Omikron Review

In the end, when you take all of Omikron's various parts and add them together, the game doesn't amount to much.

Many developers have attempted to incorporate various styles of gaming into one package in an effort to create a game that is a unique interactive experience and can't be defined by a specific genre. Unfortunately, like most of the developers that have attempted this feat, Quatic Dream fails to accomplish this lofty goal in Omikron - but the failure is both commendable and miserable, depending on which facet of the game you're looking at.

Omikron is a bittersweet game to play, mostly because the early part of the game shows so much potential that it hurts to continually discover the game's damning faults as you progress. In the beginning, Omikron depicts a futuristic high-tech society with a spiritual edge - reminiscent of those in Flashback and Shadow Run - that is in peril. Early on, the mystery you are sent to solve seems incredibly interesting, as does the idea of exploring the game's vast 3D world, which is touted as one of the most interactive virtual environments ever.

The reality is that once the story of the game is established and you begin to explore the world of Omikron, the illusion of the game's living and breathing virtual world simply begins to crumble. You quickly realize that the city is little more than a polygonal prop, with a vast crew of mindless extras who all tell you that they're too busy to talk. There are only a handful of characters you can really interact with. Most of these exchanges are simple conversations that explain pieces of the mystery you're trying to solve. During these exchanges, you're given the ability to select various verbal responses. Based on the selections you choose, you trigger other questions and comments from the character. These conversations are cleverly disguised as dynamic conversations with virtual people in a virtual world. However, if you play through the game a second time and choose other topics and questions, you will see that the vast majority of these selections actually have little or no bearing on the course or outcome of the conversation. This devious little fact aside, the game's story and pacing are good enough to keep you fairly interested in the development of the story.

So what's happening? A series of bizarre murders has mystified the futuristic cops of Omikron, and it's up to you to unravel the mystery of the murders. Most of this is done from a standard third-person adventure perspective, which is followed by a camera that alternates between Resident Evil-style fixed camera angles and a behind-the-back, Tomb Raider-esque view. While the adventure style of play is the predominant style in the game, the action changes to a fighting-game format at key points, requiring you to show a little dexterity with the controller. For instance, when a confrontation with a wanted man turns sour, the camera view changes to a side view, and the game becomes a pseudo-fighting game, complete with life bars and special moves. Unfortunately, this game mode is extremely limited and lets you deliver only a small number of combos and moves. What's worse is that there's an easily discovered technique in this mode that lets you win each and every fight. Once you learn this technique, this fighting-game mode becomes incredibly predictable and boring - which is also a very accurate description of the first-person shooting mode that pops up from time to time. Neither of these action sequences lasts for more than a few moments, yet they still become incredibly repetitive because there's never really any danger of dying in either mode.

The game kind of just chugs along - there is a lot to do, and by all standards it's quite a long game. The control is adequate, but none of its play elements are satisfying. Some of the puzzle-solving logic that the game requires isn't very intuitive, which makes it almost necessary to look at a game guide for help.

Graphically, Omikron is a very impressive-looking game. The city is vast and is very detailed. The only real visual problem the game has occurs when lots of vehicles and pedestrians are all on the screen at once, causing the frame rate to drop significantly. When you interact with characters up close, the detail of the 3D models is evident in the characters' faces and in their decent attempts to lip-synch their lines. In all, the game has a good deal of eye candy, including flying cars, a strip club, and nice lighting effects.

In the sound department, Omikron has a wonderful soundtrack that consists largely of original music created by David Bowie for the game. The sound effects are decent, although the audio as a whole is suspiciously quiet throughout most of the game.

In the end, when you take all of Omikron's various parts and add them together, the game doesn't amount to much. The game's attempt to integrate multiple styles of play just doesn't work, since each individual piece is terrible when compared with other games from the respective genres. The game's intriguing story is simply hampered by all the design flaws, which make playing the game a little too frustrating and downright pointless at times.

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Omikron: The Nomad Soul More Info

  • First Released Nov 2, 1999
    • Dreamcast
    • PC
    Omikron's purported innovation and originality amount to nothing more than the senseless combination of unrelated but very familiar play styles.
    Average Rating518 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Quantic Dream
    Published by:
    Eidos Interactive, Square Enix
    Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Animated Blood, Animated Violence, Mature Sexual Themes