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Omikron: The Nomad Soul

Score: 70%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Quantic Dream
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Fighting/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Omikron’s graphics are very nice, with the Blade Runner-esque city looking very much the part. Glitzy neon, scantily clad women; it’s all here. The character models are quite good looking as well, even if they’re less than needed to make a totally convincing alternate-city feel. The facial expressions during conversation are neat; the stony stares after conversing are not. Overall, though, the atmosphere of the world of Omikron is spot on, if not terribly new or original. You’ll find yourself feeling a whole lot like Deckard in Blade Runner as you wander throughout the city, into the strip joints, and such.

The music is a great soundtrack by David Bowie, and I must say stands quite well alone. The much-lauded “virtual concert” is a neat idea, pretty well executed, but certainly not the reason to buy the game. Overall, Omikron’s presentation is very good.


Gameplay:

Unfortunately, the addition of fighting and first person shooter elements into the game mars what could otherwise have been an excellent straight adventure game. You are, well, you, thrown through your computer into the world of Kay’l, and you’ve got to figure out just what’s going on and how the hell to get back to our world. The storyline is excellent, with the requisite adventure game twists and turns. There are some really cool features in Omikron, such as the Sneak, which lets you call a vehicle to go anywhere you’ve visited, and stores all your items for you. You can also possess other people’s bodies to solve various puzzles, which is a rather neat feature as well. If you don’t want to follow the storyline, you can just wander around the city and bask in the rather awesome virtual metropolis.

Problems crop up when you get to the fighting and shooting sequences. The fighting engine is weak and uninspired, and the shooter engine is the same. Both are more chores than joys, which is reminiscent of some action scenes in earlier adventure games (the various Sierra attempts at action scenes come to mind). As soon as you need to fight or shoot, you want to get it over with so you can go back to bopping around the city in whoever’s body you’re currently possessing in adventure-game style.

There’s also the problem of saving the game. There are magic rings scattered about the world, and to save your progress costs you these magic rings. Eh? I’m all for save points, to keep the creep-and-save method down to a minimum, but for Christ sake, give me unlimited saves! This is a pretty weak design decision, I believe, and something that adds nothing to the gameplay while adding to the frustration factor.

If you can look past the goofy action sequences, however, Omikron is a truly engrossing adventure game that will keep you guessing until the very end, even if you do know what the outcome should be from the beginning.


Difficulty:

Thank the gods; the difficulty level of the action sequences is adjustable. The game itself is nice, long, and involving, and the puzzles are never so hard as to frustrate you. Just make sure you look everywhere in every cabinet and drawer. Good adventure game skills are necessary.

Game Mechanics:

As I already said, the fighting and shooting mechanics really mar the game. The actual adventure game part is just perfect, with easy to navigate Sneak menus and such. I really like the game font (lame point, I know, but I’ve been using it on my desktop to great success), and Omikron’s setting is really a great execution of that dark futuristic Blade Runner style that we all know and love. If you don’t mind the cheesy action sequences, you should give a shot, because it really is quite a good game.

When Omikron 2 comes out, hopefully Quantic will fix the problems with the multi-genre gaming, and then it’ll be a blast, as well as original. As it stands, Omikron is a good little genre-spanner that you may just want to check out before you buy.


-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:



PII 200, Win9X, 32 MB RAM, 350 MB HD space, 8X CD-ROM, 4MB SVGA card, 16 bit sound card
 

Test System:



AMD K6-III 450, Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Blaster TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM, Sound Blaster Live!

Windows Requiem: Avenging Angel Windows Pac-Man: Adventures in Time

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated