Once upon a time, there was the greatest turn-based sim strategy entry that ever was released in the mobster genre.
Eidos, who were in their prime, was responsible for the beloved Gangster franchise that did justice to revenge driven mob bosses that had to rebuild their name and family domination. Since then, no other development house has come close to replicating the sheer pleasure and enjoyment those entries brought to the PC platform.
Whenever newcomers dare challenge the legacy of Gangsters fans are skeptical but optimistic; after all, Gangster 2 debuted in 2001 and there is still a lot of demand for a third installment almost fifteen years later, or a remastering of the existing two for better compatibility for newer OS. When a new kid comes to town and treads on street territory, the expectation is to go hard or go home.
Omerta: City of Gangsters did neither. They phoned in the order and left it at that.
Development house GOG threw a perfectly nervous but ambitious attempt at a sandbox style entry with modern graphics and a palatable soundtrack created a pain in the ass mob sim that plays like a round of The Game Of Life on a cruise ship with despondent elderly participants and runs like a computer infected with adware.
Noticeably lacking are the core dynamics and fundamental understanding of what a mob strategy title entails.
Without strategy, there is no challenge; lack of a challenge makes any advancements in the limited quasi-sandbox landscape a sight-seeing sim that happens to feature random acts of violence.
It’s absolutely great that there is a map outlining your quest of conquering, but the monotonous pacing of building a criminal empire without rival gangs or law enforcement stepping on your toes during such passing activities as buying properties, capturing businesses, creating illegal operations, making money, and completing objectives gives zero motivation for caring about your illegal accomplishments going across the city.
The biggest disadvantage is the lack of seeing the protagonist, or anybody else, in street view like what was possible in Gangster 2. Yes, there are times where we are given a repetitive turnstile of Klansmen to defeat in certain missions that show the protagonist and some random muscle, but it just isn’t the same as seeing them in the very streets they control like Joey Bane.
Crew members cannot be hired, and if you have any they have no bearing or special skill set that make them an asset to the organization. Lacking the ability to experience player movement across cities that all resemble each other leaves you with a cavalcade of posted note messages to ascertain the daily progress of the level.
Law enforcement is not in your craw; even if you commit a crime in public a hundred bucks is all it takes to make it die down and never be mentioned again. There is definitely no FBI spying or a need to be secretive from any prying eyes of your operation. Raids by rival gang members on your businesses are non-existent, as are experts that oversee expanding operations are functioning at maximum profit capacity.
These types of dynamics make Omerta: City of Gangsters about as fun as starting a moldy stamp collection for bragging rights.
All that could be possibly forgiven, had GOG decided not to correctly patch bugs that completely inhibit the ability to finish any game that starts. Instead of working on debugging the issues players were having, GOG chose to focus more on DLC content and repackaging the title under different names and offerings, all of which have the same bug that prohibits finishing the game.
And all for a nice cool thirty-dollar all in one package, or ala carte individual pricing.
After one year of having a bug from the initial release that remained unsolved, it was awful nice of them to put such a premium on a defective product that is damn near guaranteed to malfunction halfway through. No warranty, refunds, public acknowledgement or wrongdoing, and apology. But hey, at least the DLC works though, right?
The icing on the cake is that it took a workaround patch from the mod community in their own forums to have a temporary solution to the known bug for most players that bought later editions. Even more bizarre is that GOG still didn’t correct the problem on the update that took forever to be released, and caused other issues of crashing that weren’t present prior.
This included, but was not limited to, breaking the mod patch in an unnecessary update that for a vast amount of players, was working. Why even be mad that the community is doing the job you should be, and spiting those taking them up on the offer? Three years later Omerta: City of Gangsters is still unplayable to completion.