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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