Review: Omega Quintet

Release Date
April 28th 2015 (US), May 1st 2015 (EU)
PlayStation 4
Publisher / Developer
Idea Factory International, Inc. / Compile Heart
ESRB Teen, PEGI 12 , USK 16, ACB M

Omega Quintet the latest game from publisher Idea Factory International, Inc. and developer Compile Heart, hits the PlayStation 4. Bringing to the west some exciting new features such as the Promotion Video System and of course Idols, Omega Quintet will certainly appeal to a large portion of the anime community.

A mysterious darkness known as ‘Blare’ has overrun the world, infecting humans by turning them into mindless masses and creatures into violent monsters. What’s left of the human race have banded together to escape the Blare but who can put a stop to this darkness that’s taking over the world? The answer to that comes in the teeny form of Miss Momoka and ageing idol whose job it is to keep the morale of the general populace in high spirits, but most importantly to fight the Blare as a ‘Verse Maiden’. Verse Maiden’s possess the power to fight the Blare through the power of their song. The game opens with Miss Momoka taking on the Blare and clearly showing her age, with retirement in the near future a replacement is urgently needed, enter – Otoha. Otoha is clearly not the ideal candidate for a Verse Maiden but she possesses the power, she is eventually joined by Kanadeko, Nene, Aria and Kyoka to create a Verse Maiden idol group.

The anime community is no stranger to idol groups taking on the task of battling monsters that threaten the existence of humankind, so while the story is by no means original or unique, being able to play out this scenario and customize it to how you want is probably an exciting prospect for many.

The opening of the game is very long and tedious, only allowing you fleeting moments of gameplay sandwiched between lengthy dialogue dumps and pop-up tutorials. Be prepared to sit through large amounts of what can only be described as dialogue filler.  Rest assured though after the first couple of introductory hours you’re free to explore the game unlocking new areas and characters as you progress through the games story chapters.

You’d be wise not to think of Omega Quintet’s battle system as your standard JRPG combat or you’ll easily find yourself on the losing end of a long fight. The battle system is very unique and extremely complex with many different features at your fingertips, be ready for even more pop-up tutorial screens. At its core is traditional turn-based combat with all the usual menu options such as attack, skills, items etc… seems normal but then introduce a distance formula, where different weapon attacks and skills have a certain range and a percentage of effectiveness. This is marked by rows of different colours denoting where a certain attack or skill will have its highest percentage of effectiveness or lowest. Each monster is then placed in various positions within these rows on the battlefield, from close to far away, making your choice of skills or attack very important as they may not be very effective and may just miss completely. Just to keep you on your toes there’s a whole other menu available during battles too, the Idol menu which gives you access to Harmonics and Live Concert Mode. With these modes, you can unleash some serious damage, perfect for a huge amount of monsters or in a boss fight. Harmonics allows your party to combine their efforts and sync with one another to use various chain attacks, dealing a great amount of damage and looking awesome in the process, beware though as it uses a lot of SP.

Feeling confused? well, that was just a basic run-through of the battle system, there are plenty more tiny little features that have been crammed in, you will get to know them as you progress but at the beginning, it can be quite overwhelming. Another feature – that seems to have jumped straight out of Senran Kagura, is the Outfit system, each Idol has their own outfit which can be customized however you like. During battle, however, as you’re attacked your outfit breaks down, get attacked enough can you can be stripped down to your tighty whities or bear pattern briefs (whatever floats your boat).

Dungeons are vast, expect to do some serious power walking on your adventures as getting from A to B can take some time. It’s not until later in the game that you can truly explore the entirety of a stage given that a lot of areas will be blocked early on. To unlock these areas you need to increase the ability levels of your characters through completing missions and quests, each character has a unique ability that allows them to remove obstacles or jump to even higher ground. Finding out when you can remove some of these obstacles though will be entirely done to your own exploration, some quests or missions may require you to enter a new area but generally, you will need to re-tread old ground if you plan to fully explore a stage.

Promotion Video System or PVS is easily the most unique feature of the game and the real selling point in terms of the games promotional material, but it’s easily missed and some players may even miss it entirely. PVS mode is a completely immersive feature giving you full editing control over every aspect of the Verse Maidens performance. Selecting everything from the song to the characters movements and even how the camera moves. PVS mode can even be used with PlayStation Move and with PlayStation 4 Camera players can even feature in the video themselves.

In true Compile Heart style, the graphics are never the main focus when developing a game, looking very much like its many PlayStation 3 counterparts, Omega Quintet may disappoint some visually but for fans of Compile Heart’s game library this will be familiar ground. The soundtrack that accompanies Omega Quintet is very catchy and a nice addition to an interesting game. Omega Quintet comes fully voiced with both Japanese and English language options.

Omega Quintet suffers in quite a few areas with a huge amount of dialogue filler, not much story progression to its visually dated look that for a PlayStation 4 title may put potential buyers off. For fans of Compile Heart’s style and those looking for a new JRPG experience will find a great amount of pleasure here. The battle system is crammed full of exciting and interesting features that make battles an absolute joy to partake in. The Promotion Video System, although missable, will entice fans of simulation that have been eager to try this style of game mainly confined to Japan. Overall for a JRPG fan a very enjoyable experience with plenty to offer.