The world is ending. This is not a sentence you really want to hear, especially considering that the world is where you spend your time. Thankfully, it does make a compelling story for a video game. Such is the case of Omensight, a murder mystery on the last day of the world. It seems like a strange time to be concerned with such a thing, but that day also holds the key to saving the world. Can you solve this last minute murder, or is the world doomed?
The game opens up in the tail end of a war between the Pygarian Empire and the Rodentian Clans. As both sides prepare to enact their final assaults, a giant snake known as Voden appears to destroy the world. Luckily, the Harbinger also appears, and her job is to relive this final day over and over until she can figure out how to prevent the world from ending. Each day, she teams with a new character, from Pygarian emperor Indrik and his right-hand woman General Draga to Rodentian leader Ratika and drunken mercenary Ludomir. Each character has their own perspective on the events, and as you learn things you can change what the characters do, hopefully, to save the world.
Right from the start, it seems clear why the world is ending. Vera the Godless-Priestess has been murdered, and no one can stop Voden from entering the world without her. As you investigate your four companions, you slowly piece together the events leading up to the last day. It's one hell of an interesting story. Each character is well fleshed out and full of motivation for their actions. I found myself caring how the game played out and wanting to see how I could change things. I became genuinely upset when fighting against characters I cared about. Each new revelation renewed my interest. It was impressive just how much care Omensight put into these characters.
Of course, you can't solve a murder and save the world without killing someone along the way. Picking a companion also means temporarily picking a side in the war. If you work with Ratika or Ludomir, then you'll be fighting the canine army of the Pygarian Empire. Working with Indrik or Draga means instead you take on the rat and raccoon based Rodentian Clans. Both sides have to also deal with Ciphers, a mysterious fish-like force that comes from another dimension. This means that there's a good amount of enemy variety no matter what side you're on. Everyone shares the same basics, but each side has unique units you need to contend with. For example, Rodentian summoners can call and chain Ciphers to help them fight, but if you kill the summoner you'll free the Ciphers to create havoc.
The combat itself starts off pretty simple. The basics aren't too different from the system first made popular by the Arkham games. You'll jump from enemy to enemy, performing either light or heavy attacks while dodging their attacks. As you advance you'll gain access to new moves and abilities. By the end of the game, the Harbinger is able to slow down time, shoot explosive magic balls, and use telekinetic powers to toss people around. You'll also usually be accompanied by a partner who can use special abilities to assist you. At first Omensight does a great job balancing making this fun and varied enough without getting over complicated. I didn't feel like I had to memorize and recall specific abilities that were only good for rare situational moments.
Yet, thanks to the way Omensight works, things begin to get repetitive. Since you're constantly repeating the same day over and over you'll be seeing some locations several times as you try to work out who you need to get information from and where you can use this information. This means you'll be repeating a few encounters more than once. A section that required me to sit on top of a giant tank and wait as it slowly advances is lengthy. It only really stood out because I must have done it at least five times before the end of the game, and I grew more sick of it every time.
There are six unique bosses in Omensight, and I enjoyed fighting each of them the first time. Sometimes you'll have to duck and weave through lasers to strike during a rare opening, while other times it's just a straight up all-out brawl against a bear. There's a bit of a double problem here. Like before, the time-traveling nature means you refight bosses a lot. However, most characters are naturally drawn to either Ratika or Indrik. This means you tend to fight these two disproportionately more than the others. Notably one act, for reasons I don't want to spoil, had three of its four paths end in a boss fight with Ratika. The one that didn't was Ratika's path. While the nature of the plot makes this inevitable, I do sort of wish there was a little more variety here.
While the combat is fun, if repetitive, the platforming never really hits its stride. The game allows Harbinger to double jump, but she never gets any other real skills. Most of the time the platforming just feels boring, as you do little more than jump from one easy to reach ledge to the next. Sometimes, these segments last too long, leading to a different kind of boredom. It doesn't quite feel like it has much of a place in the game, and ultimately Omensight would probably have been better without it. Thankfully, there's not too much of it in the game.
Thankfully there's plenty to explore. As you go through days you'll get special keys to locked doors throughout the world. Open these doors and you can find hidden stashes of XP and amber to spend on upgrades. You'll also come across snippets of lore about the characters, detailing their rather impressively long histories. Considering how much I liked the game's story, I had a lot of fun finding these.
It helped that Omensight was rather pretty. There's some good artistic work here, and the game is full of expressive characters and lovely environments. There's also a fantastic soundtrack that manages to fit the game well. I was surprised the first time a choir broke in for a rather big fight, and a quiet piano helped get across the moments that needed something less dramatic. The game's voice acting is also mostly on point, with one exception. Ratika's voice acting doesn't quite seem to fit in as well as the others, and at times I found her more annoying than funny.
Omensight Review | Final Thoughts
Still, I came away from Omensight rather pleased. It felt like Spearhead Games looked at Stories: The Path of Destines and knew that, with some tweaking, a much better game lay within. This is exactly what a sequel should be. Improving upon the original's clever ideas while refining everything else. While some repetitiveness sets in, there's an extremely clever murder mystery wrapped up in some fun combat.
Also, there's a singing rat, so what's not to love?
- Great Murder Mystery
- Fantastic Characters
- Fun Combat
- Beautiful Graphics
- Lovely Soundtrack
- Gets Repetitive
- Iffy Platforming