Review – Omensight
I didn’t know what to expect from Spearhead Games’ new title, Omensight. I knew the art style was beautiful and it seemed to have some Norse or Celt values but other than that, I was going in blind. I was half expecting a walking sim much like Bound: A beautiful, creative, intriguing work of art that, unfortunately, remains as two dimensional as its canvas. Instead, Spearhead Games does a fantastic job of grabbing and holding my attention through the games style, music, characters, story twists and overall game play. What Omensight actually turned out to be is an honest isometric action hack-n-slash murder mystery.
You play as the Harbinger, a mythical warrior that only arrives in the land of Urralia at times of great crisis. All you know is that a great battle is being waged between the Pygarian Empire under the orders of their emperor, Indrik, and the rebel Rodentian, a tribe of humanoid rodent and bears. And with Vera, the Godless-Priestess, murdered, there is no one to bring an end to this war.
Winding through the battle, you learn of the brief history of the two warring clans. You witness the death of key characters and form bonds with their spirits which, later in the game, allows you to relive and interact with that person’s final day. And you learn of the great serpent Voden, returning to devour the world after 300 years, whom you were sent to defeat.
The tutorial ends with the world’s destruction. Just before your own demise, however, you are summoned to what is your central hub. Here you can use XP to level up and learn new abilities. You can also use Amber to receive blessings for your abilities, attacks and stats. This is also where I think the most interesting twist of the game is. Until now, Omensight is an isometric button masher. You combo string light and heavy attacks as you jump and dodge. You platform and you move objects. But here is where you find a big part of Omensight is it being a murder mystery.
Using your spirit bonds on key characters, you can go back and relive their last day on Urralia. At first, you can only interact and relive events for Draga, leader of the Pygarian forces and Ludomir, a Rodentian freedom fighting bear. But as the game continues, you come across other key players that each played a part. Reliving Urralia’s final day over and over again, collecting clues and adding them to your chart, trying to solve the murder of the Godless-Priestess. I thought that this was a very nice hook and it does a great job of allowing you to piece the clues together the way that you want until you unravel the mystery.
Which takes us from key players to key moments in the game. Using the power of Omensight, seeing certain echo ripple in time giving you a glimpse into a past event, you can then show this to a specific character which changes the adventure you have with them. You can also choose to show a level’s boss this Omensight, which may form a bond with that enemy, but cause mistrust with your companion.
You would think that playing the same three of five areas over and over again would result in fatigue, but it actually becomes a strength of the game. Thanks to the power of Omensight and unlocking previously locked areas, the level design always makes it feel fresh. One way they achieve this is when you do replay an encounter, it will ask if you want to skip directly to the confrontation that required you to make a choice. The few misses for me were having to retread too much of an area if you die against a boss or key confrontation. Even having to manually skip each sentence of the antagonists pre-battle speech. Bugs weren’t prominent in my game, but there were a couple times I did get stuck in a wall. And although I really enjoyed the background music as I played, the voice acting was not nearly as good.
At a time where isometric adventure games could really use a boost in creativity, Omensight could be exactly what some need. Complete with combos, abilities, leveling, chests, unlockable areas: Spearhead Games has delivered. But while the game play is solid, it is their twist and flavor to how the story is delivered that really takes center stage.
Spearhead delivers a truly beautiful world and characters.
Presents a very sound and meaty hack-n-slash title while silently gets you hooked to solving the mystery.
Soundtrack and music beautifully fit the setting but the voice acting feels like it is performed by the developers.
Fun Factor: 9.0
Each day’s replay has me wondering how it will change and who the new suspect is.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Reviewed on PS4.
Omensight is available now on PlayStation 4 and PC.
A copy of Omensight was provided by the publisher.