Omensight is an unusual game, it isn’t a million miles from the studios previous game, Stories: The Path of Destinies, in that you have multiple paths you can follow which ultimately changes the game and eventually the outcome. Another interesting fact is that Omensight and Stories are both set in the same anthropomorphic universe, even though I don’t recall seeing any familiar faces during my playthrough. Spearhead Games have created a game that’s not only a joy to play with an intriguing story and solid mechanics, but also a beautiful world which will have you begging for a photo-mode of some kind.
Omensight was my Pringles, once I started playing it the other day, I couldn’t stop until I had emerged the victor and finished my 12-hour playthrough of the game – I was having that much fun!
Omensight’s story is fairly simple but it can get a little complicated, so I’ll try to keep it as basic as I can. It’s the end of the world as we know it! Urralia is on the brink of destruction at the hand of Voden, an evil being which is being summoned by Emperor Indrik. There was but one person who could have stood up to the Emperor and tried to stop this event from occurring, this person was the Godless-Priestess Vera. Unfortunately, this sole protector had been murdered and the people of Urralia were left to fend for themselves.
Suddenly, a skilled warrior who exists outside of time itself appears on the battlefield – meet the Harbinger, our protagonist. You have foreseen Urralia’s impending doom, which is about to take place, and have arrived in order to save the people. However, you arrive too late and bare witness to a number of key players in this timeline as they lay there, with cold, lifeless bodies. As such, there is little you can do, Voden awakens and the land begins to shatter beneath your feet! At the last minute, you hear a voice shout out to you and guides you through the darkness. The voice belongs to a Witch who fills you in on your prophecy and destiny. You must stop Voden from destroying Urralia and this sacred realm.
But how? You were there, Voden has already destroyed the world – it’s too late! Or is it? (obviously not, otherwise it will be a very short game). Within this sacred realm lies the Tree of Life which, just like the song of time in Majoras Mask, can send you back to the dawn of the last day in order to relive someone’s final moments. That’s right, throughout your investigation into who killed the Priestess, you will come across a few key characters and you will absorb their souls. Once you have these, the Tree of Life will be able to cling to them and send you back to their final day.
As you go backwards and forwards, you will uncover new information, find new pathways, make new allies, and accidentally on purpose kill people who were your friend five minutes ago in another timeline. This is a story about going back and forth in order to learn new things so you can move on, kinda like groundhog day, only it follows the same rule as the definition of madness – if you do the same thing over and over, you won’t get a different result. It’s all about finding out more and using that information to your advantage.
I came into Omensight with expectations through the roof as I’m a massive fan of Stories: The Path of Destinies and equally as big a fan of the mystery/puzzle/action-RPG genres. I’m happy to say that the game did not disappoint me in any aspect initially.
The combat is satisfying and progressive. Whilst within a timeline, you have the ability to run, jump, dash, perform various attacks and throw items. As you create bonds with the various companions, you can perform a special attack with each one, such as a body slam and a massive increase in your speed. Also, as you defeat enemies, you obtain experience points which can be used to level up in the sacred realm at the end of each timeline. You don’t have a choice in what you get, but every time you level-up, you are given new abilities or skills. You can also use the money you also collect to purchase things like a health increase.
I kinda wish there were a few more attacks as I spent a lot of the early half of the game doing the same attacks and just spamming slash until the enemies die – but as you get further on you unlock other combos and attacks with makes it a bit more diverse. Your attacks are all weighty and you can really feel the impact as you land the hits as well – do you use the fast, but weaker, attack or risk it and use the more powerful, but slower, one in order to vanquish your foes? I used both in almost every situation!
Finally, you can grab opponents and throw them around, as well as massive exploding barrels – which is always fun – or even slow down time. That’s right, not only can you travel through time but you can also control it. Hit the R1 button and you create a time bubble with a few seconds of slowdown – you move at normal speed and everyone else is about 1/5 of their usual speed. This really help against bosses and enemies who are annoying you as it lets you get in a load of cheap hits! I was really impressed with the combat though – it all felt great, everything was smooth and if I ever rolled off the edge to my death then it was because of me and not because of the controls. Although, if I rolled off because I was trying to roll through an enemy to damage them and I misjudged and overshot it, then I blame the enemy for taunting me to begin with!
