Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Compile Heart
Until a few days ago, I would've said that the most boring game I've ever played was Planet 51, a terrible licensed PS3 game built around some now-forgotten kids movie. How dull was it? Let me put it this way: one of the "missions" was you cutting grass for about ten minutes. That proved to be one of the game's most memorable moments.
I mention this in the context of Omega Quintet because, as you've probably guessed, it's a strong contender for that crown. While it may not ask you to deliver any newspapers or cut any lawns, it more than makes up for that with more exposition and explanation than you can possibly imagine. Every time you go anywhere or do anything, you're immediately greeted with page after page after page of seemingly endless talking. Trigger an event, and you get screen after screen telling you how everything works. It's possible I may have dreamed this, but I swear at one point there was even a help screen about how to use the help screens.
Of course, all the text wouldn't be so bad if what it was conveying was actually interesting. If Omega Quintet had any of the Atelier series' charming earnestness, or the surprising wit on the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, it might feel like it was worth it to scroll through screen after screen. Instead, it's all just mindless teenage prattle, and it won't take long until you automatically hit the fast-forward button every time a new event begins.
For the most part, the gameplay is just as bad. You go into dungeons (or suspiciously dungeon-like fields), you wander around and you kill X number of enemies via turn-based combat, and then you return to the base, report on your progress, and accept new missions. If you've ever played a JRPG before in your life, you've pretty much experienced everything Omega Quintet has to offer.
Or, at least, you've almost experienced it all. Because even though nearly everything else in this game is about as standard-issue as JRPGs get, there's still one wrinkle Omega Quintet adds to the equation that sort of sets it apart. See, it's described as a JRPG-slash-idol simulator hybrid, and that slash makes a world of difference. In between the boring missions and the boring dialogue, you get to take advantage of the game's "Promotion Video System" and indulge your inner music video director.
Yes, you read that correctly. The game's focus, after all, is on the Verse Maidens, a pop idol group that just so happens to also be the world's last line of defense against invading monsters. Obviously, unless you're a massive fan of awful dialogue, you don't want to endure their adventures or the adventures of their hardcore fans, but you just might be up for creating their music videos. I mean, it's all J-Pop, so your interest in that aspect of the game may be dictated in part by how much you like the music, but seeing as the rest of Omega Quintet is awfully dull and this one aspect is actually kind of neat, it may hold some appeal even if you're not a fan of the genre.
Only a limited amount of appeal, though — and certainly not enough to make the rest of the game worthwhile. In fact, I'd say that if that pop idol simulation thing appeals to you, you're better off just grabbing Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection for the Vita, indulging your inner J-Pop mogul's every whim there, and forgetting this game even exists. And if it doesn't? Then you may as well have a nap, because that would basically replicate the Omega Quintet experience.