Author: Nathan Doverspike
Disclaimer-Copy was obtained through purchase, not provided by developer.
As someone who loves mystery games, but isn’t necessarily the best at them, I knew I had to pick up Omensight by Spearhead Games the night it released. I thoroughly enjoyed Murdered: Soul Suspect, even if others didn’t share that sentiment. Maybe it was the self-propelled hype, but after the six hours I spent with Omensight, I was left slightly underwhelmed with the overall mystery behind the gameplay.
Omensight is a game where you are the harbinger, a being sent to prevent the end of the world caused by the evil entity Voden. Akin to games like Sexy Brutale, you follow different characters throughout the final day, unlocking more clues to the nature of the apocalypse each time. At the end of each day you are given the opportunity to upgrade your character with the experience you gain from that day, as well as learn new moves and eventually even reduce the overall damage you receive during combat. On the normal difficulty, I found that combat became a breeze after just a few upgrades, which is a shame because this game is about 85% combat and 15% figuring out the next path to take.
This wouldn’t normally be a big gripe, but there is very little mystery to actually put together. A character at the hub area between days will just tell you where to go next after you compete a day, completely removing any sense of discovery the player could feel. I have no problem with hints if I ask for them but being spoon fed the plot in a game that calls itself a “mystery” game seems detrimental to the whole concept of the title.
Speaking of gameplay, it’s worth noting that I enjoyed the locations you visit and how they change as the end of the game draws near. Lush forests become overrun with glowing purple decay; statues crumble. These areas are fun to explore the first couple times through, but do become stale towards the end. The game offers you the option to skip to the critical point in a day with each character, and that is a welcome change over their previous game, Stories: The Path of Destinies. Unlike that title, it does cut out a lot of the fluff at the expense of not filling up your clues for each character. If you aren’t worried about that, I highly suggest taking that option whenever it is presented.
That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my time with Omensight. I had a great time for the lost part (minus an escort portion of the game that I must have played half a dozen times) because it takes notes from the Batman Arkham game’s, with enemies having an indicator appear just before they attack. This allows you to dodge, counter, and combo your way to victory. The abilities you earn through upgrading and leveling up are also satisfying, like the ability to use telepathy that evolves into telepathy/life drain. If not for the constant and satisfying character progression, it would have been a struggle to finish.
The silent protagonist doesn’t do the game any favors either. Injecting any sort of personality into the harbinger would have made the numerous variations of situations you have with the different characters more interesting, because those four main characters themselves are quite a joy to hang with for a day. They all have their unique personalities, and seeing how they react to having different companions with you was certainly interesting. I just feel it would have been better if your character had more impact on these scenes instead of being nothing more than a pretty sweet-looking empty vessel.
This review may sound harsh, but that’s only out of love for the potential this developer has. As the same studio that created Stories: The Path of Destinies, they have proven they understand what it takes to implement entertaining combat into their games. The mystery part could use some work, and hopefully a third title set in this universe will nail everything down and it will come together to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Until them, I still recommend checking this game out if you enjoy that type of combat but aren’t afraid of a decent half dozen hour journey through ascetically pleasing areas.