Omensight Review -- New Revelations Lead to Recurring Events
In Spearhead Games' Omensight, a murder-mystery action adventure game, you play as the Harbinger, a silent being meant to prevent the destruction of the anthropomorphic world of Urallia.
As the Harbinger, you must use your time-traveling ability to interact with several important characters, revealing new information along the way. At first, you can only travel down a single path with each companion character, but as more secrets are revealed, you gain the ability to open special locks that will lead you down several new paths as you slowly figure out the details of past events.
A Versatile Warrior
The Harbinger uses its sword, quick speed, and magic to deal with enemies, with standard light and heavy attacks, ranged attacks, time-slowing spells, and more. A well-timed dodge can also slow down time for a brief moment, allowing for a swift counter-attack -- although this can only be done three times in a row before requiring a cooldown. As you defeat enemies and finish and repeat levels, you gain experience that will level you up once enough has been accumulated, which in turn grants new abilities. Amber you collect from each level can be used to purchase additional abilities, upgrade existing ones, and reduce the cooldown time of companion abilities.
The companions who join you on your quest help you open doors, access hard-to-reach platforms, and fight enemies. Most companions have their own special abilities that you can command them to use when needed, which is useful when you feel overwhelmed by enemies. Companions are also useful when managing your health during earlier boss fights, as they will be focusing on only one enemy and do a decent amount of damage just by themselves, even if it does take more time.
Although the companions themselves each have distinct personalities, and you learn more about them in each playthrough, you don't sympathize with them much due to the short time frame of events. Since you can travel back in time, character deaths only matter when you can gain new information from them; otherwise, they're just a small detail on certain paths even if they do still affect the outcome in the end.
Stuck in a Time Loop
As previously mentioned, each time you finish a level and go down a new path, you will be given new information to help you solve the mystery. Sometimes, certain events will give you visions of the past, and using your power of Omensight on each character will allow you to share your visions with them. After Omensight is used, it will alter events and put the characters in different situations and locations, allowing for the unlocking of new areas.
The main concept of using the power of Omensight to change the course of events and attempt to prevent the end of the world is interesting, but it comes with some drawbacks. Although levels are expected to be repeated, they become too repetitive, with character dialogue and other elements only changing further on in each level.
When repeating a level, sometimes you have the ability to skip to the critical moment at which an important choice must be made, and depending on what information you already have, each choice can reveal more details about what you want to know. A problem with this is that skipping to the critical moment doesn't skip directly to it, instead making you face a few groups of the same enemies once again before reaching it. Additionally, Omensight does not allow you to fully skip cut-scenes, with dialogue being able to be skipped only line by line, and with some not even skippable. For a game about time travel and repeating events, one would think that there would be a better fast-forward option.
Looking for Clues
Like other story-based games, without certain paths unlocked or details revealed, you'll get one of the bad endings in which either some or all characters will die, and you ultimately will not have prevented the end of the world. This is where the mystery solving aspect comes in, because to make up for those missing details, you'll have to piece together all the clues from the information you've already accumulated, using the investigation board to your advantage. The selected difficulty level can also change the difficulty of your investigation, from giving you plenty of hints to having you solve the entire mystery yourself to everything in between. This adds an engaging layer but unfortunately doesn't help cover Omensight's flaws.
The art style of Omensight is heavily stylized and allows for some gorgeous scenery, but seeing the same areas over and over again becomes stale. New paths might unlock as you progress, but that doesn't change the overall look of the level. The music is well-done, and while it suffers from the same repetition problem as the rest of the game, it's nice that each piece of music has some different variations.
Something is Missing
Omensight is a single-player-only experience but could benefit from a co-op mode. It could have one player as the Harbinger and the other as whichever companion was chosen, with the second player switching to other companions after one dies or heads to a different area for story reasons. Another option might be to make both players the Harbinger, and although it wouldn't make sense given the story as written, they could be treated by the companions as if they were still just one character.
Omensight has some interesting concepts with changing story events, but its unvaried, repetitive nature holds back a more entertaining experience. With a few tweaks, Omensight could provide a more enjoyable adventure, but the land of Urallia can only be traveled through so many times before meeting its demise.
Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher.