Omensight

I have only ever gone to one murder mystery night in my life and it was Disney themed. Yes, you read that right. We dressed up as famous Disney cartoon characters and there was indeed a murder. I have always been fascinated with this type of idea and placing it inside of a video game seems like the perfect fit. Funny enough Omensight got the formula right and created one hell of an experience.

Developed by Spearhead Games, Omensight is an action-adventure murder mystery game where you play as the Harbinger, a mysterious warrior who has come to find out why the world has been destroyed and to solve a murder that has twists and turns that you would never have expected. Spearhead Games’ previous title was Stories: Path of Destinies and Omensight, set in the same universe, takes a lot of what that game did right and makes some calculated yet positive changes to the already impressive gameplay. Instead of branching out to have a crazy number of endings the team decided to make a handcrafted story in just 18-months of work and they wanted to ensure that it was heard loud and clear.

The world is at war between two different factions of animals: the Pygarians and the Rodentians. The Pygarians are strict in nature and follow rules and regulations forced by their Emperor Indrik. The Rodentians are a more rebellious faction led by Ratika. The main story has a high-priestess named Vera murdered and a demonic serpent named Voden unleashed on the world for reasons you must uncover through playable flashback-type sequences.

As the Harbinger it is your responsibility to uncover the truth about Vera’s murder and to do so you repeat the same day over and over in flashbacks but with four various characters by your side, one at a time of course. As you progress through a character’s day you unlock clues that help you discover the mysteries that surround murder and war. The way these days change is through Omensights, these are memories (significant evidence) that the Harbinger finds and then shows to each character to give them a push in a different direction each time you play their day. Since the Harbinger is a silent character you really get a feel for what each of the four supporting characters are going through. No distractions seem to equal better gameplay in this respect. In all honesty you will probably care more for the characters and how they are showing their emotions rather than the actual events of the mystery. The ability to fight your supporting cast also makes for interesting decisions but the game will always push you to do a certain thing no matter what. Also, as much as this seems like a “choose-your-own-adventure” experience, it really isn’t. There is a story to tell here and you will make decisions based on where the game leads you. Maybe you won’t uncover everything there is to find evidence wise but it definitely leads you to a meaningful end.

Enemies come at you in plentiful fashion. This is a war so it makes sense that there is combat everywhere. Since there are two factions your enemies will come from both sides as well as some monsters from the serpent Voden. As you get stronger in battle so do your enemies. The closer you get to the end the quicker and fiercer the enemies seem to become. It does become mostly repetitive but once you learn the move-set it flows naturally and you can move from set to set without much harm done (depending on your difficulty setting of course). There was only one real scenario where I got frustrated with the combat and it was a timed sequence. You had to kill the enemies before they got to a specific object but the other enemies would hit you from all directions and your concentration had to be perfect. I admittedly failed at this many times until I methodically figured it out enemy by enemy. I also found myself swinging at nothing multiple times because I thought I was within reach but never quite got the distance down because every attack seemed different dependent on the enemy. Once you adjust to it the combo-system shines brightly with chained attacks making you feel like a God.

You collect two types of currency throughout the levels and you spend these on either learning new skills or upgrading weapons and/or existing skills for the Harbinger and your supporting characters’ special ability. You will find yourself wanting to backtrack because there are inaccessible doors with coloured locks and chains on them that you can only open once you have gained the ability to do so from your supporting characters. This was actually a great element taken from their previous game that allows you to revisit areas and be rewarded for it.

The art-style is beautiful once again but doesn’t change much from their previous title. Each locale borrows from another but with the colors changing here and there. As a result, you will find yourself lumbering through the same type of hallways or corridors with only slight differences. You can jump in Omensight, which you could not do in Stories, so the verticality of the levels becomes a factor. Secrets could be hidden in different types of places and one small missed jump could cause a laughable death.

One of my favourite elements of this game is the fact that they had voice-overs for every single line of dialogue. I really felt that this added to each character’s personality and I could distinguish how they were truly feeling about each situation. Why don’t more games do this? Without it the game would not have felt the same at all.

As I reached the end of the game I felt like the last section was thrown together in a hurry. There was a mix of confusion and a loss of emotion as I battled my way through what I thought would be an epic and mind-blowing event. This sequence alone left me with more questions than answers. There are a lot of great moments in this game and it is worth the playthrough. If you liked Stories: Path of Destinies at all then you will want to pick this one up.

~~Fredd Eyles~~

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