Arts video game review

Apocalyptic snakes and warring animal clans

‘Omensight’ beautifully focuses on a world on the brink of death but not willing to go down without a fight

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The Harbinger and Ratika race through the Crimson Forest in order to solve the mystery of the world's end.
Courtesy of Spearhead Games

Developed by Spearhead Games
Published by Spearhead Games
Rating T for Teen
Available on PS4 and Windows

Omensight takes place in the kingdom of Urralia, torn by a war between the imperial powers of Lord Indrik and his accompanying bird, cat, and dog clans and the rebel forces of Ratika and her rallied rat and bear clans. During this conflict, the Godless Priestess, Vera, is murdered, which only works to flame the fires on both sides of the conflict.

Then, to make matters worst, legend has it that when the world is nearing its final demise, the Harbinger will appear and prevent its end. In Omensight, you play as this supernatural last resort. The death of the Godless Priestess means the loss of the only power keeping back the dark forces of the Void, and when you’re thrown into the game, the Void incarnate, Volden, has already been summoned to devour the world.

So if the world already ends at the beginning of the game, how are you supposed to save it? Meet one of the most crucial gameplay mechanics in Omensight: the ability to travel back in time. There’s just one caveat: you must first establish a connection with a character companion’s soul, and your travel is restricted to their last living day. Upon the first demise of the world, you’re called to the Tree of Life by the Witch, a timeless, supernatural force who seeks to guide you, the Harbinger, as you figure out the mystery behind the Godless Priestess’s death. By using the Tree of Life’s power , you can travel back to the dawn of the last day as that character’s companion to discover as much as you can about how that character plays a part in the end of the world.

Speaking of companion characters, the developers do a good job in making each of the four main characters come to life with very distinct personalities and amazing voice actors to boot! At the start, you’re given the opportunity to travel back in time with either the lawfully good General Draga or the drunken, always-angry Ludomir. Later, you’re also given the chance to accompany the strict, merciless ruler Lord Indrik and the chatterbox, rebel leader Ratika on their last days before the end. The more you play through the game, the more you learn to rely on certain characters to discover certain things about the murder mystery at hand. For example, no matter what, I almost always went to General Draga as an initial companion through the beginning of each chapter because she was a reliable character who could clearly guide you to the next point of interest.

The developers of Omensight also did a remarkable job in the writing of the story. The plot twists were not easily predictable, and nor was figuring out where each character stood on the moral spectrum. Each of the four main characters you interact with are purposefully written so that you can’t ever really point the blame at any one of them, with the exception of General Draga, until the last act of the game.

Some other things worth mentioning are the soundtrack of Omensight, as it always works to complement the game’s scenarios while absorbing the player into the game’s settings, and the level design, as each level takes on a new meaning with each companion character.

Now, for some setbacks of the game. The combat, while fun and very fluid in its execution, would at times be more challenging than expected, usually because there was a limiting factor placed that would affect battle dynamics. For example, with each companion character, you’re given a special attack to use specific to each character —  unless you’re using Lord Indrik. Since he is the emperor of Urralia after all, of course he would take commands from no one, not even the Harbinger. And, all things considered, when you’re being flooded by 15 dredge (creatures of the Void) and counting, it gets pretty annoying when Lord Indrik refuses to use his shiny fireball powers to help you out when you specifically need it.

Also, even though the story overall is pretty well-written, there are still some minor things that are either never explained clearly or just plain confusing when you’re first exposed to them. One of the most glaring examples of this is the change of heart Lord Indrik undergoes at some point in the story. As part of the game, you can collect memories that shed  insight into the backstory of each character important to the story, so you can begin forming your own ideas of the kind of animal they are. But then, something happens like the aforementioned Lord Indrik situation that seems to completely go against his established character. While it is convenient for the story, it confuses any player who was invested into learning about each character arc and makes things seem less sincere.

Overall, despite its few flaws, Omensight is an excellent, intriguing, and worthwhile game to pick up for fans of the fantasy and murder mystery genre alike.