Although it never got Street Fighter V and it probably won’t see Guilty Gear Strive either, the Xbox platform has never been short on excellent fighting games, especially thanks to its own platform exclusive in Killer Instinct, which saw three (and a half…) seasons of excellent content. Then of course are the recent X|S optimised fighters like Mortal Kombat 11 and the excellent Samurai Shodown. Omen of Sorrow comes to Xbox from publisher eastasiasoft and developer AOne games.
Even during the early days of the genre, fighting games were not something you could wing and get away with. They either had to be right up there with the standard bearers in order to have some value in the competitive fighting scene, or they simply did not matter. Lest we forget the atrocious efforts from DataEast during the ‘90s, many of which you can try now on Nintendo Switch Online if you were ever so curious. Nowadays the standards and expectations are much higher, especially in the fighting game community which is now part of a multi-million-dollar eSports culture.
Omen of Sorrow is a fighting game that simply tries to resemble existing mainstream hits with hopes of simply getting away with it. There’s no real point in giving it a look, let alone to invest. Fighting games either thrive or they simply fade into nothing, and for Omen of Sorrow it no doubt looks to be the latter. Without a sizeable community to support it, there’s simply no chance for it to even matter in the long term. During the review period and even following the official launch of the game, it has been almost impossible to match up with another player regardless of the time of day, and even when it would match up, the performance has been sluggish.
To get some positives out of the way first, Omen of Sorrow does look cool and the initial trailers and menu presentation will certainly have you fooled. The character designs are derivative of horror pop culture but still exhibit some personality, especially with their mostly weird sounding names. There are some cool ideas here and there, but that’s where the positives end. Even with some interesting artwork and graphical styles, things don’t come together as nicely as the trailers would have you believe. Although the graphics have their moments, the game just doesn’t look all that pleasant in motion. The sound design isn’t anything special either, and this game certainly has the most bored-sounding announcer in the history of the genre.
Omen of Sorrow primarily takes after Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct, but does neither of those influences any justice, instead bringing together those fighting game styles in a way that feels like an incoherent mess. While each of the twelve characters go out of their way to look and even play differently, there’s no real rhyme or reason in the overall fighting roster balance and design. Fighting fans chew apart games like Street Fighter IV even when it comes to animation frames and hitbox precision, and Omen of Sorrow throws this completely out the window. There is a weird character called Imhotep who has his upper and lower body completely separated from each other, with a void between them; something which completely defies any logic or common sense in basic fighting game design. Then there is Caleb the werewolf, who is a complete rip off of Sabrewulf from Killer Instinct, and not a very good one either.
The game is a mess to play, with poor hit and collision detection, inconsistent animation frames, and character play styles which feel completely out of place in the one-on-one fighting design. The gameplay experience is sluggish and cumbersome. This is just not a fun game to play, which makes the achievements absolutely baffling. Expecting players to invest five or so hours into a character is asking a lot, especially when there isn’t a whole lot of depth to any of them, but then to expect 20, 40, 60, and even 100 hours of play time is just ridiculous. Then there are the various achievements tied to online multiplayer, which are pretty pointless when there are hardly any players out there.
Omen of Sorrow on Xbox is a pretend fighting game at best. It may try to look the part, but it is barely coherent or logical in execution. Fighting fans can give this one a miss without a second thought, and even casual genre fans are far better off picking up something like Killer Instinct on Xbox Game Pass. The real sorrow is the fact that there have actually been attempts to get the game moving into the fighting game tournament scene. It’s one thing to cheer for the underdog, but it’s another to be just plain delusional.
Pick up Omen of Sorrow on Xbox by visiting the Xbox Store