He was wrong, of course. The likes of Persona, Final Fantasy, Demons and Dark Souls, and the pinnacle, Bloodborne, all prove him wrong. But he wasn’t completely wrong. When Fish made that remark, he was likely talking about games just like Omega Quintet.
Imagine a world where evil monsters, called Blare, have ravaged most of the land, with only pockets of society left. The only thing that can fight off the Blare is song. Yep, singing. Enter the Verse Maidens, talented songstresses on standby to combat the Blare at a moment’s notice. But wait! There’s only one Verse Maiden left, let’s call her Madonna, and she is getting old, struggling to keep fighting the good fight.
Ah, but Madonna’s agent has been busy recruiting young ladies to succeed Madonna. Enter Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. Madonna is none-too-pleased, and beats these new recruits whenever they annoy her. However, the young ladies pull through, and are ready to make their debut as the world’s new Verse Maidens. Just as they’re about to combat the Blare for their debut however, in comes Cher, Madonna’s old teacher, with her very own Verse Maiden trained in secret: Katy Perry! Katy steals the show.
If you’re still reading this, you’d be forgiven for thinking, “what the fuck did I just read?” Well, spare a thought for me, having to actually play this game and wonder, just what the fuck have I been playing? This game is an embarrassment; but the sad thing is, the embarrassment is not down to its combat system, which is actually pretty decent, if a bit run-of-the-mill in terms of JRPGs. No, the embarrassment is due to the game’s outrageous sexualisation of its heroines, the teenage girls who take centre stage. Yep, we’ve got cut-scenes involving wet t-shirts with heaving bosoms, and crotch shots of teenage girls, one of which is presumably no more than 14 years old. It’s disgusting. This is everything that’s wrong with Japanese game development.
What’s worse, this game has a PEGI rating of 12. So let’s hypothetically put this game in the hands of a 12 year old girl. During the game, said young girl will see characters being told that once they hit the age of 30, they’re past it, useless, and have to be replaced with younger women. And don’t even think of not looking anything short of beautiful, else no-one will want to look at you. What kind of messages are these for young children just hitting puberty?
I’m willing to bet that question is probably not what was going through the developer’s minds when they were drawing these cut-scenes. They had other things on their minds, probably with a year’s supply of kleenex to hand. But let’s not dwell on that, shall we? What about the actual game? Well, as I said, the combat system is actually decent, and the game does a good enough job of gradually introducing you to its many systems. But it does get tiresome after a while; I was very thankful for the fast-forward feature to skip the more lengthy attack animations.
Visually it’s a very mixed bag. The artwork in the cut scenes is done well, even if it has all the taste of a Newcastle United fan in a cheap Soho strip club, but the environments are dire. We’re talking PS2 quality design with a HD lick of paint. Truly woeful. The actual storytelling and dialogue don’t fare any better either, and the game is not good at all at giving the player some direction. Often I was left wondering, “where do I go now?”
On the other hand, aurally the game is very good. The music is probably the best thing about the game, with catchy tunes and soothing violin passages. Additionally, the voice acting from the lead actors is decent, granting the game’s heroines some genuine personality, even to the point of making them somewhat endearing. Of course, that just makes such overt sexualisation of these characters all the more shameful.
Everything else is dire. Omega Quintet is a perfect example of what is wrong with Japanese game development. There’s a decent combat system hidden beneath a pointless story that only serves as masturbation material for its target audience. It’s utterly shameful, and is to be avoided.