War, war never changes. The battle between Rodentia and Pygaria met its end with a great nuclear fire, and now you must arise from the Vault and dwell….wait, wrong series. Omensight is an action-adventure/murder mystery title from Spearhead Games. Recently released for Switch and also available on PS4 and PC, the game sees players take control of The Harbinger, a warrior of legend whose sole duty is to prevent the end of days. Her sudden appearance in the world means that the end of the world is upon us. While war rages between two distinct regions, Rodentia and Pygaria, the great serpent Voden has broken free from the earth and will end all forms of life on its path of destruction. With a priestesses’ death playing a key factor, the Harbinger has been sent back in time to relive the world’s last day over and over until a solution to stop Voden becomes clear.
The concept sold me as soon as I stumbled upon it, and the gameplay shown in the trailer also had my attention. Now, the story is simplistic in nature, but there are a lot of moving parts here so I will try to keep things on the straight and narrow. As Harbinger, you start each day in a small hub area that your companion, a witch, brings you safely back to before meeting your demise at the hand of Voden. From here, you pick from a set of four statues, each of which represent a main character (or suspect) in the storyline. There is emperor Indrik, the ruthless ruler of Pygaria who has issues seeing past his pride. There is his dutiful and distinct General Draga, who’s clear head allows her to see different angles of every situation (who might I add, is underutilized as one of the more likeable characters). Opposing the duo and the Pygarian for that matter is both Ludomir and Ratika. Ratika is the leader of, you guessed it, Rodentia. She is a natural leader, but has some clear self-conscious issues that sometimes make her indecisive or just plain mean. When she is not using poetic words and music as her weapon, her ally Ludomir steps in to bring his fists down. As a bear, he is a big brawler, with a bit of a drinking habit and that’s not all he is thirsty for. Ludomir has revenge on his sights, and blames Indrik for, well, for something. I can’t tell you that. You have to do your own, time-bending, dirty work to find out that and much more about these characters, where the come from, and their motives. I won’t delve much further into their lives or their place in the story from here on out.
Each “day” with a character will play out differently, depending on any new information or keys you may have acquired elsewhere. There is a chapter system to the game that basically lets you know you are heading towards the end the further you progress, with one key instance needing to be revealed during the duration of each chapter. These are known as “sights”, which are truthful visions that the Harbinger can share with the other characters to change the course of the day. These are in place of words, as Harbinger is a mute, while the rest of the characters are solidly voiced over. There are a few different areas on the map you will progressively go through, almost certainly with each character, and due to the nature of the game you will visit them often when restarting a day. But again, these paths will change, and days will playout differently with everyone depending on what you reveal and other actions you take with or against them, which keeps things from feeling stale. In addition, if you visit a characters “day” again within the same chapter because you want to try and find out more or have a plan for a different outcome, you can skip ahead to the most notable part of their day and save from repeating the basics.
The days themselves are fun to experience though, if not for the story than for the very fun gameplay. The action here is very slashy, in a modern but retro-respectable. Think a cleaner and smoother God of War 1&2 feel, with fixed camera angles and a specific approach on chaining attacks. Harbinger can do light and heavy attacks in addition to using jumps and dodges to stay fluid. These bits of action made me more impressed by the games structure, as it was just a perfect fit. There are also abilities Harbinger can use via energy gained from combos. She can shoot a ball of energy, do an instant kill, or do a chain of three instant kills. There are also abilities that regenerate over time, like the ability to slow down time, grab enemies or objects and throw them, or do a lightning quick dash. Besides Indrik, each companion has a timed ability that you can use too. Draga and Indrik both do damage to an area when triggered, while Ratika gives Harbinger a temporary speed boost which makes chaining combos a breeze. Both abilities and Harbingers personal traits can be improved by offering crystals to the gods as a donation of sorts, while abilities are unlocked by leveling up with experience. Both of these upgrades take place during your time in the hub area. Their integration and variety impressed more, but it seems that technical issues here were just one of many featured on the Switch version.
To coattail off of the combat, some abilities felt very counter intuitive. I would make multiple attempts to smoothly integrate one of these moves into my combo, only for it to not trigger, resulting in me taking damage from nearby enemies. The Grab ability specifically seemed to be the hardest for the game to recognize, unless I stood motionless for a few seconds, which is not the smartest thing to do mid battle. More concerning though is the games major resolution issues. While it looks a bit better docked, the handheld graphics are so poorly displayed. This hurts, because the trailer looked rather clean and inviting graphically. Omensight has a lot of color, but playing on the Switch washes that all into a look that represents something nearly two generations old in terms of quality. To top it off, I would suggest NOT leaving this game in sleep mode for any lengthy duration of time, as it consistently crashes upon returning. This happened to me several times when I neared the end of an area, only to have to go back to the start thanks to the crash.
The technical issues, as well as a not so great-ending, really hindered my experience with what I would otherwise consider a great game. These issues dwindled it down to just good however. I loved the combat style and the lighthearted but intuitive feel the characters and their stories all contained. It has the makings to be one of those great Jak and Daxter-esque titles from the PS2 era, but I don’t want the graphics to come with it. There is a lot the game gets right, but if I could restart the day I requested it, I might have asked for a PS4 copy instead. I hope you will go that route if you choose to buy this title, as it deserves some love for sure, but until something is done about the technical issues on Switch, I cannot recommend it in its current state.
XBOX ONE REVIEW NOTES:
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review.
+Great Action Adventure Feel
+Looks and Runs Great (Xbox One)
-Technical Issues (Switch)
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