Omensight (PC & PlayStation 4)

Developer(s) – Spearhead Games

Developed by Spearhead Games, the same team behind the critically acclaimed indie title Stories: Path of Destinies, Omensight is a hack and slash adventure murder mystery game, which plays out unlike many other games of it’s kind, heavily relying on a combination of both combat to progress through hordes of enemies at a time, and lateral thinking to determine how best to proceed throughout the course of the story, and to figure what paths to take as events unfold. Though not without its flaws, I can safely say this is one of the best murder mystery games I’ve ever played, easily outclassing the likes of LA Noire and Heavy Rain, as the gameplay is a lot more engaging than either of the former titles.

Graphics – 7/10

Inspired by numerous comic strips and Japanese manga series’, the conceptual design reminded me a lot of the game Dust: An Elysian Tail; a universe populated by anthropomorphic animals with cartoon-style visuals. But in this case, in-game graphics are cel-shaded, which contribute to the game’s vibrancy in colour and variety in environmental design, as well as character design. Architectural and structural features are also varied in that they are designed by the different races of people throughout the game’s world, which adds even more to the game’s diversity in visual design.

Gameplay – 7/10

The game plays out very much like a combination of God of War, Majora’s Mask and Heavy Rain, with players having to fight their way through hordes of enemies, whilst all the while attempting to gather clues from characters to solve an intricate murder mystery by constantly reliving the last day before the world’s apocalypse through the perspectives of four different characters in order to influence their actions and gather information on each of them in order to piece together the events of what happened.

With so many different paths to go down through the perspectives of each of the four different characters, and having a lot of combat to deal with along the way, I really enjoyed this game. It’s a nice blend of action and drama, which come together to bring gamers something pretty exceptional; especially for an independently developed effort.

Controls – 9/10

The game’s controls are almost perfect, bar the fact that even when special abilities were fully charged, the game would sometimes take unusually long to respond to commands that I would try to register, and to execute the special abilities such as slowing time or dashing. Otherwise, the game’s controls and movement mechanics during battle sequences are completely fluent. The game itself also provides a stern challenge, and in games like this, acceptable controls are a must, and the controls are more than good enough in this respect.

Lifespan – 7/10

Dependent on the actions the player chooses to take, the game can take there are around 8 to 12 hours to complete, which for a game that has multiple paths, but is essentially non-linear, is fairly impressive; especially for a murder mystery game. It’s another reason to me why it is far better than Heavy Rain, since regardless of the different paths that can be taken in Heavy Rain, that game can only be made to last there around 6 hours with each playthrough. So for Spearhead Games to have made a longer lasting game on a lower budget is really quite remarkable.

Storyline – 7/10

The game’s story follows an entity known as The Harbinger, who has been called upon after the final day of the war-torn world of Urralia to save it from the different battling factions, as well as solving the mystery of the murder of the priestess Vera, and therefore also saving the land from the impending doom being brought upon by an omnipotent beast named Voden. The game’s plot in and of itself is extremely well written, with each aspect of the characters stories in conjunction with the mystery at hand all falling into place like perfectly lines up dominoes. Each of the four sub-characters have heaps of back-story, and they all play their own important part in the grander scheme of things.

The only thing that stops this game from getting a higher rating in terms of story is the voice acting. Whilst it was easy to take the ploy seriously, I thought the voice actors involved could’ve done better. For example, the actor who plays the character of Ludomir seems to swap between a traditional English accent and a Cockney accent, and I found myself really frustrated by this given how well the story is written. Also, Patricia Summersett, who played Zelda in Breath of Wild, also has a bit part in the game playing the character if Vera, and essentially recycles the same voice she uses in the former game, which again seems to be a mix of British and North American accents, and it can be hard to take seriously. On the other hand, the voice actors who played the character of Indrik and Ratika did a pretty good job, so the voice acting isn’t completely terrible.

Originality – 8/10

Though this game may essentially be a collection of different pre-existing video game ideas, they all come together to make one of the best murder mystery games I’ve played in an extraordinarily long time. Though many murder mystery games have story before gameplay in an attempt to relay the mystique of the game better, the fact of the matter is that this game proves that the best way to do that is through the gameplay itself. The best way to convey mystery through story is with a film in my opinion, which I think the likes of Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit would’ve worked better as. But the developers hit the nail on the head with this game in it’s attempt to convey the mystery primarily through gameplay instead.

Happii

Overall, Omensight is a solid gaming experience in every aspect, and I would highly recommend any hack and slasher or murder mystery fan to try it. The action is intense and game’s story is almost masterful, with many different ways to play throughout, which keeps it fresh, and will have gamers on the edges of their seats.

Score

45.5/60

7.5/10 (Good)

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