Omensight Review: Mysterio
Kalvin Martinez / May 29th, 2018 No Comments
We often overlook how effective a strong hook or plot device is in drawing us into a video game. As a mechanic-driven medium, it is easy to forget how stories play a huge part in keeping our attention and transport us into a role. Games that use such devices well end up being memorable and hard to put down.
Omensight banks big on a strong hook, clever time mechanics, and great character work. Luckily they all work out extremely well, resulting in a game that is endlessly engrossing.
Find the Killer, Save the World
Urralia’s time is near its end: two of its nations are at war, its Godless-Preistess is missing and presumably dead, and Voden has returned to usher in the destruction of everything. While everything is bad, there is some hope left.
As Voden’s appearance signals the apocalypse, it also means the return of the Harbinger. The Harbinger is the one thing that stands between absolute ruin and salvation. Her unique power to link with souls, travel back in time, and problem solve gives Urralia a strong chance at survival.
Besides Voden’s return, there are several major mysteries to solve: who murdered the Godless-Preistess? If she was murdered, why hasn’t her soul returned to Urralia? Most importantly is the why of it all.
There is also the whole thing of a war between Pygaria and Rodentia. To find the answers, the Harbinger will have to use her powers and uncover clues by influencing the events leading up to Voden’s appearance. It’s hard averting the apocalypse, but the Harbinger is up to the task.
Omensight’s premise is its greatest strength, but we’ll talk about that in a little bit. Even though the plot is amazing, the story does a lot of good things with character. While there is a lot of backstory to find out in memories hidden throughout the game, the most impressive character work happens as part of the narrative gameplay.
As you replay and influence each character’s day, you see new wrinkles in their character based on how new information shapes the events of their lives. By changing the flow of events, you’ll illicit more details and expand the scope of the character’s relationships as a result. It is a unique way of building character, and works to make you like the subjects of the story to spectacular effect.
The coolest thing about Omensight is its murder mystery setup. Much of the story is about finding clues and piecing together disparate information to find answers and solutions to the end of the world. The Harbinger’s greatest power is the connection she makes to several pivotal figures.
Reliving their days prior to Voden’s appearance are vital to figuring out what happened to the Godless-Priestess and how to stop Voden. The choices you make are important because time is finite. You can only accomplish so much in any given day. Using the information you gather and making intuitive leaps on what will help you find the next major clue are key to choosing which character’s day to relive.
Information is only partially useful; you need to figure out how to enact it. Much of that comes from paying attention to significant moments in the events of each character’s day and how those events can be influenced to change the future.
When you get to a breakthrough, however, you gain the power of omensight. Omensight are significant events that can be shown to people in order to sway them. Every time an omensight is used, it changes the course of the character’s day, which results in you finding out more significant information. Utilizing an omensight can help you get closer to saving Urralia.
While Omensight has its own action-RPG gameplay, the emphasis on narrative, choice and characters is the strongest element of the game.
A Detective and A Warrior
Outside of being a fascinating murder mystery with a renewed focus on the meaningfulness of player choice, Omensight is anchored by compelling action-RPG gameplay. This seemingly incongruous duality is what makes the game so hard to put down.
As the Harbinger plays through numerous events and visits a multitude of areas from different angles and perspectives, she gets into many, many scuffles. Whether fighting soldiers from Pygaria, rebels from Rodentia, or corrupt monsters spawning from Voden’s growing influence, she is more than capable in combat.
Armed with a powerful sword, a dancer-like ability to dodge and weave in order to avoid enemy attacks, and the power to influence time on the battlefield, it is a joy to square off against any enemy as The Harbinger.
Whether mixing up light and heavy attacks or delving deep into her array of special attacks, there is a lot of creativity to be found in Omensight’s combat. Much of it comes from The Harbinger’s ability to slow down time in a wide radius. Using this ability, you can set up a wide range of possibilities that otherwise would not be possible.
There is a good amount of depth to Omensight’s upgrade system. When you’ve reached the limit of any given day and Voden attacks, you are brought back to the Tree of Life. Here you can study the information you learned and plan your next step, but more relevant to combat, you can also spend crystals and experience at two altars.
Experience can be used to improve your level and unlock different moves and passive perks. This allows you to gain new skills like dash, instant kill, and projectiles among others. These skills are further improved by spending crystals at the other altar. You can improve your attack power, reduce cooldown time or strengthen your defense if you’re diligent about collecting crystals.
While you spend a lot of time fighting mobs, Omensight has some key boss battles that put your skills to task. Many of these battles are won (or lost) by effective evasion. If you aren’t dodging effectively, you can get overwhelmed easily and die. They are some tough fights that help highlight what makes the combat so engaging.
Omensight is a refreshing take on narrative-driven games. The choices you make in the game feel important and of consequence, which is more than you can say for most other games. On top of the fantastic story, it is also an exciting and smooth action-RPG with cool gameplay mechanics.
This is definitely a game you should be playing this summer.
Omensight was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by the developer.
tags: Omensight , Omensight game , Omensight review , review , Sprearhead Games