Omega Quintet (PS4 review)

omega quintet

The world is on the verge of extinction and our only hope is five teenage pop idols. As crazy as that premise sounds on its own, the team over at Idea Factory has crafted a tale that is full of lighthearted danger and laughter. These pop idols are known as Verse Maidens, and when together, they create a group called Omega Quintet and are the only hope in preventing the world from succumbing to the darkest of enemies called “Blare”.

Story

Set in a fictional town that is slowly being overtaken by the “Blare”, the town’s citizens are helpless when it comes to defending themselves from the Blare. Their only defense are the Verse Maidens who risk their lives to protect the city. This generation of Verse Maidens are special due to the fact that over previous decades there was usually only one Verse Maiden, meaning all they could do was impede the progress of the overwhelming amount of Blare. Now that there are 5 at the same time, they have the chance to wipe out all the Blare once and for all, and this is when the story starts to pick up. The Verse Maidens rely on the population and vice versa. The team has the ability to broadcast their battles live, and the audiences are able to watch and cheer on their favorites. This approval rating strengthens the Verse Maidens according to the game’s backstory. The only downside with the story, and this is just a personal negative, but the game tries to make you feel like what’s going on is urgent; however, all the comedy often outweighs the drama and I would be sidetracked into farming enemies for materials and experience.

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Characters

Being a pop star isn’t easy, and each of the 5 Verse Maidens react and voice their personality any chance they get, which is almost always a treat. (The entire game is voice acted regardless of which character is talking.) The game offers you the choice between both English and Japanese (which can be switched at anytime via options). I played a majority of the game with the Japanese voice actors because something never feels right about hearing American voice acting when it comes to JRPGS, although this is one I could have seen myself playing in English if the Japanese option wasn’t available.

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Each of the 5 girls and their manager are completely different besides their unanimous feelings of saving the world; however, their personalities will at times clash. How could they not when you have younger more cautious ones that lack self confidence, ones that are always amped up and ready to fight, and the more talented and self disciplined one with a superiority complex. The shenanigans that ensue almost always draws laughter as long as you’re familiar with the usual comedy that arrives from anime that have the multiple girls and singular guy dynamic. Although in this situation the guy doesn’t want anything to do with any of the girls and is usually the one getting made fun of or put in awkward conversations. Their manager is very laid back and often times callous, which usually is the catalyst that causes the girls to lose their minds and blush while making situations even more awkward for everyone in the conversation.

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Gameplay

Omega Quintet is truly one of the first great turn-based RPGs on the PS4, and while the graphics are not overly amazing, I appreciated the aesthetic choices and character design. I often felt like I was living inside of an anime, only this time you control the action sequences. The combat is the heart of any RPG, and Omega mixes over-the-top spells and abilities to create spectacular special moves that are the key to succeeding in combat. The mixing of combat is very important when you want to deal the most damage per hit.

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In combat you have some special commands to help you overwhelm enemies, such as harmonics which allows you to chain together any of your characters that have subsequent turns and allows you to issue all their commands in one turn to maximize your damage. It is important when it comes to getting the ever important overkill on enemies for maximum experience gain and rarest of items. There is also the live broadcast mode which enables the fans of the world to tune in and watch your battles and request specific things. For every requests you fulfill, you will gain extra moves for your following turn as well as extra experience after finishing the battle.

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There are 5 weapon types and each of the girls has their preferred weapon. Outside of combat you can swap the character’s weapons at anytime which will allow them different weapon skills in battle as well as progress the different proficiency. This is extremely important because you only receive skill points for abilities by increasing your weapon proficiency. These proficiency levels require exponentially more experience each time they level so the game requires you to swap weapons if you want to learn all the abilities. Skill points can be used also to level up earlier skills, add extra slots so you can add more magic spells choices during battle and even grant you extra stat points upon the actual character leveling up.

This brings me to the worst element of character development and that is they never explain what each stat means. Some of them are obvious such as Song Power (physical damage); however, vitality which in most games is your HP or defense, this time around it’s actually your agility which determines turn order in combat. Along with those two there is also Stamina (Defense), Technique (accuracy I think), and Divinity (Magic power?); again they never state what each of these effect. While crafting accessories I was often just making whatever gave the biggest bonuses instead of being able to focus equipment of special types to the different girls. Now while certain skills and spells will let you know what they prefer for their power, instead of building your characters stats for the character, you are building the stats around the moves or vice versa which seems counterintuitive at times.

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The last element of the gameplay will be seen as a positive for some and a negative for others. Certain features are locked unless you play on the hardest difficulty, so for the completionists out there, you will have to play on the harder difficulty. It gets very difficult around 30 hours in, forcing you to go all out in combat or face game over from even some of the smallest of enemies (stupid rats). The worst thing about getting a game over from these situations is when you feel you have over-leveled your characters, and you see them start to unexpectedly drop like flies after 2 attacks from common level enemies. This difficulty is great for those who enjoy the toughest of challenges; however, if you’re not prepared or do not save often, this can quickly become demoralizing and can off put the more casual of RPG fans.

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Features

Omega Quintet features tons of fans service. This is obvious in just about every part of the game from the story to even battles and sidequests. In terms of the story, it only took about 2-3 hours before you get to be an audience for an impromptu photo shoot including a cat costume for one of the girls. There was also the bathroom scene and I will leave it at that. Now in battle there is also an element where when the girls take damage, their costumes become damaged. After they take enough damage, they will fray and then completely be lost, leaving the girls in their undergarments (which are customizable). You can repair the outfit when you return to the base. While some people will opt to leave them in this state, you do forfeit lots of bonuses gained from their outfits, so do so with that in mind. Their outfits are customizable with different accessories and different dresses altogether, while you being in their traditional Verse Maiden garb which are very reminiscent of Sailor Scout outfits. The customization doesn’t stop there; you are also able to change their eye and hair color along with their hairstyle as often as you like. While these changes won’t affect cut scenes, which was a bit disappointing, it will reflect while in battle, during field movement and during Promotional Video segments or PVS for short.

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PVS is an additional mode in the game where you can choreograph dances for the five girls and have the option of uploading to the internet to share your creativity. The process is pretty interesting. You start with any of the pre-loaded songs and from there you have full control over who sings which section, what dance moves they perform and who the camera focuses on. While this mode has very little effect on the story besides fulfilling minor side quests, it is still a lot of fun and I found myself pouring more and more time into it after unlocking new customization options to make the videos even better.

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Final Reaction

In the end Omega Quintet sets off to be a lighthearted RPG and accomplishes just that. The story is often one dimensional which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although at times the comedy can feel oversaturated, I still found myself laughing and enjoying the characters and their situations that only they could themselves into. Combat is fun and creative with tons of skills that can be combined to create even more diverse combos. The hardest difficulty will keep the most practiced veterans on their toes. There are tons of customization, most of which must be unlocked but is not difficult to do so, and they require extra time. The PVS video mode has even inspired me to go back and play more to try and unlock extra options so that I can put together the Quintessential performance of a lifetime for my virtual fans. If you’re a fan of JRPGs or Harem/Action style Animes with a twist, then Omega Quintet is a must play for you.

Omega Quintet released April 28th in North America and will release in Europe on May 1st.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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