The game at a glance
The game kicks off with a nice intro cutscene with a theme song as most J-RPGs. It lets you have a peek at the cast of the game and hypes you to play it. I’ve always loved this kind of “foreplay” with those games. I remember letting the intro song of countless games (Wild Arms games, Disgaea games, Tales of games, etc…) each time I would start a daily session. It feels like you’re watching the intro of an anime, and with a catchy song, it really puts me in the mood.
Generally speaking, this game is true to the J-RPG traditions. Anime Style graphics, nicely designed characters, turn based yet pretty dynamic battle system… So far so good. The “generic” part is there. Now let’s have a look at what sets it apart from the rest.
Anime style intros, even with still pictures, will never get old to me. I love it when games kick off like this.
Idols Meet RPG
If you have to admit this game has something original going for itself, it’s this idea of mixing the world of japanese idols with a RPG type of game. The world is under siege from mysterious monsters called “blare” that come out of strange miasma. The takes place in a city and it’s surroundings, as the rest of the world has been conquered by the blare and it’s impossible to go further. The only power capable of destroying and cleansing the blare is the song power of the “verse maidens”. These are treated like idols: they sing, danse, have a manager, etc… The more popular they get and the more support they have, the stronger their song power becomes. As such, it’s funny how the main hub and structure of the game is based on this idol concept: the hero becomes the manager of the group of heroins, while they fight with various weapons and magic powers in flashy outfits. There is also some commentaries during battles to remind you that their adventures are supposed to be live on TV while people cheer for them, giving them even more power and increasing their popularity. If you look at the game only from a purely technical angle, it’s just a normal J-RPG. But this particular take on the idols, the battles being live and the whole manager thing, with even some idol rivalry mixed in there, it gives the game a pretty special atmosphere you don’t find in most.
There is also some commentaries during battles to remind you that their adventures are supposed to be live on TV while people cheer for them, giving them even more power and increasing their popularity. If you look at the game only from a purely technical angle, it’s just a normal J-RPG. But this particular take on the idols, the battles being live and the whole manager thing, with even some idol rivalry mixed in there, it gives the game a pretty special atmosphere you don’t find in most. There’s even a fun mini game of sorts where you can make clips with the girls dancing in choreography on a catchy song. You unlock more moves, songs, and poses as you progress in the game and can do a variety of different clips, customizing their outfits, and hairstyles as well. This mode is completely optionnal and serves no other purpose than having fun, but I always love when they do put stuff like that in games. It’s always nice to take a break sometimes and try out minigames just for the sake of it and enjoy yourself.
When they’re not saving the world, the battle idols are busy making clips and concerts for all their fans
A very Anime like experience
The game is divided into several chapters, like many others. However, when you complete one, you get an ending song and some credits rolling with pictures taken from events that occured during the chapter you just finished. Then, the game continue a bit as normal with a few scenes, and the opening cutscene with the theme song starts playing. Does this structure ring a bell? Yes it’s exactly how anime work! The game has been built to make you feel like you’re following anime episodes rather than proper chapters. Also the art, pictures, scenario, voice acting… everything reminds you of both a J-RPG and anime environment. This title was clearly intended for people who enjoy both of those.
classic but solid battle system with novelties
Now to the core of what makes an enjoyable RPG: the battle system. This one is similar to someother games from Compile Hearts, but with new twists befitting the idol setting. The base is classic: you’ve got normal attacks, special attacks for each weapon types, magic with different elements and classifications (healing, damage, buff, debuff…) and an ultimate attack for each character that is unique to them. Takt, while not a powerful fighter as he’s only a normal human being and not a verse maiden, also takes part in the fights and helps in a multitude of ways. First off, you can pair him up with one of the girls, giving her a permanent and substantial stat boost as long as they’re linked. He can also do reaction actions, such as follow up attacks after a verse maiden, damage mitigation for the girl he’s linked to when she’s targeted by an attack, or even group mitigation when the whole party is in for area damage.
This doesn’t end here though, as there a “live concert mode”. You can activate this mode consumming some gauge and it gives buffs to the whole party for as long as it’s active. The fun part with this is also that you get to choose the song that plays during this mode among those you unlocked so far for the choreography mini game I mentionned earlier. This lets you choose which battle music you want basically, and thanks to this feature I’ve listened to “Manmarumarui” way more than I should have xD Finally, there is a combo system. When several girls have turns one after the other on the wait gauge (preferably all 5 for full combos) you get to choose as many actions as your gauge allows and in which order to do them. Using combination of spells or special attacks at the same time allows for new abilities to be triggered and they chain together for ridiculously powerful combos. Even Ultimate attacks can be merged together to perform unique duo, trio, or even quintet (wink) ultimate attacks!
traThe good and bad way to look at it
I have to admit that In the beginning, I was disappointed with how the story and general atmosphere was handled. But that was coming from my own expectations: when I first saw that it was a world confined within some kind of mist and monsters attacking and was looking forward to a bit more grim story. But I soon realized that was just me and the game was thought to be more funny and light. Most of the scenes during the main story and those extra ones you get to boost affection levels with the different girls are clearly made in the fashion of harem comedy anime, with all girls wanting to get closer to the hero and him being clueless most of the time. If you’re not convinced the game’s tone is on the humorous side, you just need to take a look at most of the side quests: find the weapon of friday the 13th for a hockey masked girl, or my personal favorite, find an empty plastic bottle among monsters for an old man who dropped it and is worried about littering! There are many more like that and I was laughing thinking “really? The world is filled with monsters and all but when you can ask a favor of the five verse maidens that’s what you ask for?”