I won’t say who they all are as I want to leave a few surprises for you within the game, but these are basically your time anchors. You find a soul and the tree with cling to them and upon returning to their final day, you tag along with them on their journey as you ‘convince’ them to either take you to their death, so you can prevent it, or change their future based on prior knowledge from tagging along with someone else earlier on. This is where the game gets really interesting but also very easy (depending on the difficulty level you pick).
Let’s say, the first companion you’re with takes you to the place they die, you managed to save them this time but along the way you spot a few locked gates that only a certain person can open. As you are about to celebrate, Voden appears and proceeds to end the world and you’re taken back to the witch. Your next point of call will be to tag along with the one who can open the locks in order to live out their day and also learn how they open the locks. Once you know, you can jump back to the other timeline and now you can open the doors which were once locked or progress further. I suppose you could say that it’s a Metroidvania style game without the backtracking, as it does that for you with the daily reset.
The other thing I love about these characters, other than how gosh darn cute they are, is the lore and story behind them all. They all hate each other, that much is clear, if you have one person as your companion for example, then the enemies you face will actually be the army of one of the other companions you can follow. The issue is, once you reset, so do all of their memories, so your best bud in the whole wide world in one timeline may actually turn out to be a boss battle in the timeline of another person…
I know what your thinking, “Rob, this game sounds like groundhog day where the Harbinger is Bill Murray and everyone else forgets everything. If that’s the case, how does the story progress? You can’t explain everything each time you see them can you?” I’m glad you asked that as the answer is no, you can’t and you don’t. Another skill the Harbinger has is the ability to implant memories into peoples heads. So, once you have played through all the characters days and you have learnt new information about the murder, you inherit a 10-20 second cutscene as a memory within your mind. Upon returning to one of the characters days, you give this thought to the companion and boom! They instantly think something different, which results in the character deciding on different actions and thus a new path in life for them to follow, and for you to accompany them on.
This is an interesting mechanic, it’s nothing new as it’s basically just working on the timelines until you get a new memory. Then you work on the timelines until you get another new memory to implant and go down a different route – rinse and repeat. However, it’s really well implemented and keeps the game fresh as each pathway, although sometimes in the same areas, go down physically different paths and into different areas.
The main issue I had with this, and with the game in general, is that you can only go forward or back to the beginning of your current memory. I don’t think it’s a big issue, as I imagine you can get all the trophies and explore everything quite easily, but you can’t go back to early timelines as you can’t choose what memory to implant. Basically, let’s say you play the game, you do all the initial pathways and get a memory. You implant the memory in all the companions and do all these until you get a new memory.
Now, say you realise one of the paths from the first memory or before you got that, had something which you forgot to collect or a route you never tried out before moving on – tough. Your only option now is to implant the latest memory and work from there. I don’t know if this will come back and bite me, but in two stages, I disobeyed the companion and went a different way, as I had a key – I was never able to return and go the way they originally wanted me to go. Basically, I would have liked a method of picking which memory I implant so that I can go back to previous pathways.
Omensight contains a mystery board, which I found quite interesting. As you find new doors that you can’t open, information on a character, hints on someone’s actions, or even major information regarding the Priestess’ death, the information appears on your mystery board which you can refer back to at any point in order to work out where to go next. I had a problem with this but it only occurs if you’re on normal or easy. The problem is, it does everything for you. It literally spells out what to do and where to go. Even when you walk over to the companions to pick a day to return to, it tells you if you can do anything and who you should see in order to progress. I feel they missed out here and made it too easy. Why not make us work for our solutions and give us red herrings?
