Review: Omega Quintet (PlayStation 4)

Omega Quintet (PS4)

 

General Information

Mommy and Ninja RatingYin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Half Yin Yang 25x50
Available PlatformsPS4
Available FormatsDigital
Retail Disc
Platform Reviewed onPS4
GenreJRPG
DeveloperGalapagos RPG
PublisherIdea Factory International
Release DatesJP - October 2, 2014
NA - April 28, 2015
EU - May 1, 2015
RatingsESRB: Teen
PEGI: 12
USK: 16
ACB: M

This is a long one.  I’ll have a TL;DR table of information at the bottom in case you need it.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the post; it’s last.

I’ll start by saying this:  I wanted to like this game.  Omega Quintet is certainly an interesting game, but for all the wrong reasons.  In a perfect world all of my video games will be absolutely captivating, with stories that make you love the hero/heroine and hate the villain and battle systems so fantastic that your 80th hour is no more tedious than your 1st.  Well, I don’t want to be the one to have to break your bubble, but we don’t live in a perfect world and Omega Quintet is proof of that.  Let me go into more detail on several aspects of the game and explain myself.

Parent’s Information

If you’re a parent here looking for whether or not your child should play this game, here’s the place to look.  Not taking into account the quality of the actual game, here’s what you need to know:

Here in the US, the ESRB rated this T for Teen for the following reasons:  fantasy violence, language, partial nudity, suggestive themes, and use of alcohol.  Click here for details.

In Europe, PEGI rated this as appropriate for 12 and older.  They stated the following:  It contains: Non realistic looking violence towards human characters – Sexual images and/or sexual innuendo – Mild bad language.

In Germany, USK rated this for 16 and older only.  In Australia, the ACB rated this M, which means 15 and older for Sexualised imagery.

So, would I let my child play it?  Well, he’s 4…  Is this game appropriate for 13 year olds?  I think Mature would have been extreme, but I think Teen is a little light.  I actually think it falls somewhere between the ESRB ratings of Teen and Mature, but that’s just my opinion.

Japanese Idol Culture

You’re probably wondering why I suddenly wanted to talk about this.  It’s a vital aspect of the game.  The game is supposed to be a satire about this phenomenon.  As Americans, we know very little about this (and other) Japanese culture.  Some will say that it’s because we’re too self-involved to care…that’s a topic for another day.  Essentially, the Japanese idol culture has become an industry of manufactured music talent.  It’s not new by any stretch; in fact, it’s been going on since the 70’s.

These stars/starlets are between the ages of 14 to 17 for girls and 15 to 18 for boys.  They represent two core tenants in Japanese culture:  purity and youth.  They are wildly popular for their time and as soon as they become “too old,” they are tossed aside and replaced with a new group of young girls/boys.  To maintain the image of purity, idols are forbidden from dating; an idol caught and exposed in the media will suffer a major blow to his/her career which could possibly be the end.  These idols are not taken as serious musicians/actors, many of them turn 18 and fade away into the darkness that is a normal life.

Idol culture is something that I will admit I do not understand.  All of the information I have on it, I got from the internet and this game.  I did seek out both sides of the argument to see why it was opposed and why it was supported.  The over-sexualized nature of this culture seems inappropriate for these girls who are so young, but I am from a country where the age of sexual consent is much higher than in Japan.

 

Plot/Story

So, the story here is that Momoka, a veteran Verse Maiden, is way beyond retirement age and must finally retire and pass the torch to a new Verse Maiden.  There are these monsters referred to as Blare that the Verse Maidens must eradicate and Momoka simply cannot continue doing so at her advanced age (approximately 38).   She cannot find a Verse Maiden with her talent and so she has recruited four girls to replace her.  Yes, I’m aware that four is not a quintet.  One of the girls, she did not recruit; her nemesis chose and trained her.  Thus, making a quintet of Verse Maidens.  There is more to the story, but it was just not interesting enough to care about.

 

The game attempts to take a Hyperdimension Neptunia-like stab at Japan’s Idol Culture.  Neptunia does the console war satire so very well; I expected similar from Omega Quintet.  This is a poor attempt.  The hyper-sexualized theme is present and accounted for, but it feels like fan-service for the male audience more than satire.  Idea Factory really fell short with this attempt at satire, in my opinion.  I’m not easily offended, so I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was offended by the sexualized nature of the game…but it was at times distasteful when you consider how young these girls are supposed to be.  In Japan, this evidently works; in America, it is crossing a line when they are that young.

Dialogue/Localization and Voice Acting

Going into the game with the knowledge that it is supposed to be a satire helps, but the storytelling is just not good.  As stated, the story just isn’t good enough to care about.  The dialogue is boring and oftentimes drawn out for no reason other than to be drawn out.  The translation is, in some places, poor.  Fortunately, you can skip cut-scenes and dialogue.

