Idea Factory has been pumping out JRPGs fast and furious, porting over what some may deem as ‘unusual’ titles for the western market. Omega Quintet is one of those games. Half-JRPG, half-Idol simulator, Omega Quintet tries to fuse two radically different types of games into one, and unfortunately gets only half of it correct. Take a deep breath, this could get a little confusing.
The game takes place in a future where most of mankind has been wiped out by a phenomenon called the Blair, which for some reason is pronounced Beep in the game. This phenomenon opens a breach, setting loose monsters called the MAD. The only ones who can defeat the MAD are the Verse Maidens who use the power of song to close the Blairs around the city (we’ll let you discover what the Blairs are). Although the game doesn’t have a main character, it follows Otoha and Takt, two child friends that get caught up in a battle against the MAD, while attempting to close the Blairs. The game’s story is told through hand-drawn anime stills and dialog boxes. While the anime looks gorgeous, the dialogue boxes slow things down immensely. The story in Omega Quintet doesn’t really get going until ten hours into it and I found myself reading over a lot of dialog that had nothing to do with the overall story but had more to do with the everyday lives of the Verse Maidens.
Even during story missions most of the conversations came down to how one Verse Maiden can’t get along with another or how Otaha can’t seem to cut it as a Verse Maiden. There is only so much someone you can take reading the same conversations over and over again for hours on end. In their home base, called "The Office", players can trigger events with the Verse Maidens. These events give you insight into each of the Maidens, which are some of the better interactions in the game due to their humour; in fact it often felt like I was watching an Anime rather than playing a game.
The game mostly plays like a traditional turn-based role-playing game. Players encounter enemies on the various open fields and dungeons. When they engage in battle various options are available: the basic attack, defend, item and escape. Your basic attack involves one strike but as you upgrade your skills and level up, more attacks become open and each Maiden has access to more attacks. All of these attacks along with the spells or Disk skills and special weapon skills (or Mic skills as the game likes to perceive them) are all very well animated and some of the skills look very impressive with flashy effects.
Players also get the options of Harmonics and Live Concert mode. Harmonics allows players to create combos between the Verse Maidens and attack all at once; think of it as going into full berserker mode and laying all your attacks on the table at once. Harmonics also allows you to determine which Maiden attacks, with what special move and in what order. Hitting a certain attack right after another, for instance, gives players a combo bonus that nets them special items and extra EXP.
Live Concert mode gives the Maiden’s stat boosts such as extra damage and higher defense. Live Concert is activated by the level of the Voltage Gauge – as it moves up it will increase in level and depending the on the level players select it gives you higher stat boosts. This also changes the battle music of the game depending on which level you select, and it lasts multiple turns. Live Concert mode will also have fans who are tuning into the battle request the Maidens to perform different tasks such as landing a 100 hit combo. Using certain skill to accomplish these tasks nets you higher quality rewards from combat and more exp.
Another interesting aspect of the game is when a Maiden takes enough hits in combat. Do this and you’ll see their dress become damaged and pieces of it start to come apart. This not only affects the look of the character (who gets more and more shy as more of the dress is damaged), but skills become less effective and Live Concert mode becomes unavailable until the dress is repaired.
The game sets up its skill progression system as if it were a music game. Mic skills are your weapon skills and Disk skills are your elemental spells. Moves are unlocked by analyzing the Disk that each Maiden has. Analyzing the disks is just a fancy way of saying unlocking new skills with skill points. The upgrades are unlocked from a grid-based system. Although I enjoy picking and choosing my own skills, it’s a shame that all the Maidens can learn all the same skills. As a matter fact each Maiden can wield the same weapons and dresses, making their personalities the only thing that sets them apart.
Outside of combat you run around city streets, open grassy fields, deserts and other unique locations. Blairs block the path to some areas and objects get in the way of passable paths. As you progress through the game your Maid become more experienced and allow you to move past these points. Each Maiden has their own skills outside of combat like knocking over heavy pillars or walking through heavy mists. Because these areas aren’t accessible at first entry, you backtrack a lot leaving little room for new locations to explore.
Outside of combat zones, you take control of Takt, the only male of the party who acts as a support character in combat. Outside of combat Takt is controlled in The Office. While in the Office you may trigger personal story sequences with the Maidens, take on missions, upgrade and craft items, as well as accessorize the Maiden’s.
What I also consider to be the best part of the game is the ability to create your own music videos. This mode is called Promotional Video System or PVS. The PVS features a lot of content that players can utilize – from the J-Pop songs that are used, the camera positions on stage, and what dance moves a Maiden uses. Plenty of options are available and more become unlocked using the Live Concert mode and various other means. I can promise you I lost plenty of hours making my own music videos that nobody but myself will ever see.
Graphics and Music
Graphically the game isn’t very impressive. Outside of the great hand-drawn characters, the enemies lack any creativity and the environments are bland and unimaginative. Locations are empty with almost no detail in the environments making it look like a title designed for PS Vita rather than PS4. The music is also hit and miss. The J-POP soundtrack used in the Live Concert mode and PVS are good, along with the combat music, but almost all the other music just doesn’t seem like it fits in;especially the awkward music that plays during conversations which sounds like it was taken from a Loony Toons cartoon. It’s also worth mentioning that the voice acting in the game is quite impressive, I just wish there was more of it.
Omega Quintet is yet another Japanese title that tries to blend two different games into one. Although it succeeds at most times it definitely fails in others. The fun combat and flashy moves are exciting to pull of and the J-POP soundtrack is made even better when making your own music videos I just wish more of that quality was given to the games graphics, exploration, and most importantly its story.