Other than being impressed by its art style, I didn’t know much about Omensight, the third title from developer Spearhead Games. Past games from the studio had been hit or miss with Tiny Brains being one of the first awful PlayStation 4 games and Stories: The Path of Destinies being surprisingly good. Thankfully, it appears that Spearhead’s upward trajectory continues, as I walked away quite impressed with what I saw.
Omensight begins with an inevitability: the world is going to end. That’s not exactly a cheery way to start a gameplay demo, but it does setup a pretty obvious goal of stopping the apocalypse from occurring. All of these issues stem from the death of a priestess, and it’s up to the player, who plays the role of the mute Harbinger, to figure out who killed the central character.
While there’s only 12 hours left before the world ends, that doesn’t mean that players need to rush to figure out the mystery. Rather than imposing a time limit, Omensight is more akin to the classic comedy Groundhog’s Day, where Bill Murray wound up repeating the same day while retaining memory of past events. Similarly, the Harbinger will remember information and events they see prior to each cycle, and it’s up to them to use that information in new ways in order to solve the mystery.
My demo of Omensight saw my character teaming up with a mysterious thief as we explored a chamber that was filled with volcanic magma and all sorts of dangerous areas. While it could be described as being basically a generic lava level, the game’s gorgeous aesthetic turned the clichéd setting into one to behold. Also helping matters is the great camera work, which frames the level in a more cinematic context, allowing for platforming and exploration to feel cool rather than just hitting a button to jump over a small gap.
As far as core action goes, the gameplay found here is very much a brawler. Not unlike the recent Batman games, players will be taking on several enemies at once, and a well timed dodge will lead to some cool effects and a temporary advantage in combat. It’s hard to gauge how much depth there really is to the fighting in a short timespan, but the action did feel snappy and satisfying during my 15-minute demo.
More interesting than the core gameplay was when I reached the boss fight to end the level. I was given a choice of sticking with my thief comrade and fighting the foe, or to use the game’s self-titled Omensight ability to learn more about the enemy. I chose the latter option, and instead of a boss fight, I was treated to a cutscene that led to my character switching his allegiance. Enemies had become allies, and I no longer had to battle my way out of the lava-filled area.
That’s just one of the many choices that’ll comprise Omensight‘s story, and it’s one with a lot of interesting implications. Alliances, and the ramifications of them, will be a huge deal throughout. After teaming up with the boss character, I learned some important story details, and the end of the world occurred. Like I said before, that wasn’t a huge deal since I’d be able to start again while retaining the information I had learned.
Finally, I got a look at how Omensight‘s mystery will be solved, and saw a screen filled with different characters and information. It was not unlike something you’d see in one of Frogwares’ Sherlock Holmes titles. I was then informed that players who really want to dive into the mystery can turn off a lot of the helpful features off that will help link together the information you learn.
Omensight Preview - A Groundhog's Day Murder Mystery
Spearhead Games certainly appears to be going down the correct path with Omensight. It was one of the most interesting games I saw at PAX East, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the full game when it releases later this year. The potential for something really special is there, and the allure of playing a character that is basically Bill Murray, but they kick a whole lot of ass, is undeniable.
Omensight preview was conducted at PAX East.