After the success they had with Stories: Path of Destinies, the team at Spearhead Games are back with Omensight: a fantasy adventure that sees you re-living the same day over and over as you look to unravel a strange time-twisting mystery. Sounds intriguing, right? Well, it released on the PlayStation 4 and PC earlier this year and has now made its way to the Nintendo Switch in the form of the ‘Definitive Edition’ – whilst it still offers an enjoyable gameplay experience though, Omensight’s performance on the Switch falters compared to the other platforms it is available on.
If you’re a fan of Stories: Path of Destinies, you’ll be a fan of Omensight. It acts a spiritual successor to Spearhead Games’ first title (it even takes place in the same universe), though some improvements to the gameplay and some clever time-bending features make it an even better experience this time around.
Omensight puts you in the shoes of the Harbinger – a strange and mysterious warrior-detective who’s able to directly influence the events of the future. How does she do this, you ask? By using her combat abilities to beat down enemies, her detective abilities to unravel any mysteries, and by using her ‘omensight’ powers to witness events that occurred in the past.
The Harbinger has been called upon because the world of Urralia has found itself in a bit of a bad situation. You see, two factions have been warring with each other and the only person who could bring peace to the nation has been murdered. This leads to a vicious snake-like God appearing and bringing an end to the world, which isn’t great for anybody. You’ve got to find out who murdered her, why, and how you can prevent it.
This wouldn’t be possible for your typical detective (not even Sherlock Holmes), but the Harbinger can live out a ‘Groundhog Day’ like scenario where she goes through the same day over and over again until she finds success. This doesn’t necessarily mean just doing the same things over and over again though, since Omensight lets you interact with four different characters across ever-changing scenarios. You’ll find out everything about them and what their motives are, whilst you’ll also be able to make different choices or perform different actions that directly influence what you discover next.
It’s a neat system and one that worked in a similar fashion in Stories: Path of Destinies. The whole decision making side of things never becomes boring or predictable either – even though you’ll play out some events more than once, knowing an extra tidbit of information from a previous run through of the day can completely change the approach you take the next time.
That being said, Omensight is still a little guilty of making you see a lot of the same things time and time again and yeah, it can grow a little repetitive at times. Thankfully though, the story is both intriguing and exciting enough to completely draw the player in, with the sense of discovery that comes with solving the mystery proving to be more than enough of a reward to keep you wanting to progress through. Add to that some great writing and a stunning world to explore and it’s easy to see that Spearhead Games have a winner here.
Outside of the game’s unique investigative process, you’ll also be making your way across levels in small platforming segments and battling any foes that come your way. The combat will feel familiar to anyone who played Stories: Path of Destinies, with it taking the same simplistic approach that will feel common place for anyone who has played a modern action title.
You’ll string together light and heavy attacks in quick combos with simple button presses, all whilst pulling off slick defensive manoeuvres that help you slip and slide your way between incoming attacks. You’ll learn new abilities too, so your skillset is always growing with more powerful moves.
In honesty, it could be a little bit too simple, but there’s enough challenge offered by your enemies that it never grows boring. Add to that that some dangerous environments that you can use to your advantage, and you’ll actually find that Omensight’s combat is pretty exciting – regardless of how much it might depend on button-mashing.
The world itself is impressive to look at too, with Omensight adopting a creatively cartoon-like environment that’s full of vivid imagery. I loved exploring each locale and uncovering all of its secrets, whilst the anthropomorphic characters you meet are cleverly designed. Urralia just feels like a fascinating and beautiful setting for a game… well… outside of the whole ‘world ending’ thing, anyway.
There were a few issues that come exclusively with the Switch version of the game though. For starters, the resolution when playing in handheld mode could be a little blurry around the edges. You’ll see the colourful world come through and it’s clear there’s something impressive to see, but it just gets a little fuzzy and unattractive when compared to playing the game on a TV. Whilst it’s pretty common to see games take a drop in the resolution when played on the Switch’s portable mode, it felt a bit more severe with Omensight.
Then there are the frame rate issues. A game like Omensight demands precision with its combat mechanics, but unfortunately the frame rate drops during the more hectic encounters can see the player at a disadvantage – especially when you’re trying to avoid incoming enemy attacks. I wouldn’t say that the game ever feels unplayable because of it, but it’s certainly noticeable and will cause more than a few frustrating moments as you work through the game.
Add to that some long load times and it’s easy to see that the Nintendo Switch version of Omensight might not necessarily be the ‘definitive’ one. Sure, the qualities that it had on other platforms are still present, but there are just a few too many hindrances right now to make it the best way to experience the game. Hopefully, the team at Spearhead Games can work on a patch and get the game in ship-shape soon.
Spearhead Games have taken everything that made Stories: Path of Destinies such an enjoyable game and improved upon them with Omensight, with the emphasis on decision-making and replaying through events once again present but in a more intriguing (and therefore entertaining) manner. It’s good fun, whilst the simple-yet-effective combat mechanics add a nice action-packed twist to the storytelling.
However, the Nintendo Switch version of the game needs a little bit of work before it can be truly considered the ‘Definitive Edition’ with the performance issues in particular standing out. It’s definitely playable on the platform and manages to look the part when played on a TV, but those who want to see the game at its very best will either want to wait for a patch or play on a different platform.
Developer: Spearhead Games
Publisher: Spearhead Games
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC