Gomorrah Steam Review – It’s All In The Family

When Nina's father, a mafia boss, is assassinated, she has to decide whether to retaliate and fill his boots or escape a life of crime. Gomorros for Steam, out now.

Did you watch Gomorrah? How about the book? Ha ha! You’re a gamer, you don’t read! Well, if you’re sticking around, here’s another opinion on the recent release of the game with the same name (again, are they spelling it with the ‘H’ or without?!) from Sandbox and 34BigThings.

A choose your own adventure, mafia-style, you play Nina Miniero, the daughter of recently murdered boss Don Sergio. The game begins with a family event in which the latter is gunned down. A couple of storyboard-like panels will indicate key points in the story, and you, the player, will choose Nina’s path.

Woo hoo! Choices matter as each one you make unlocks one of four paths for Nina: Relentless, Businesswoman, Bloody, or Merciful. Most of the time, these outcomes can be choreographed to your preferred ending (just be nice and see what happens), but before you put on your best slippers and onesie, this isn’t a pedestrian approach of picking the ‘best’ dialogue and watching it unfold, you have to manage the family whether you like it or not.

Gomorrah Steam review - No turning back
No turning back. Source: Screen capture

Gomorrah Steam Review

Between chapters, to which I believe there were seven, separated into three individual parts, you have to manage your crew by assigning them to missions such as raids, murders, thievery and other such rogue-ish behaviour. Nina doesn’t participate in these. Instead, you select from your team with the best stats to carry out a task, occasionally opting for training sessions to boost their attributes.

In Gomorrah, the core values are money, thugs and respect. Points are awarded for each successful mission but also deducted for participating in the event, plus you’ll be docked more if you fail. Should any of the stats in those values fall to zero over two weeks, it’s game over. Additionally, during each chapter, Nina can opt for various paths that will either add or deduct her points in each field, thus earning you the desired ranking. Understood? Good.

Now, get this. Gomorrah was very buggy during the chapter selection screen – especially on the Steam Deck to the point that it was unplayable, and I could not proceed past the Prologue. Skip forward to exclusive desktop play, and after finishing Chapter Three, the game jumped straight to Chapter Five with no sub-chapters listed. Clicking on the back button, I could start Chapter Four, but for each section complete, it did the same thing of jumping forward to Chapter Five. It then crashed on Chapter Six or Seven.

Gomorrah Steam review - Results
Results. Source: Screen capture

Save Me!

Another more common ‘issue’ is the lack of save game options. If you exit the game, you can return to the menu and continue where you left off. However, if you ‘die’, that is, miss out on your resources, returning to the continue game option takes you to the Prologue, but you cannot play it. Instead, you start a new game, delete your so-called progress, and repeat from the beginning. This is incredibly annoying, especially if you want to unlock all the endings, as there isn’t much room for error.

It’s a shame, as Gomorrah is a decent story – of course it is; it’s based on a bestselling book. The trailer doesn’t do the artwork enough justice as the art style throughout – a greyscale storyboard effect – is cool and adds to the grittiness of it all. The dialogue and general narrative are concise, and one of the few visual novel-like games of late that doesn’t have any notable speling misaiks. However, the gaps between the apostrophes deserve to be swimming with the fishes. 

Completing the main story is relatively quick and doable in one session. The more you play, the more familiar you will get with repeat dialogue that you can skip. Do note that there’s no incentive for achievement hunters, as there aren’t any in the game. Instead, there’s a desire to unlock each ending and see what fate has in mind for Nina. Luckily, my first playthrough was a satisfying conclusion, but there was enough lure to jump back in and play again.

Verdict

Despite being cumbersome during chapter selection screens, Gomorrah is an engaging tale from the perspective of a potentially complicated protagonist. Does Nina want to continue in her father’s footsteps or bite the hand that feeds and get out of the game? Very low-key but well worth repeat plays at your leisure.