Tuesday, 29 May 2018 09:00

Omensight Review

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Omensight, a murder mystery with action, was developed by Spearhead Games and features a familiar beat-em’-up style of combat seen in games like the Arkham series and Shadow of War. As the Harbinger, your role in this anthropomorphic society is to clean up the mess whenever the apocalypse gets a spot on the calendar. With the Godless Priestess dead, it’s up to you to use your handful of abilities to solve her murder and stop the apocalypse by living out the same day repeatedly through the perspective of others.

There’s been a murdah’

What sets Omensight out from other titles is its approach to the classic whodunit genre. Rather than beating up everyone you see in order to collect names, you travel back in time to beat up everyone you see in order to collect names. The extra add-on with this is that you’re always accompanied by a companion with his or her own ability to offer. Each of the companions has their own faction and set of ideals. Given that the world is experiencing the apocalypse and a World War simultaneously, each character is on an opposing side, and picking who to believe and side with certainly becomes tricky.

As you progress, you can return to memories that you’ve already experienced with new sets of skills to unlock paths that you couldn’t access before. It is on these paths that you’ll find yourself quickly changing sides as new perspectives are opened up to you. The nice thing about this system is that it’s an efficient way to recycle existing levels while also opening up new ways to experience them. Very rarely did I find myself really even noticing that I was playing a certain level for the 3rd and even 4th time, although there are definitely stale parts that simply feel like a waste of time replaying.

Omensight allows you to adjust the difficulty to match your play style, ranging from easy and narrative-based to difficult and assistance-free. I chose the hardest difficulty, but the story flows somewhat naturally, and the combat was still far too easy. The story can seem a bit forced and cheesy at times, but that never took away enough from the story that I didn’t find it enjoyable. Considering a hefty majority of the narrative experience is figuring things out for yourself and choosing sides until it unfolds for you, there’s little to be said without spoiling anything; it’ll be a hit or miss for most people.

Paper animals in a shaky-cam epic

The combat in Omensight is nothing new. Enemies surround you, you hack at them with light and heavies to build up combo points which you spend on finishers, and you occasionally press dodge if the enemy even has a second to attack you while enduring your barrage of slices. Your companion, being in your control, adds yet another crutch to your arsenal by allowing you to interrupt any incoming damage with a strong area of effect attack. As it stands right now, the platforming is the most mechanically-difficult part of the game, but sadly that isn’t because of clever level design.

The default control scheme has you pressing “W” to move forward and using your mouse to steer, which is definitely an impractical approach. On top of this odd movement, the camera does not follow your character like a standard third-person shooter, but rather moves around based on where in the room you are. I found myself jumping off of cliffs as the once-straight path turned sideways because the developers felt that a dynamic rotating camera was necessary to a platforming section with tight jumps. The camera may seem like a minor annoyance, but when the camera is your only cause of death, frustration truly builds up.

A Harbinger’s Urralia getaway

The levels may be linear, but the way that each one opens up in new ways as you unlock new routes really adds a nice dynamic to each level. The lighting and colorful design really make everything in Omensight pop in classic cell-shaded fashion. The only drawback of the style choice is that characters often look flat, rather than hitting that sweet spot between 2D and 3D. Areas feel large, and the contrast really helps bring details out. Levels littered with lava make sure of being the main source of light, which adds a great dramatic touch. It’s very clear that classic platformers and adventure titles were a large source of inspiration for these developers, because the design is neat and never becomes a messy labyrinth. That can also be credited to the otherwise killer camera as well.


The Verdict: Good

Omensight is balanced right on the middle of the scale. On one hand, you have a unique take on action and mystery combined, but it’s injected with dreadfully easy and repetitive combat. There’s a great world that has fantastic design and direction, but the shoddy voice acting often pulls you out of it with forced lines that don’t sit well. Omensight has all of the workings of a good game, and manages to deliver plenty, but its shortcomings still take a big toll on the overall experience of this indie. For fans of Stories: The Path of Destinies, picking this up will be a no-brainer, while others should understand that this will be a real hit or miss for most people. If combat isn’t something you necessarily find important in a game and find yourself more concerned with narrative, this will more than likely be a good pick for you.

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Stephen Martino

Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color. 


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