Review by RemTheRetroPlayer
"This is not as good as it could have been!"
At first, I spend time on the Sega Dreamcast version of this game, but I was forced to stop playing that version since the game keep having random freezes when it would not load an area every time you go through a door thanks to how bad the port was and the lack of optimization. Cut to the PC version, load times with my setup were almost non-existent and I could finally get into Junpar without the game crashing on loading such a huge area on a GD-ROM that seemed to have issues loading areas on the disk. Anyway, right after you get to Junpar which is the second part of the game, everything slowly goes downhill from there. The game become rather boring or more so disappointing for the most part with puzzles that you really need a walkthrough for, and I hate games that give you cryptic puzzles to solve! This is a video game, not a game of riddles and clues!
The PC version has some early 3D graphics, but playing this game on a CRT TV next to my PC made this game look much cleaner and as good as the Dreamcast version. Outside of that, everything is dull and a bit on the grainy side. Its an early 3D game since this was obviously intended for Windows 95/98 PCs. Higher resolutions don't seem to fix it like I want to, and it even slowed down my PC which is strange for an old game to do considering that my PC parts are as old as 2010-2011. The cities in the game have a certain degree of life only due to the sliders (cars), and motorbikes driving around, along with tons of people out on the streets walking around. Outside the city areas, everything is pretty much feels abandoned, and the effects in the game have limited detail. Its funny that for the time, the graphics were one of the best on the PC though the dreamcast beats it so its hard to compare it to relevant time.
This is not bad at all. The music in the game has a subculture or eccentric feel to it that is hard to explain. It normally plays at the right moments, but there is not much to say about it overall, except that it works well with the eerie futuristic, gloomy environment that you the nomad soul is stuck in. Sound effects for the most part is decent, and I find that I like the noise it makes when you access your sneak (inventory), and search around for items. Voice acting which I can't forget is were its at which means its what it is as in not bad and well done.
Controls 3/10 Keyboard/Mouse 7/10 (Controller)
Time and time again, you always going to have that one game that has bad controls, and this is one of them. Even though its not stiff and Resident Evil style like on the Dreamcast, it still is pretty bad. The problem here is that setting your keys to wasd to walk for example does not always work for every situation. You got a game that tries to do it all, adventuring, first-person shooting, and one-on-one fighting! Now try to play the game with a keyboard when you realize that wasd becomes a nightmare, mainly when you are in FPS mode! Its a nightmare because the keys become very confusing to map, and even with a controller its still bad. Before I read it in one of the walkthroughs around it, there was a suggestion to use a controller to move and the mouse to shoot and look around in FPS mode. I find it pretty sad for me to do something like this to make the best out of bad controls. It even got me to the point were I deleted the game off my hard drive out of frustration before reinstalling it a few hours latter (good thing I backed up my save then) because one of the missions in the game. I will talk about more about later in the gameplay section. The controller itself is not too bad during the adventuring phase of the game which you spend most of your time in, luckily. Overall, the controls are just no good.
It all starts when a character by the name of Kay'l from the world of Omikron which is a video game, comes to you asking you for his help. You agree to help him, and then you find that you (the character who is playing) is transferred into the world after Kay'l jumps right into a portal you follow him through. Right when you are inside Omikron, you find yourself inside Kay'l's body, and then you are attacked by a demon who manages to knock you out with a single punch. Right before he about to take your soul, a Mecaguard (they are kind of like Robocop) comes to your rescue, chasing the demon off, and it was a good thing it did because the main antagonist would had gotten what he wanted along with feeding off your torment for eternity. Anyway, once that ends, you walk outside into the city of Anekbah, but before you actually start to play, you have to sit through the introduction credits along with David Bowie singing. Forced intros to be honest are not my thing, and its about three minutes long which feels like a long time in game time.
From here, since you find yourself in Kay'l's body, you do his occupation as a police officer for a while, and from there you work to recover his memories while you are in his body. The more you learn about kayl and the last case he was investigating before his death and your occupation of his body, the more you uncover about a dark conspiracy that has been slowly coming to life within the world of Omikron that is connected to deaths of random people, and deaths of police officers that got too close to the truth behind the murders. Quickly, you will find that you are in danger since you are of great interest to the main antagonist, and the only way to escape this danger is to align yourself with people have been working for a long time to put a end to the plans of the antagonist and his minions along with the ambitions of Reshev (The Dictator of Omikron). This storyline is pretty good and the best part of the game sadly since the gameplay does not measure up.
At first this game was fun to play, but technical issues are what started to bring it down for me. First off the adventuring. The controls are very similar to Resident Evil in the sense of how you move except that they are a bit looser unless you play the console version of the game. In this mode you do a lot of running around and traveling by slider. At first this was kind of fun traveling around the city areas, but after you get to Junpar, it starts to get annoying, but mainly because Junpar is a maze were as the other cites such as Qalisar, Lahoreh, are large, but less annoying except the fact that I could not find any sliders to use in Lahoreh which added to me quitting the game close to the last part of it. You get bored traveling around and fetching items, and you end up spending most of your times picking up items, reading articles and books, storing what you don't need in a multipan (electronic storage that exist in most places), and along with the worst parts such as solving tedious puzzles and ways into places during missions which forced made my shameless self into using a walkthrough to get to the next part already!
Oh, no, the FPS aspect of the game. I remember the first time you are thrown into this mode! It was one of the most out of nowhere things I experienced in a game. Even though you know a gunfight was going to happen, I didn't expect this! This mode is your main fight mode in the game and during most major missions that involve infiltration. What makes this mode bad to play is the controls! The mouse sensitivity is too high in this mode and there is no way to adjust it to what I remember, and for you to have a decent way of playing the mode you have to use a d-pad as your control stick to move around, and the mouse to shoot things and aim. The controls are so bad in this mode that it is hard for me to explain in detail why the keyboard or controller by itself is not enough to get the job done. Since I could not find a good way to strafe or a good key to set strafing too on the controller, I pretty much had to take a bunch of hits at a time in this mode. I was so concerned with rushing through this mode because how unconformable I felt in it. The maze-like rooftop mission drove me insane along with hearing that music for 30 minutes straight, and the factory mission, I almost didn't know what I was doing at the end since there was no indication that I completed my main objective and I was just hitting switches in the last room in hopes of escaping, and it worked to my surprise since nothing ever works for me well in video games and real life when it comes to situations like this. Terrible overall!
The fighting mode is the best action part of the game, and the controllers are decent in this mode if you are playing with a controller of course. The mode plays like stripped down, cheap version of Virtual Fighter 3. The fights are easy as long as you stay aggressive and not let them fight back! In some hard fights, I normally just spam the punch button in hopes of not losing. You can even improve your fighting stats in this mode but the problem is that once you reincarnate into another body, you have to start all over again unless you run into someone who has experience. I find it funny that some enemies in the game literally drag and throw you into the center of the room with there bare hands as a non verbal way of saying they want to do some hand to hand combat, and its in slow motion as well when it happens. Silly if you ask me.
I wanted to like this game, and I wish I did. It was a bad enough sign when the Dreamcast copy of the game that has no scratches refuses to load the next part of the game, and when I get to that part in the PC version, it just slowly got more boring and a bit frustrating to the point were I just quit right at the search for the jewels! That is pretty close to the end of the game as it is, but I didn't care, mainly because I saw the ending already, and what the last place looks like were the last battle takes place. Anyway, I don't recommend the game, but if you want to try it, then whatever. I don't dislike the game, but I just don't want to play it no more due to technical issues.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 07/13/12
Game Release: Omikron: The Nomad Soul (US, 11/02/99)
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