There’s a lot going on in Omensight. A mystical fantasy world. The murder of a priestess. And a giant snake looking to end the world. The fact that so many of these narrative pieces work so well in tandem with one another is a testament to the ability of Canadian studio, Spearhead Games. But this isn’t the first time they’ve done this. Their previous title, Stories: The Path of Destinies shares many similarities. Branching story lines, anthropomorphic animals and the potential end of the world. All of these elements are present in Omensight, but is this as big of a success as its predecessor?
You assume the role of the Harbinger, a mystical being who only appears in the world of Urralia in times of world ending crisis. The mythical being Voden (a giant snake) is coming to end the world, and it’s up to you to prevent this. At the centre of all this is the murder of a Godless Priestess, and it’s up to you to solve her murder. The two are seemingly connected. To do this, you must replay the same day over and over again, accompanied by various characters who have important roles to play in the games central mystery.
Essentially, Omensight feels a bit like Groundhog Day thrown into the middle of a fantasy murder mystery. It’s a fascinating, albeit slightly confusing setup. Crucial pieces of the puzzle exist on both sides of an ongoing war between opposing groups, and you’ll team up with both to determine what happened to this Godless Priestess. Members of the conflict nations of Pygaria and Rodentia hold key information in deducing what happened to the Godless Priestess. It’s fascinating to see both sides of the conflict, and adds a delicate narrative balance. It should be noted that there is a lot of exposition early on, and it can become quite overwhelming. But as you spend more time within the world, the moving parts become clearer, and the intrigue thickens.
One other thing that should be noted is that all the characters are animals, so this might all seem a bit ridiculous. Think of a Game of Thrones style world where everyone is trying to murder each other mixed in with some political intrigue, but everyone’s an animal. It’s a testament to the narrative that you actually buy into it, and it doesn’t seem silly it all. It’s actually all rather engaging, which is a testament to the work of Spearhead Games.
The level design is fairly linear, and largely consists of you getting from point A to point B with one of the supporting characters. You’ll move through the world, defeating enemies in a series of fairly repetitive combat encounters, performing both light and heavy attacks as well as dodges; you’ll settle into a rhythm pretty quickly. There are some special abilities that come about as you earn experience and level up, which occurs between levels in the central hub of Omensight. These spice things up a bit, and the controls are all very functional and work as they should, but it’s hard not to feel like most encounters end up going the same way.
Breaking up the combat sections are a few bits of platforming, which consist of scaling a set of fairly basic environments. Again this works well enough, and it provides a nice enough break to mix things up, but everything starts to feel a little samey samey after a while. Ending each section is a boss battle, but these don’t really add a whole lot of variety either.
One thing the game does deserve massive props for is the unique visual style. Colours are vibrant, and bounce off the screen. The art design is clean and concise, and has a really distinct feel that enhances the mystical nature of the realm you inhabit. The soundtrack is also very impressive, adding to the already epic feel of Omensight on Xbox One. While the narrative is engaging though, the dialogue isn’t great. At times, it feels overly bombastic, and the cheese factor can become a little high sometimes. Luckily the characters actually do become endearing enough that you start to mind this a little less, and they reveal themselves to be surprisingly more complex than you would ever expect. On a couple of occasions, I thought I had them figured out, only to find out something about them that I didn’t expect, allowing me to see them in a new light. Overall though, this is a tale that will continue to surprise you until the end, and that’s largely due to the uniqueness of the world and the complexity of the tale it weaves.
Omensight is a strange one, and honestly not what I expected at all. While the combat works well, it can feel a bit repetitive after a while. What doesn’t is the mythical world, the branching, twisting storyline, and the whole Groundhog Day mechanic which is a fantastic twist on an already intriguing story. You should definitely pick this up if you have an afternoon or evening to kill. It’ll be well worth your time.