Voice acting is something that is very hit-or-miss in any game genre, but RPG’s seem to have a knack for getting either fantastic actors or dead-fish-actors.  Takt, the male protagonist, is one of those dead-fish-actors.  He’s boring and his attempts at…I don’t know, is it supposed to be wit…it’s just awful.  The Verse Maidens are better than Takt, but they still leave a lot to be desired.  They sound just as bored as I was listening to them.  Aria has this lazy, raspy type of speech that must work well in Japanese, because I’ve seen it in many different things.  In English, it’s a lazy, raspy sound that is just insipid.  The game does have subtitles, which was quite nice as the volume could just be turned down so that their voices were barely audible.

The game has voiceovers (not subtitled) during battles and on the field, frequently causing more than one person is speaking at the same time which is annoying.  But again…volume down, barely audible.  The music is good, but not that good.  I still didn’t want to hear the voice acting.

Verse Maidens

Graphics

JRPGs are forgiven for being “cartoony” as that’s the style they are supposed to be.  JRPGs are actually forgiven a lot of stuff (graphically).  There is simply no excuse for this game, by this company, to look this bad.  The cut scenes with the anime style look are perfectly fine.  They aren’t pushing any boundaries, but they aren’t supposed to.  What gets me is the other stuff.  When I’m walking around the field, I don’t want to be looking at scenery that wouldn’t even push the limits of the PS3.  I want to beautiful, lush environments.  Lackluster, to say the least.

Controls/Overall Functionality 

There’s not really much to say here.  The game works the way I believe it was intended to work.  I had only one glitch and it was a minor annoyance but certainly not a problem.  When I would suspend the game to do something else on the PS4 (watch Netflix, for example) and then go back, it was frozen.  Simple solution, save and quit instead of suspend.

Gameplay

This is not my first Idea Factory game and that’s an important note here.  Idea Factory has a tendency to overwhelm the player with game mechanics.  Omega Quintet is no exception.  But, going into this game, I knew what to expect as far as game mechanics go.  There is so much to process that much of it gets lost in the mix of horrible text tutorials.  And there are plenty of them.  Every time a new mechanic is introduced, you get a new text tutorial.  You’re just inundated with tutorial after tutorial to the point that when you see another one pop up, you cringe.

That being said, the gameplay is actually not terrible; it became tedious, but there are good mechanics there.  I rather enjoyed the battle system once I figured out how to use it to my advantage.  The battle system is turn based and the actions that you tell the verse maidens to take will determine when they get to act again.  Bosses have the ability to order break, meaning that they don’t necessarily have to wait their turn.  Though, this is not a huge deal until very late in the game, so long as you are appropriately leveled for the section of the game you’re in.  The battle mechanics are introduced too slowly, but with all of the horrid text tutorials, I’m almost glad that it took so long to get all of the mechanics; if those tutorials had come with more frequency, I might have gouged my eyes out.

Omega Quintet Battle

An aspect of the battle system is that the Verse Maiden’s outfit gets destroyed as they take damage.  Strange, but similar to armor breaking in other games.  Oddly enough, armor and weapons do not break in this game…only the outfits.  When the outfits take enough damage, there is a visual representation of the damage done.  This causes underwear to become exposed until they are repaired.  For those pervy types out there, you can see said underwear anytime you like in the menus.

Weapons, armor and items can be manufactured.  They item system itself feels very unfinished and lazy.  I didn’t have to use a healing item outside of a boss battle.  I did heal, but not with items.  Outfits and accessories for them can be purchased, but you don’t really know why you’re buying different outfits.  What are the benefits?  Lazy, unfinished.

They seemed to be attempting to get some replay value out of the rather small levels, or at least that’s how it felt to me.  They have multiple paths, but you cannot just roam freely about them until you unlock higher levels of the specified ability required to unblock the path.  Annoying, but okay…so tell me how to get a higher level of the ability.  You must do “certain quests.”  What?!?  But you told me they were optional!  Ah, but that brings me to my next point.

Side quests, per the game’s own instructions are optional.  This indicates to me that I can skip any/all side quests and just focus on the main story on my first playthrough and then hit them in New Game+ when I am better equipped and higher level.  Well, there’s something that Omega Quintet fails to let you know:  Some of those side quests ARE NOT optional.  And if you want the “good ending” you have to do certain ones, missing one will make it impossible to get the good ending.  I gave up on the good ending as I had already missed one of the optional required side quests and I refuse to go back.  I will just never get the platinum trophy for this game as I will not be bothering with NG+ either.

