STAFF REVIEW of Omensight (Xbox One)

Thursday, July 25, 2019.
by Adam Dileva

Omensight Box art I’ve always been drawn to strong storytelling, especially when it incorporates some type of time travel element to it. Needless to say, I have a soft spot for the classic movie Groundhog Day, and when games use this narrative device, I’m automatically intrigued. Omensight uses this Groundhog Day element, where you’re stuck reliving the same day over and over while trying to figure out a way to save the end of the world.

You play as the silent but deadly Harbinger, a mysterious warrior that only appears in times of a cataclysmic crisis. The lands of Urralia are torn apart at the end of the day when a deadly and evil god appears, Voden, seemingly unable to be stopped. But this is where you come in as the Harbinger, as you’re the only one that can prevent this catastrophic event from occurring, again.

Doing so is impossible though on your own, and you’ll need to recruit help, but convincing others is going to be difficult, as Urralia is under a civil war with the numerous factions. Urralia’s Priestess has been murdered, seemingly at the heart of the reason for Voden’s awakening, so it’ll be up to you to solve this mystery as well, as it may play a key role in being successful.

Again, that won’t be easy, as each race’s faction and cities are at war with one another. The nations of Pygaria and Rodentia are at war, so helping one side will make the other resistant to aid you going forward. This is where your choices come into play. Do you help one person to learn more information on the other and see how their side of events played out, or choose the other for a different perspective. Oh, and even though there’s a Game of Thrones element where each nation is vying for power, every character is actually an animal. It sounds silly and out of place, but it works, reminding me almost like a Secret of Nimh setting.

This is where the brilliant storytelling comes into play, as at the end of each day the world ends, but you as the Harbinger will travel back to the start of the day with your newfound knowledge, allowing you to either make different decisions, or even use that information to confront others on their actions. I don’t want to go into any details about the overall narrative, as that’s easily Omensight’s strongest asset, and spoiling it would be an injustice.

Seeing different perspectives of certain events is really interesting, and even better when you confront characters about what they know or have done. You’re also able to use your Omensight ability, projecting your visions into their mind, allowing them to see what you’ve witnessed as well. The story becomes more and more interesting as you progress and solve smaller mysteries, eventually leading up to the murder of the Priestess and Voden’s awakening.

While the narrative is what will keep you interested, each day is chosen by who you want to accompany alongside. Each level will have you progressing through a linear level, though there are hidden areas that can be unlocked once you have specific knowledge of how to open them that correspond with colored locks.

The camera takes a little getting used to, as it’s a locked and fixed camera based on the area and action that’s happening on screen, though it tends to work well the majority of the time. If you do happen to get put behind an object, it will actually turn see-through so that you won’t be blind as to what’s happening. There are a few platforming sections, which, with the fixed camera can be a bit of a pain, but I only died a couple times due to this.

While there aren’t that many levels, you’ll be playing through them numerous times, due to the storytelling mechanic of reliving the same day every time. Every ‘new’ day you relive though, you’ll have new knowledge, so maybe your companion will open a new path, or a slightly different event will occur during your next day playthrough.

As you explore each stage, you’ll fight hordes of enemies blocking your path. Depending on whom you choose in each day, they’ll fight alongside you, and the AI is actually half decent as well. Each companion will do their own part to help fight, but you’re able to use Right Trigger to utilize their special ability when needed.

Combat is very smooth and fluid, reminding me much of a Batman Arkham style where you need to attack, dodge and heavy smash. As you defeat enemies you’ll earn XP which can then be used to level up in your hub area between levels/days, unlocking new abilities for you to use in combat with each level gained. You’ll also earn shards, which is like a currency, allowing you to purchase upgrades for your abilities, health upgrades and more.

This is when combat becomes quite fun, as you’ll eventually have access to new abilities that are much more powerful, but can only be used once you’ve stored enough orbs from performing combos in combat, making you focus on executing a constant barrage and dodges. As you progress further, your choices will effect whom you fight and when. If you side with one faction, maybe the Rodentian’s (rat race) will fight against you, or vice versa when siding with the Pygarians (birds). This is how replaying the same levels stays fresh, as new events and actions occur based on what information you have and if you decide to share it or not.

While I enjoyed the combat, it does become quite frantic in the last leg or two, with numerous types of enemies that all need to be dealt with in a specific way. Shielded enemies needs a heavy attack to allow you to open them up to hits, flying enemies can constantly spit goo at you if you don’t take care of them in the air, and massive sharks can destroy your health quickly if you don’t dodge in time.

Once you learn enough information, major reveals will come to light, like who killed the Priestess, who’s plotting against whom and other revelations. Using your Omensight is how you’ll get the truth out of people, as it will show them true events of what has happened, either making them confess or rally with or against you. It’s a great storytelling mechanic that kept me intrigued all the way until the end.

The cel-shaded visuals are oddly fitting for the character design, though maybe that’s just because of the animal aesthetics, but it all blends together fittingly. The voice acting is absolutely top notch, as is the soundtrack that accompanies it. Truth be told, Omensight has a perfect balance of storytelling, combat, platforming and ongoing character development. While Omensight doesn’t last a long while, it was a fantastic journey throughout, one that will be remembered for quite some time due to its unique and superb storytelling.

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 9.5 / 10


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