After playing the demo for Omensight at PAX East my hopes for this game were sky high. The action murder mystery concept seemed very different from most other games out there and I was a bit nervous when I started playing the full game. It’s not unusual for a game I’m excited about to let me down in some ways and I really wanted Omensight to be amazing. As I dug further and further into it I was happy to realize everything only got more interesting and intriguing. Although the gameplay is initially straightforward the complexity of the gameplay and story evolves throughout and prevents Omensight from having any lulls while also not being overwhelming.
The player character in Omensight is called the Harbinger and you are tasked with solving the murder of the Godless Priestess and preventing the ensuing destruction of the world. The way in which you go about doing this is by accompanying each one of four characters on their last day. By doing this you learn clues which will help solve the mystery. When specific pieces of information are learned you gain a new Omensight, which is a vision of the events of the past. This ability allows the Harbinger to share the vision with one other character and enlist their help to further investigate the goings-on. The gaining of a new Omensight also marks the end of each act and changes the gameplay a bit.
There are five different locations which are where most of the events take place. I was initially concerned five locations and four-character viewpoints might be too few to prevent repetition overload. I tend to have a very low tolerance for repetition in games, so I was considerably worried about this at first. Thankfully every character has different ways to get through each area and different goals when we are there. This means although I was technically in an area I had been in before we were doing things in a different enough way, or going to different areas in the location, so it did not feel repetitious. Additionally, even when I did need to go back and redo a day with a companion again there is an option to skip to the important part which is not only a huge time saver, but it also helped to keep things new and fresh.
My only complaint with the general layout of the story is as soon as I unlocked the Omensight ability I lost the ability to just experience the other character’s last day. This made me sad because of the order I chose each character I missed out on ever seeing the original last day of Ratika. When I went to see her, my only option was to show her the Omensight I had unlocked thereby changing the course of her day. I’m not sure missing this one part adversely affected my game at all though because I did see enough of her through some of the other characters’ days to have a good idea of what happened. It’s more from the perspective of someone who wants to see everything being blocked from content bothered me.
Combat in Omensight starts off simple but as I levelled up a lot of skills were unlocked which made combat much more interesting. Initially, I had a dodge, a light attack, and a heavy attack which is all standard for action games. Once I unlocked a new skill, the first one was a charged lightning ball I could shoot at enemies, the importance of dodging in combat flow became apparent. As you attack you gain energy and the more attacks in a row you chain together faster you gain energy. Once the energy bar is filled once you gain a power orb and these orbs are what are used for some of the more powerful abilities. The reason dodging matters here is because every time you take damage you lose some energy and you can even lose power orbs this way. So, avoiding damage whenever possible is important even aside from the whole not wanting to die thing.
While there is no loot in Omensight there is copious amounts of amber to be collected. The first thing to know about amber is it’s a blue crystal which seemed a bit misleading to me. The second thing is amber is how you improve not only your skills and sword but also how you improve the abilities of your companions. At first, I thought the prices of amber for the ability augments, and especially sword improvement and health increases, were set crazy high. However, I quickly realized this highly incentivized exploration to find all the chests hidden throughout the various areas. Once I started looking for the chests everywhere I had to make far fewer hard choices about what to upgrade. It still wasn’t enough to unlock everything when I wanted it, but I also felt like I was keeping up with everything well.
In addition to the action and RPG elements, there is also some light platforming to do in nearly all the areas. None of the platforming sections is complicated, even the ones where the way through isn’t obvious, but there are a few tricky perspective jumps in the game. Thankfully underneath the Harbinger is a soft blue light which indicates where she is. This was hugely helpful to me because I’m pretty jumping challenged on even some of the easiest jumps.
Another cool aspect of Omensight is how they handled difficulty settings because the game can really be tailored to what you’re most interested in. There’s a difficulty where the deduction board is disabled, and you must keep track of all the information you learn on your own and one where the deduction board is still on, but all the combat is harder. There is also a difficulty setting where the deduction board is disabled, and the combat is harder. The combat being harder settings are the most interesting to me because even on the default difficulty some of the boss fights were quite difficult. Most of the time boss fights are only difficult until you figure out the key mechanic and then they often become easy. There were a few here where even though I knew exactly what I needed to do, doing that wasn’t easy.
I only encountered one bug while playing where the ability to open a door didn’t trigger and I had to reload. Unfortunately, I had made it most of the way through the day and had to restart from the beginning of the day, but this wasn’t a huge deal. Outside of this one issue, nothing else went wrong during my playthrough. The game looked and sounded great all the way through and I’m looking forward to playing again and seeing what things I might have missed.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PS4 with a code provided by PR.
Compare to: I honestly can’t think of any games to compare it to.