PVS Mode

Promotional Video System.  This is a strange thing.  You make a Promotional Video.  It’s an utter waste of time, really.  Perhaps if it had been integrated into the game somehow, instead of being what seems like an afterthought, it might have been more interesting.  Instead of wasting time on this mode, they should have worked on something important like…finding better voice actors or writers, making better scenery–NO, finishing the game instead of being lazy.

Final Thoughts

I really wanted to like this game.  It’s unique, it’s got potential.  It fell short.  I expect more from Idea Factory/Compile Heart.  There is no reason this game should have sucked so hard.  As promised, the TL;DR table:

 

Overall Mommy and Ninja RatingYin_yang 50x50Yin_yang 50x50Half Yin Yang 25x50
Gameplay2.5
Story/Plot1.5
Sound, Dialogue/Voice Action and Localization1.5
Graphics2.5
Controls5
Pros-Can choose Japanese or English Dubs
-Subtitles for dialogue and cut scenes
-No/minimal glitches
Cons-Terrible story
-Terrible Voice acting
-Overly complicated mechanics
-Optional side quests that aren't optional
-Lackluster graphics in the field
Bottom lineWith a 2.5/5, do I need to say it? I don't recommend this to any but the most dedicated Idol Sim fan. And even then, wait for a really good sale.

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What is a mother?

Ha, that’s a funny question to ask, isn’t it?  A mother can be so very many things, but when it comes right down to it…a mother is only one thing.

 

Definition of a mother

Oxford Dictionary defines a mother as a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.  That seems a little restricted.  We know that’s not the definition of a mother.  A mother can be the woman who raised a child during their formative years, but that’s not right either.  A mother can be a surrogate for a couple who could not conceive another way, a mother could be a woman so involved in your life that she is like a mother (even though your own mother was also there).  A mother can be a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

Typically, we try to define things in our world and in the process of doing so, we tend to generalize.  Sometimes we forget that just because my “mother” is my biological mother, that doesn’t mean that your mother is your biological mother; she could be your aunt or your grandmother or a complete stranger who adopted you as a child.  Often times, those of us that have our biological parents take for granted that they have always been there and that we know where (or who, as the case is) we came from.

All of this rambling…I bet you think my mother adopted me.  She didn’t.  My mother is my biological mother and the only one I’ve ever known.

 

What is a mother called?

Of course, every language has a word for mother.  In Ireland, you may hear a child calling for his mam, in France perhaps calling for his maman, in the United Kingdom he’ll be looking for his mum.  We call them all sorts of different things, but that kind of makes sense since there are all sorts of different mothers.

In Hebrew the word for mother is em (אם).  In Persian it’s māman.  And in Aramaic it’s a’ma (ܐܡܐ).  Even in English, we have quite a handful of things that we call our mothers; in the U.S. we commonly call her mother, mom, mommy, ma and mama…there are others, the list could go on and on.  So many different things to call just one woman.

 

So what is a mother?

With all of those things to call her, how can we define a mother with just one definition?  That’s just it, isn’t it?  You can’t define a mother with just one definition.  There are too many ways to define her.

A mother is someone who sacrifices innumerable things for her children.

A mother is someone who forgives.

A mother is someone who, no matter how difficult it can get, continues on for the benefit of her children.

A mother is someone who loves unconditionally.

I could keep going and going and going.  You cannot put “mother” into a box and give it a one to two sentence definition.  She is far too important and far too varied to be put into a box.

 

So, when it comes right down to it, a mother is only one thing…mom.  Plain and simple.

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As we find ourselves on the precipice of Mother’s Day once again…

William: 1 month old

 

…I wonder when Mother’s Day became a holiday.  The Google Machine is such a fantastic thing and I’ve decided to share with you my findings on the origins of Mother’s Day.  I hope you like history lessons…as I’ve been known to go off on quite a tangent, teaching people about the most random things that I’ve learned on the internet.

Origins

Mother’s Day is centuries old.  The earliest celebrations can be traced to the spring celebrations in ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods.  The early Christians in England celebrated a day to honor Mary, the mother of Christ, in the 1600’s.  Later, by religious order, the celebration was extended to all mothers and was thus named Mothering Sunday.  Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the 4th Sunday after Lent.

As time progressed, the tradition slowly died out.  Eventually, the English colonists settled in America and stopped celebrating Mothering Sunday all together.

Modern Mother’s Day

As a modern holiday in the United States, the first Mother’s Day celebration was in 1908.  Anna Jarvis held a memorial at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia on May 10, 1908 to honor her own mother, Ann Jarvis, who had died in 1905.  and started what would soon after become a day to celebrate mothers.  In 1908, the United States Congress rejected the proposal to make Mother’s Day a holiday.  Anna Jarvis persevered, she continued to campaign for Mother’s Day to be an official holiday and by 1911 all of the states observed the holiday.  Then, in 1914, Anna saw the success she had been working for; President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day a national holiday, to be held on the second Sunday in May.