The main character of the story. She’s the mandatory childhood friend of the hero and a major klutz. While she was admiring verse maidens and praticing her singing, she didn’t think she had what it takes to become one.
The shy and smart girl of the group. She always follows and hides behind Kanadeko. But behind that cute face and shy behavior is a real gun enthousiast.
The physical girl of the party. She’s fit like a sportsman and loves running around like a storm, taking unwilling victims along for the ride, mainly Nene and Takt.
The perfect girl of the band. She’s strong, both in her abilities and personality, popular, serious… Fit to be a leader. But of course, she’s awkward in most “normal” situations, especially around Takt…
The mysterious genius. She comes accross as loner living outside the city with a strange pet animal. There are many questions surrounding her, but she is very popular and talented when it comes to anything verse maiden related.
The carefree hero. He is always calm and dislikes aything that could be trouble or work. However, he gets roped into becoming the verse maidens’ manager and find himself in a delicate situation surrounded by cute girls and hated by the fans.
My favorite bits in this game
The anime aspect and flashy J-RPG style battle system are definitely great when you’re into these. I love that for once (it’s becoming rarer by the day) you have some kind of specialization system for the characters, where you can teach them talents (passives or abilities) and choose who is going to be good at what. I made Otoha my slow but powerful character, Nene into a magic using, Kyouka into a DPS/healer, Kanadeko into a speed DPS and Aria into a combo building DPS. I miss this kind of freedom in a lot of games lately.
Also, the possibility to choose the music for the live concert feature was nice and original. I had a blast listening to these as I was doing longer fights in the endgame.
My Personal Rating
- Gameplay 70% 70%
For a turn based RPG, the gameplay felt dynamic enough with the addition of timely inputs for Takt for instance. But besides that, nothing special. You have the possibility to program very long combos and watching everything unfold is fun the first few times but it can get really long. Fortunately, the attacks’ animations and cutscenes can be skipped, which is essential for farming.
- Audio 80% 80%
The audia atmosphere was a strong point for me. While the music in most of the normal game was decent but not transcendent, the songs you get to use for the clip mode and live concert mode in combat were pretty good. Also the japanese voice acting was great and it helped even more feel like in an anime.
- Graphics 70% 70%
I loved the chara design of most characters, even the non playable and not so important ones. The pictures from special scenes were really nice and you can view them again in the gallery section. But most of all I loved how everything was built in a way to make you feel in an anime, such as the multiple credit scenes, opening, and art.
- Lifespan 70% 70%
Fairly long, especially if you’re planning to take that platinum. Around 50 hours to casually play the game and 100 to beat it 100%. Unfortunatly a lot of this full completion time is artificially inflated with lots of useless farming. The game does offer different endings depending on girls affection levels and who you pick in the end.
- Writing 60% 60%
Probably the weakest asset of the game. Don’t get me wrong I loved the funny dialogues, petty disputes between characters, parody like sidequests, etc… But that’s where I could feel the generic part of the game. The story could have been much better as the basic idea was pretty good. I really hope they put more effort on that part next time as idea’s like this idol based RPG was one that had much more potential in my opinion.
- Trophies 60% 60%
While the list was pretty ok and bug free, I was still annoyed but the sheer amount of farming this game requires just for the trophy and reminded me of Trinity Universe. For instance, after getting all other trophies in the game and clearing everything, strongest optional boss included, I was at about 3k enemy kills… That was only 1/3 of the required amount for the last trophy! I had to kill another 7000 monsters just to finish, which felt unnecessary and way too much.
The final word for Neko
Omega Quintet is one of those J-RPGs widely frowned upon as “generic” and “plain” game from our western critics. I think people should look a bit deeper into games like these and enjoy themselves without looking for something perfect or mindblowing. I enjoy these games a lot, they are more than meets the eye most of the time, and most importantly, they are very enjoyable when you like that genre and the anime atmosphere. From all those people that discard games like this, I would be curious as to how many actually played the game in its entirety and not just 5 hours (if even that). RPGs require time to reveal their depth and full potential and I feel they are widely underappreciated as many don’t push far enough to reap the rewards.
I had a lot of fun going through this adventure and that’s what counts most for me. Now I’ll go back and hum “Manmarumarui” like a happy fool xD