Omensight (Playstation 4 Review)
Omensight has heart, it’s a story full war and strife with no clear villain – going as far to show both sides of the story when apt. So it’s a shame that Omensight unwittingly blinds itself by showing the player so many sides that it loses track of the bigger picture. It does have some pretty nifty swordplay though.
Stepping in to the shoes of the ‘Harbinger’ you are sent to Uralia to prevent the end of the world at the hands of ‘Voden’ after he escaped his celestial prison. But things aren’t quite as simple as stopping the bad guy, so the Harbinger must now jump through time to uncover how Voden escaped his cell and prevent the events that follow.
Set over the course of one day, you’ll have until the stroke of midnight to prevent the world’s end or the entire day will reset. It’s a loop that players will traverse and explore until they get to the root of Voden’s victory while consulting with key figures (Draga, Ratika, Ludomir, and Indrik) central to the end of days. Getting to know this crew jumping through time with you will contribute to your investigation board which acts as a big puzzleboard that fills with clues with each successful repeated day.
It’s just a shame that the repetitive nature of Omensight is its main plight. As time passes and more of the story is revealed, the Harbinger is able to see the truth of the current situation as if it is divine intervention. That would be fine if it worked well, but the visions never quite matches up with everything you’ve just discovered. It almost feels like the effort you’ve put in is wasted as the real story unfolds and it happens several times, irrevocably sullying the journey piecing together the grand puzzle at the epicentre of Omensight.
Ironically Spearhead Games never had the foresight to take note of the intended conclusion to each act and how it all worked as a cohesive whole, resulting in an incredibly short game that almost retcons itself every act. The 4 stages available in Omensight only take about 10 minutes to complete, so it comes as a surprise that there wasn’t more of an effort to expand the playtime a bit. There is an attempt at adding longevity in the ability to reset all the major discoveries in the investigation, but it just diminishes that investigation further.
Thankfully Omensight is more than the story it has to tell, right at the centre there is some rather addictive gameplay. Similar to to Rocksteady’s Batman titles, combat is melee centric and focuses on attacking, dodging, and the use of special abilities in an almost rhythmic fashion. Some enemies feel like they have an unfair advantage in their speed that will throw the established methodical approach right out the window, requiring lightining fast reactions to counter them and mash the buttons as fast as you can to survive.
If you continue to struggle with defence you may need to invest in upgrades to your armour and health. After each loop you return to a hub, the Tree of Life, where you can level up and unlock new skills, but it’s superficial due to the linear design of what is on offer. There isn’t much to boast about here due to the rather formulaic RPG approach, but it does sign post the evolution of your character and is indicative of the world of hurt you’ll be taking towards the upcoming enemies.
While the combat is something to talk about, it’s Omensight’s artstyle that will leave a lasting impression. Everything is so wonderfully realised, from the cell-shaded architecture to the inhabitants of Uralia – all of which are anthropomorphic beings. The rendered characters don’t quite standout out as much as their 2D sprites, but Omensight is still amazing to behold even if there isn’t quite enough to take in.
Omensight offers a glimpse at Spearhead Games’s potential, even if it is stifled by the narrative. It’s rhythmic combat and gorgeous visuals are impressive and it’s an easy recommendation for anyone looking to fill that Batman: Arkham Asylum shaped hole in their heart. There’s also the added bonus that it’s kind of like Groundhog Day for furries, if you can count that as a bonus.