It’s revealing that I’ve played Omega Quintet for around 7 hours now and still don’t know exactly how all of its systems work. Not only that, but its merciless barrage of tutorials hasn’t let up; I’d estimate that I’ve seen between 30-50 tutorial screens (individual ones—each tutorial consists of several screens, so we’re not talking about quite that many tutorials), and there’s still a menu option in combat that remains grayed out, suggesting that at least one more awaits further in. Despite all of that, however, I’m still enjoying my time with it. The music is fun and playful, the characters are affably dumb (for now), and the combat is starting to open up and become more complex. Even if I don’t really understand how it all works yet.
Hey, here’s a cool feature
I’ve played a lot of RPGs, around half of which I’d estimate were jRPGs, and yet I’m struggling to think of a single other game I’ve played that allows you to skip through combat animations to speed up the gameplay like this. I’m sure there is one, but it’s definitely rare enough that nothing comes immediately to mind. You’re not skipping combat, obviously, and you select your attacks like normal, but the resulting animations are skippable, and that’s one of those remarkably obvious things that no one ever seems to include. Even better, there are multiple skip buttons, and these allow you to skip ahead to perform a QTE-like secondary attack with Takt (so long as the girl in question has him equipped) or simply skip through the entire thing if the extra damage isn’t necessary. In short, this aspect of the game is very well done.
Sidequests and special skills
In the field, all of the party members have a special skill that they can use. This isn’t something that I’ve done a lot of outside of eliminating level 1 Blare barriers like the one in the video above, though, because no one’s skills are good enough to do anything else yet. Apparently these skills will become stronger as certain quests are completed, though I apparently haven’t encountered any of these quests yet. Regardless, I’ve been going out of my way to complete every available quest because I read somewhere that there are good and bad endings that you get locked into based on how much side content you’ve completed. That’s one of those things that I’m never really sure how to judge; on the one hand, locking the game’s real ending behind a bunch of obscure requirements seems like a cheap way of padding things out, but at the same time, games like Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (and presumably the original two Valkyrie Profile games) pull this off in a decent way.
Still wrapping my head around the skills
The party members gain points after leveling up (possibly also when leveling up their weapons—there’s a lot going on here) that can be spent in “disc analysis” to purchase new skills, which then have to be equipped. These skills are effectively spells, and they all work kind of differently; some affect a single enemy, while others hit all enemies in a certain range. Now that fights are ramping up to be against 4-7 enemies at a time, the skills that damage all enemies in a medium-sized circle have proven to be the most valuable and time-saving. There are also Harmonics, which can be activated when a bunch of party members have turns after each other without being interrupted by an enemy. Basically, it starts a giant combo that allows you to freely switch between party members, and this enables you to perform special skills (don’t remember the name because I just started figuring this all out) by switching through your party members and having different party members use certain skills in a certain order. I know all of this is confusing and difficult to wrap your head around, but the gameplay mechanics here are also confusing and difficult.
Quest enemies are different than normal ones
Inconsistency is one of those things that really gets under my skin, but Omega Quintet is actually pretty consistent in this particular bit of inconsistency. Normal enemies patrol around and can be surprise attacked by hitting them with your attack to lead into combat, but quest enemies remain in place and the only way to get into combat with them is to get close and select “investigate.” No surprise attacks.