By: Jeff Cater
Omega Quintet is the first traditional JRPG to hit the PlayStation 4, and hopefully not the last. In Omega Quintet, you march the wastes of a world torn apart by an evil, draining force known as The Blare. To combat this menacing presence, you must utilize both weapons and voice to bring hope to a land scorn. As a Verse Maiden, an elite group of ladies with unique powers and weaponry, you are the only chance against sure desolation.
The controls are somewhat split between two modes: exploration and combat. In exploration mode, you move with the left stick and examine surroundings with the right. Pressing “X” lets you interact with various items and objects in the environment, and circle sends you bounding over some obstacles.
Interestingly, and confusing to work out, is the fact that the options button brings up a map of the area, but pressing triangle brings up a more traditional “Pause” type menu. If you happen to encounter an enemy while exploring, try to get on its blind side and press square to initiate an ambush attack.
In combat, the left stick or d-pad highlights your numerous options and choices. Choose an attack or skill with “X” and watch the show start, as combat is automated after choices are made. Depending on whether or not you have the character Takt currently attached to any of your characters, you can also press “X” directly after an attack to have Takt make a follow-up attack immediately thereafter. On defense, Takt can also protect the chosen Maiden.
Omega Quintet does feature some unique and beautiful character art, but the environments look no better than a PlayStation 2 era JPRG. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone, but it’d have been nice to have a bit of flair to the environments rather than flat, muddy textures adorning every surface.
The combat animations and skill effects are rather nice, though, and it’s fun unlocking new powers just to see how ridiculous and pretty they are. The cut scenes are also well done, and even the mid-game chat boxes (which you will run into a lot) feature animated and expressive characters. Also, breasts.
The game has absolutely top-notch voice acting, with actors and actresses giving fun and over-the-top performances as the story calls for. If you like J-Pop, you’ll be pretty happy with the overall soundscape that the game provides, but there’s a lot of butt rock and tingle techno thrown in there to mix it up a bit so you don’t get J-Pop fatigue. Did I mention breasts?
Honestly, if future JRPG games start out as slowly as Omega Quintet, don’t expect to see too many more reach Western shores. It takes about six hours to really start the game, and about 75 percent of that time is spent in cut scene chats that are just dreadfully cheery.
In between bouts of seemingly endless dialogue you might get to fight enemies and explore for about 20 minutes before you complete your set of quests, which are taken in your headquarters. Your HQ is where you can level up your characters, upgrade their outfits and equipment, and craft new items. In my time with Omega Quintet, I found that you will find just enough good equipment to ultimately render the crafting portion of the game time consuming and useless.
Also, in keeping up with the ancient Japanese tradition, the members of your party also lose clothing if they take too much damage, so be sure to keep your clothing repaired. Or not. I don’t know, man.
There are also options that make use of the PlayStation Camera, but I was unable to test these features. According to various message boards, the feature doesn’t truly enhance the gameplay, but then again that is just an opinion of the hivemind.
With a starving JRPG community eager to dig into a game, Omega Quintet isn’t really the one they have been waiting for. There’s far too much useless dialogue, needless crafting mechanics shoehorned in, underwhelming graphics and an extremely slow start.