matter so much and you end up glossing over the visual disappointments which might hamper Omerta elsewhere.
Gameplay is king though, that's what we always say. Omerta: City of Gangsters may present with a few caveats, but when the alternative is vacuous prettiness then we'll take depth of mechanics anyway.
It's an offer we can't refuse.
Omerta: City of Gangsters is being developed for PC and consoles by Haemimont Games and will be published by Kalypso Media in January 2013.