Omega Quintet review written by Marc H.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Omega Quintet is a jRPG that your wife/girlfriend/mother is going to look at you strangely for playing. Moreso than the usual looks you get from jRPGs. Crafted by the crew at Compile Heart, this entry in your library is super Japanese, even though it’s been translated over. That is not meant in any sort of disparaging sense of the term, but instead, if you tend to embrace the concept of Japan’s pop idols, and always wanted to turn those into battling jRPG characters, well this is your chance.
You see, here in North America, pop stars are sexualised, but nowhere to the degree that they are in Japan. In a number of cases, the girls are hired by a company specifically to look as sexy as they can while also maintaining an innocent/lolicon/cutesey facade all overtop of it. The status quo is that these are the girls that everyone would like to date and show off to their friends as -their girlfriend-. To this end, they are also contractually obligated not to date! Now this review is meant neither to condemn nor laude the state of the industry, but instead to give you a feel for the sort of game you can expect here.
This game is a social commentary or parody of that paradigm. If you go in without realising this, the characters are going to seem pretty horridly designed, so it is important to keep that in mind first and foremost. You see, the adoring fans of the characters (yes, there are adoring fans) that show up and endanger their lives just to watch their magical girls vanquish evil, are a direct analogy to people that will spend everything that they have just for a chance to meet and impress these girls that are not allowed to date them in the first place. Each girl has a colour/theme/personality that makes them distinct, but they all have the same forced cuteness to them, while also ensuring that every skirt is far too short to be modest, and that every cutscene has at least two bum-shots displaying the patterns and colours of their underwear.
The mechanics of the battle system are complex and, for your first couple of hours, confusing. It is a turn-based system, a la Final Fantasy X, but instead of different speeds for characters changing the turn order, different abilities change the characters’/enemies’ placement upon the grid. Attacks all have an ideal range at which they do extra damage, and so your first goal is to put your girls’ appropriately distant idol into the correct row so that she can make quick work of the target enemy. The enemy also has a target range that it wants to hit, and this often differs from the one you have established, so it will be trying to shift things around to its own advantage against you, while always attempting to maximise the buff and minimise the debuff turns. Every nth turn, a buff is given to the character acting, and every other nth turn, a debuff is handed out to the lucky character.
The upgrades and customisation as you grow your characters is also deceptively beefy for a title that, by its very nature, does not seem to want to take itself too seriously. What this game lacks in character depth and gripping story, it more than makes up for in complexity of character development. Which isn’t to suggest that Omega Quintet lacks a story, but merely to acknowledge that it is, first and foremost, a semi-scathing satire of the state of affairs when it comes to the idol market.
Between twists involving the nature of Blare or the MAD that it creates, as well as the truth of the identity of one of the Verse Maidens, there is an actual plot taking place, but between doing quests to up your approval rating, running around dowsing or eliminating Blare for hidden items, and then managing your pairings with Takt (the protagonist), managing harmonics for chain skills, and chasing field breaks to Overkill as much as you can to get not only a higher action count, but also bonus loot!
In short, if you have an understanding family/friends that aren’t going to tease you for occasionally trying to use the free-movement camera to attempt to look up a girl’s skirt (Yes, you can try to do that, and yes, they react in an appropriately cutesey/scolding fashion to deny you), this is a solid title to sit down and sink a solid work-week into.
If you want to see all the content in the game, you’re looking at closer to triple that figure. So book the month of February off and treat yourself to an extended Valentine’s Day with Aria (My waifu of choice).Score: 8.5 / 10