However, the options menu does state that if you pick the hardest difficulty then there is no mystery board and you have to work out what to do next yourself – That sounds perfect and should have been what the other difficulties were like because this also spawns my next issue. There is no difficulty trophies. Now, I know what your’ saying “but Rob, nobody cares if there isn’t a difficulty trophy as people don’t like those and like to complete the game as they see fit.” True, but I realised, once I got to the end boss, that you can put it on the easiest difficulty, breeze through all the enemies and beat the game without breaking a sweat. Personally, I stuck to playing it on Medium as I enjoyed the challenge on some of the bosses, but I imagine those who completed the game much faster than myself may have opted for the easy route.
One question which was asked on Reddit was regarding enemy and boss variety. I couldn’t answer it then due to the embargo, so I’ll answer it now. Some people say that Stories had an issue with variety, I never had an issue but I can see where they are coming from. Omensight has about three or four races of creatures who you will face throughout your adventure, they change based on which companion you are with. Regarding the bosses, almost every timeline will end with a boss fight of some kind, be it from a former friend, a new enemy or something else. It also has an ‘Undertale’ approach to some of the bosses, where you can choose to either fight or implant a memory within them in order to create a new path. That’s right, some of the paths have bosses who also spawn off new timelines/paths.
Hopefully that clears that up – TL;DR, the variety is good.
Graphically, I hope you have come to the same conclusion as myself – the game is gorgeous. I’m playing it on the PS4 Pro and the colours simply pop out of the screen at you. Everything is so bright and colourful with very bold, contrasting colours and artwork. This combined with the simple yet detailed character models and environmental objects make the game a joy to play. It runs really smooth, with no obvious lag, and I spent a long time just walking around and looking at everything. My only issue – I wish we had a way to zoom in or enter a photo mode! I’ve seen some people don’t like the fixed camera as well – it’s always at the angle you can see in the images – but I never had an issue with it. It reminds me of games like Bastion and Transistor in regards to the camera, it’s set up to obscure secrets yet also deliver the best angle to view the action from.
Sound wise, I love the soundtrack! I participated in the developers ‘wishlist’ challenge, so I’m hoping I get a copy of the soundtrack shortly off them so I can add it to my collection. The voice acting is of high quality and matches the characters they are assigned too with every main character voiced as well as one-liners for all of the enemies with little repetition. I can’t fault the game at all in regards to the audio, voices or sound effects. Also, Patricia Summersett is one of the voice actors in the game – she voiced Zelda in Breath of the Wild!
My final advice would be to play the game on a decent difficulty – don’t just put it on easy and blitz through it for the platinum, put it on hard, or medium and give yourself a challenge as you complete the game. It’s not that hard and it will take you around 10-12 hours to get through it in a standard playthrough. You’ll enjoy it a lot more. Also, a small hint here – jump on all of your companions heads until they tell you to stop…
First 35 minutes [no commentary after 1min]:
Omensight is a great Action-RPG time-manipulation indie game set within the same universe as Stories: The Path of Destinies. As you reset time and replay the same day over and over with different companions, you will gain new insight into who was behind the untimely death of the Priestess. Yet, every day feels different, the same environments feel new and the same enemies create unknown obstacles. As you level up and gain new skills and attacks, the game gets more interesting and exciting. Graphically, the game is beautiful, with its simplistic design yet bold and colourful art style which will have you questioning if you’re playing a game or looking at some Modern Art.
Fans of Stories should buy this game today, fans of action-RPGs should buy it today, and anyone who wants a game that can be played either in short bursts or long sessions should also head on over to PSN and buy it today. Omensight is a bloody good game!
** A code for the gamer was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes **
- Graphically beautiful
- Great soundtrack and voice acting
- Great way to deal with time-manipulation where you repeat the day but implant unlocked memories into the companions
- Intriguing and interesting story
- Smooth combat with upgradable skills and perks
- No ability to implant older memories and play through older paths once you unlock new memories
- The game is too easy in terms of the mystery - the game hands you everything on a plate unless you're on the hardest difficulty
- I wasn't too keen on the ending (although there may be more than the one I got?)