Omerta - City of Gangsters

Nice try, Steam. You may have a bewildering selection of cheap games and a bizarre (and seemingly rigged) competitive point gathering system, but you aren't giving away free games. GOG are. For instance, get to their front page before 11:59 am EDT, and you can secure Omerta: City of Gangsters for free. And if you've missed that, the store is planning more giveaways throughout the day. Update: Torchlight is currently free on GOG until 9 pm EDT! Go grab it.

"Right now, on our front page, you can find 30 amazing FLASH DEALS at once," explains GOG's news page. "They're coming your way in a great tidal wave, with new deals popping up every single hour. The time has also come for our first special FLASH GIVEAWAY ... Grab a free copy of the gangster strategy title, Omerta: City of Gangsters. You can find it among the stream of other flash sales! That's only the first of the giveaways we have planned for today, so make sure to keep an eye out for more throughout the Adrenaline Rush day."

The free games are being seeded into the big list of flash sales that are rolling across GOG's front page. Keep an eye out every couple of hours, and you're likely to pick up a few free treats before the day is done.
Omerta - City of Gangsters
Omerta: City of Gangsters

The number of much-needed soup kitchens and speakeasies has plummeted, and now the City of Gangsters wants you back to do your thing in this bad town. A free update's making its way to the game today, fleshing out both the tactical and tycoon aspects. Check out this trailer for some gameplay from the updated version, or to get your foot tappin' to some ragtime—whichever grabs your fancy.

Starting today, launching Omerta: City of Gangsters will trigger an automatic download of the new update, which aims to overhaul the interface and cover mechanics. Additionally, there are new sandbox game modes, new gangs to swindle in the single-player campaign, new multiplayer maps, and not-so-new-but-newly-updated multiplayer modes. Rival gangs will now be a little less passive, making more of an effort to defend their distilleries and laundrettes—while muscling in on yours.

In our review, we found Haemimont's stab at organized crime well-conceptualized but simplistically executed. Hopefully this update means no more being headshotted by an infuriatingly colorfully-dressed man through thick cement pillars, letting us rob our damn banks without distraction.

Omerta - City of Gangsters
omerta header

Sandy Beech, my latest gang boss, is a complicated capo. Before breakfast (mine not his) he torched a speakeasy and a casino, shot three men in the gut and two in the feet. After breakfast he set up a soup kitchen, built a clinic, and rescued a nightclub owner from the klutches of the Ku Klux Klan.

I’ve no idea whether Sandy enjoyed his morning of slaughter and social work, but I know I did. Though Omerta lacks the humour and economic subtlety of Haemimont’s Tropico 4 there’s ample compensation in the engrossing campaign and cracking turn-based combat.

Sometimes unavoidable story events, sometimes the result of a botched heist or drive-by, the Action Point-funded skirmishes provide lots of tactical chin scratching and memorable lead trading. Shotgun blasts shatter furniture and send clustered foes reeling. Molotov cocktails loop through windows. Hoodlums lean from cover cradling chattering Tommy guns.

A combination of distinctive weapons, solid AI, plausible friendly-fire risks, and interesting damage twists (concussion, panic, blood loss... ) mean Omerta can hold its head up in the company of XCOM, Jagged Alliance and Silent Storm.

Most weapons boast several attack modes. At times it pays to trade accuracy for speed or spread, or to attempt to disable or discourage rather than dispatch. With a few extra outdoor maps, a less rigid cover system, and a ‘dead means dead’ difficulty setting (at present, defeated teams end up captured or convalescing) the violence would be almost unimpeachable.

More Capone-calibre harshness wouldn’t go amiss on the economic front either. At present, whether you’re playing the pleasingly varied and deftly tale-flecked campaign or the not-especially-sandy sandbox mode, it’s a bit too easy to go from struggling street punk to comfy crime-lord. Usually, once you’ve established a few businesses, hired a few hoods, and figured-out how to keep the law off your back, it’s plain sailing. Rival gangs tend to be passive, watching from the wings while you muscle in on their rackets.

Those with prior tycoon experience may find the simplistic supply chains, limited upgrade opportunities, and lack of ledgers disappointing. Gazing down on the atmospheric maps with their beetling streetcars and cruising jalopies, it’s sad to think that individual Omertians can’t be selected, mind-read, or caught in crossfire. This isn’t a game for avid anthill watchers.

Or for anyone with a tin ear. The scandalously uncredited soundtrack is a brilliant melange of period jazz, ragtime and klezmer. While police sirens wail and Chicago pianos riff, clarinets and Steinways are often doing the same.

Not as tough or as deep as it could be, Omerta is still a destination well worth a visit.

Expect to pay: £25
Release: Out now
Developer: Haemimont Games
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Multiplayer: Versus or co-op combat, 2 players
Omerta - City of Gangsters
Omerta City of Gangsters header

You know what they say: The first taste is free. In this case, the taste in question is the leaden shell casings you'll be leaving in your wake in Omerta: City of Gangsters, which has just released a single-player demo. Detailed extensively in our preview, Omerta is a hybrid turn-based squad shooter/strategic crime empire management romp through 1920s Atlantic City.

The short demo will give you a brief look at both sides of the game: the XCOM-style combat missions, and the larger struggle to extend the blood-stained fingers of your crime empire across the urban landscape. So if you're one of those people that's still really on the fence about bootlegging, racketeering, extortion, and murder, here's your chance to just make up your freakin' mind already! Sheesh...

The full version of Omerta will be rolling up on your place of business on February 12. It would be really unfortunate if you were to forget to keep an eye out for more of our impressions in the future, and something bad were to happen to your Steam wallet. Very unfortunate...

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