I don’t like to use the term “shoehorn” when covering games, as it does give a feeling that I don’t like the game from the outset. Omen of Sorrow is a game that I feel is very shoehorned. It’s a fighting game in the loosest possible way with a story trying to drive it along. Now admittedly I’m not a big fan of the arcade fighting game in general but I, like anyone, can tell a good game from a bad one.
Omen of Sorrow isn’t an awful game, don’t get me wrong. However, from the outset, I could see this was someone’s first game, I don’t mean a studio of experienced developers coming together for the first time. I mean it feels like first-time developers out of college producing their first game, and it shows.
There’s a lack of consistency across the game, but not in ways you’d expect. Everything fits into the artistic style of Meat Loaf’s happy thoughts, but nothing has a central theme. The majority of the characters and menus look gothic then, out of nowhere, a half-decayed mummy in an Egyptian crypt faces off with the spirit of a black knight. There’s no uniformity to anything or any underlying tone.
Let me take you on a journey, the journey of my first twenty minutes, a land of demons and hellscape ruins. A field in which Meat Loaf dreams to live in one day, full of long-haired rockers missing the point. A realm where women have their breasts on show in ways only Chris Chibnall could dream. If my phrasing and tone in this paragraph do not convey it enough, a land that’s populated by a green-screened, neo-metal music video from a band that has only heard Reign in Blood by Slayer.
Every male character is somewhere between a long black haired knight dressed appropriately for the BBC show Merlin, or the hunchback of Notre Dame. Women dress in the way you’d clothe women in Saints Row 2, once you found Leather and Lace or demons that escaped from the underworld. Neither is appealing to play as and with all of them sharing a similar fighting style, they are interchangeable. Neither race or gender prefer to hit an opponent up into the air to do more damage, including the demon with wings. So there’s no clear distinction on who you would rather play as when facing friends in local co-op.
Playing the campaign has not been a fun experience. From a monologue that would be more coherent with a ball gag in the mouth of the voice actor, to lines repeating themselves, to lines repeating themselves. The campaign’s “tutorial” didn’t teach me anything about combat; it was as useful as being taught race relations from a member of the British Empire in 1705. These tutorial fights were similar, down to the same fight as before with a bit of dialogue in between. With no time limit, all I had to do was beat the wolves I had to face.
I quite frankly don’t know what the point of that was meant to be. The voiceover saying, “Chapter 1” in the most melancholy way, states that for recurring bouts with no sense of progression, which did not help. I don’t know if I was supposed to fight in a specific style or if I’m moving on. After four or five fights I found myself switching characters for reasons unbeknownst to me.
After the first confusing set of battles, I switched to the lady character with breasts that wobble like jelly. It wasn’t a choice, but I had to hit a winged demon woman. I guessed this was to dodge the controversy of men punching women. Which I’m fine with as long as the character feels different to play as, and as I said before, they do not.
However, this change in direction was made even more complicated by beating the demon, twice. After which the scene changed, I’m now looking at a castle backdrop with the same demon now standing off with a man cosplaying as Quasimodo. I, like many of you, would presume from this I was the hunched man, as this would surely be a story of good taking on evil? Nope. I was now the demon.
At this point, I took a step back to assess what I’m playing. Is this enjoyable? No. Then I had to check review scores before getting to this point in the review. Was I the only one not enjoying it overall? No, other reviews have the same consensus.
Playing more than two hours of Omen of Sorrow I found myself asking the question, “Is there anything good about this?” Yes, I like the gothic aesthetic, when it’s moderately consistent. Otherwise, I noticed myself nitpicking more and more because that was more fun than the game. So I stopped to gather my thoughts and write this review.
After a lengthy conversation with myself over the quality of Omen of Sorrow, I’ve come to this conclusion. Omen of Sorrow is a buggy, poorly constructed 2D fighter that is mediocre. Do I think it’s worth $49.99? At ten to fifteen dollars I’d consider giving Omen of Sorrow a better recommendation, but after what I played, I’d rather you bought Soulcalibur VI and had value for your money.
A PS4 copy of Omen of Sorrow was provided by AOne Games for the purposes of this review.