Anna Jarvis, just a decade after it’s inception, saw the commercialization of this holiday that she held so near to her heart.  It angered her greatly to see this, but she was helpless to do much about it.  She staged boycotts and threatened lawsuits against the companies that she felt had exploited the idea of Mother’s Day.  In 1925, she was arrested for disturbing the peace while protesting at a meeting of the American War Mothers.

Mother’s Day is one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions.  According to the National Restaurant Association, Mothers Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out in the United States.  My, what would she think if she were still alive today…?  Interesting point to note:  Anna Jarvis never had any children.

What’s in a name?

Anna Jarvis was very particular about how the holiday was spelled.  She didn’t want people to celebrate all mothers; she wanted the day to be a celebration of your own mother.

Mother’s Day, Internationally

Mother’s Day is celebrated at different times throughout the year, for many different reasons by numerous countries worldwide.  In Thailand, Mother’s day is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand.  In Panama, Mother’s Day is December 8th, the same day as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  In Ethiopia, Mother’s Day is actually three days at the end of the rainy season.

 

So, remember to tell your mother Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow.  If you want to make Anna Jarvis’ ghost happy, perhaps you shouldn’t give her that card with a silly knock-knock joke on it and you should cancel those flowers you ordered last night from 1-800flowers.  Or you could embrace the commercialism and add Sherri’s Berries to her Mother’s Day surprise!  Either way, remember to call her tomorrow.  And you should probably apologize for all the crap you put her through when you little…I’m just sayin’.

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May the 4th Be With You!

may-4th-be-with-you_0

I thought it appropriate that our first post would be on May the 4th.  William and I are both nerds and what better way to start our blog than with a nerdy Star Wars Day post?  Don’t worry, I won’t be talking all about Star Wars or even nerdy things today (or any other day).  We will review some nerdy things along the way, but it’s not our focus.

 

Let’s start with a little bit of Star Wars Day history.  There’s really not all that much to say on the subject.  The first Star Wars Day was in 2011.  It started out as a fan-run community event in Toronto, Canada and spread like wildfire due to the internet and social media.  Since that day May 4th has been considered the unofficial official Star Wars Day.  That particular day, for those of you who haven’t put two and two together, was chosen because of a play on the famous words “May the force be with you” from the films.

This day would have been a perfect release day for the original film, A New Hope, but was not the release day.  The original movie release was 25 May 1977.  May 25th is celebrated as Geek Pride Day.  Star Wars is a phenomenon that has no equal.

 

Who are Mommy and Ninja?

MOMMY:  I am a front end manager at a large local grocery chain; I work full-time.  I spend as much time with my son as my job allows.  Once he goes to sleep at night, it’s video game time!  I’ve given up on reading comics because the choice between vegging out with a video game or reading a comic had to be made.  I still read the occasional comic, but I’m way behind on everything.

NINJA:  As mentioned, we’re nerds.  William is 4 years old and already a nerd.  He likes video games and comic books.  He can beat the first three bosses in Skylanders Trap Team all by himself…this kid is crazy good at that game.  He can’t read at all, but he loves to “read” his comic books; he sits and makes up stories based on the pictures.  He won’t let someone read to him, but he loves to make up his own stories.  William is also a student at a local dojo that teaches American Kenpo.  He is in the pre-school class and is currently a yellow belt.  The belts mean almost nothing in the pre-school class, but he is quite proud of himself.

 

What is Mommy and Ninja? 

We want to share our experiences with various products that we’ve bought and played with so that you might be able to save your money by not buying the same piece of junk that we bought.  We don’t want to just share the bad experiences; we want to share them all.  All of the content on Mommy and Ninja will be child appropriate and safe for work.  No need to ever worry about your little one or your boss seeing something that you ought not be looking at.

This is not my first blog.  My first one was a mommy blog while I was a stay-at-home mom.  When I first started working, I was a Night Crew Manager working 10pm-7am and just didn’t have the time to dedicate to blogging if I wanted to see my son and sleep.  Unfortunately, my domain name was purchased by someone in the interim and I had to start fresh.

We will be doing some giveaways along the road, once we get into our stride.  We will share all kinds of reviews; everything from toys to kitchen items to money-saving apps to anything under the sun.  I’ll be pulling some of my old reviews that I still have from my first blog, Worn Baby Shoes and sharing those as well.  Most of the toys we review now will be for toddlers, but I have a ton of reviews for baby items that I’d love to share again.  They’ll just be sprinkled in with our regular content.

 

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