I’ve always dreamed of becoming a detective when I grow up. I mean, who doesn’t? Solving mysteries and outwitting your enemies in ludicrous fashion remains an irresistible proposition to this day. But I didn’t end up a detective. But I get to play games where I solve nigh-impossible mysteries, apprehend murderers and perform daring tasks while doing the first two. This is where Omensight comes in.
Omensight is an action murder-mystery game developed and published by Spearhead Games. A spiritual successor to their previous game Stories: The Path of Destinies, Omensight was released for the PC, PS4 and the Xbox One on May 15 2018.
Story and Narrative
The story of Omensight takes place in the war-torn land of Urralia which is inhibited by humanoid animal races. The kingdoms of Pygaria and Rodentia are at each other’s throats. The Godless-Priestess Vera is murdered. Sensing all this chaos, the void king Voden appears to devour the world and everything in it. You play as the Harbinger, a silent mythical warrior who only appears in times of crisis. You are granted the power to relive the final day of Urralia in the perspectives of different characters connected to the murder. Solving the mysterious murder of the Godless-Priestess is your only way of saving the world from the brink of apocalypse.
What starts out as a generic end times story gets progressively better the further you get into it. The tone of the game strikes a perfect balance between lightheartedness and dark themes. All the important characters in the game have well defined personalities and are well written. Collectible memory stones lets you learn more about the lore and your companions’ backstories. The seemingly simple story of a murder gets more complex and interesting as time goes on. There are plethora of surprising twists and turns along the way to keep you engaged.
Gameplay & Mechanics
The key feature of Omensight is the Harbinger’s ability to manipulate time. Throughout the course of the game you’ll meet several companions including Draga- the Pygarian army general, Ratika– the rebel leader, Ludomir- a mead drinking bear, and Endrik– the Pygarian king. You use your powers to relive the last day with any one of them at a given time. Through each of their perspective, the plot becomes more clear (or complex) as you unlock the next clue in your puzzle. Following different characters will reveal new information, and eventually you’ll unlock an Omensight, which is a breakthrough in the investigation. You can use this newly gained information to take decisions that alter the events of the day, the fate of the companions and the final outcome itself. This mechanic is very fun and keeps visiting the same level over and over again a fresh experience. Even though most of the levels are quite small (10-15 mins), the lack of a mid-level save system is frankly annoying.
The player doesn’t have to fear hitting a brick wall in the investigation as the normal difficulty gives you enough hints and tips to progress further. But purists can crank up the difficulty for a more intuition-driven experience. It’s also highly advised to play with a controller as keyboard and mouse controls are not that great.
Despite being an investigation driven game, you’ll spend the majority of your time engaged in the hack n slash gameplay along with a companion. Omensight features a fast paced hack n slash combat system with all the bells and whistles that comes with it. You are armed with a sword and unlock additional abilities as you progress. Powers like casting a bolt of energy, slowing down time and performing insta-kills comes with their own set of upgrades. The same goes your health and sword. You can also use companion abilities which differ from one to the next. Combat is fluid and smooth. It’s simple, but one that works.
Omensight features pre-defined camera angles for just about everything. The problem is that sometimes it doesn’t pan the way you expect it too, or some angles are not arranged accordingly to the level layout. While most of the platforming sections still work well, many of the combat encounters turn out to be frustrating. Enemies outside your FOV can take potshots at you and your character might get stuck in an awkward angles. It’s a rather small price to pay for an otherwise enjoyable experience. While the existing game mechanics work well together, I would have appreciated some more variety, such as some light puzzles or some sort of detective mode. Thankfully, the game ends before the mechanics overstays their welcome and gets repetitive. An average playthrough lasts somewhere between 7-8 hours, but the open ended narrative encourages replayability.
Graphics, Performance & Sound
Omensight is built using Unreal Engine 4. Instead of using a ground up or fantasy art style, the game uses a neon infused art style where the primary colors just pop up in front of your eyes. The game reminds me of a lot of abstract digital arts people post online. It’s a looker all right. They can also get away for using low resolution assets this way. It ends up working in favor of the game.
The game runs well even on what can be considered a low end build these days. I got around 50-60 fps in low-medium settings at 1080p using a GTX 750. There is four presets and an anti aliasing option to choose from. You cannot customize individual settings.
The music is pretty good, if not your standard fantasy-mystery soundtrack. Omensight uses voice acting talents like Patricia Summersett (Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and Julian Casey (We Happy Few, Stories). They get the job done. Sometimes you feel like there is not enough gap between spoken dialogues, but that’s just nitpicking.
Omensight tells an engaging story using the interesting time manipulating aspect. Meeting all the The characters and learning their backstory and angle made it worth seeing the game to its end. A few puzzles here and there would have been a welcome addition. But a story that encourages multiple playthroughs and the fluid combat system, combined with the captivating art style makes Omensight worth buying.