Published on May 10th, 2023 | by Kevin Mwenda
Omen of Sorrow PC Review
Summary: A small indie game that brings a unique concept into the fighting games genre.
We all have certain expectations when we are starting a new game. Irrespective of the genre, we have things to look out for based on previous games played. But nothing quite prepared me for Omen of Sorrow with its horror-ish based environments and its cast of characters based on mythology and lore.
Omen of Sorrow is an indie simulation fighting game developed by AOne Games and published by Eastasiasoft Limited and Soedesco for the PS4/5, XBOX One/X/, PC, and Nintendo Switch platforms. The game has been recently released on PC, PS5, and Switch on 23 March 2023, but featured a previous release on the Xbox One back in 2021.
Omen of Sorrow is a 2-D fighting game that holds its own against other major titles with its cast of characters that includes classical horror characters such as Quasimodo, Dr. Hyde, Vladislav III (the infamous Dracula), Imhotep (the Egyptian King), and even Adam (Frankenstein’s monster) among others.
The game is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and features a 4-button system, whose gameplay rewards or punishes the players depending on their aggressiveness (offense) or passiveness (defense) fighting playstyles, all culminating in a move that deals a lot of damage. Despite this, I have to admit, I’m still grappling with how this system works, and where it affects the characters’ defense and health regeneration stats.
Omen of Sorrow takes after other fighting games by including several game modes in its attempt to keep the casual player (or beginner to the fighting games genre) occupied.
This mode pits the player’s chosen character against the game’s other characters. Each fight lasts two rounds, and the characters get progressively harder as you progress. This is irrespective of the player’s preferred difficulty setting.
The story mode is split into three parts, with each focusing on a different plot, and characters who are chosen depending on the story line.
On the one side, the story mode is brought to a grinding halt with the written dialogue where the player is prompted to press a key to go to the next. In addition, the characters barely speak any words, relying on the dialogue appearing on the top side of the screen to drive the story, while their movements seem choppy and jerky as they move across the screen.
On the other side, the different chapters introduced the player to the playing styles and combos of different characters at different junctures. The fights were also shorter compared to Arcade and Survival Modes, sometimes ending with just one round, instead of two. Besides this, I felt that the background music, comprising some heavy guitar tunes, helped to drive the game’s horror theme, while the variations make the game feel a little less repetitive. The music also changes depending on the environment the characters are fighting in.Lastly, I have to admit I did like the narrator’s monologues between each of the chapters.
Here is an excerpt
“Where lies the rotten fruit of the bowels of the first sinners, His smile shall bring forth the savior of the dead, so that he may crawl among the worm that survives beneath His feet and promise them threats that no man can see. My will shall be his, and the Secret Prophet’s last words shall bring forth my new birth. All will be told by those who have already seen it, and the mortal enemy of the serpent will be her greatest ally… As heroes rot, and maiden whimper. This will be humanity’s first punishment”.
The introduction to the story mode says it all, not only was I hooked, wanting to see more of the story, but it made the story mode more pleasant given the written dialogues and characters’ movements that slow it down. Besides this, the monologues helped drive the game’s mythological undertone, while adding to the characters’ uniqueness. Also, they do remind me of Darksiders monologues, a game that I liked.
Practice, Versus and Online Modes
In practice mode, the player gets to try out the moves and button combinations for various characters. The online mode was basically non-existence managing not to into any match (in both Casual and Ranked Play) irrespective of searching for more than 10 minutes. Versus mode allows you to play locally with friends.
Survival Mode pits the player against every character in the game and they must survive between twelve to sixty rounds. However, failing at any stage takes the player to the starting point where they must grind their way back up again.
Overall Presentation and Play-ability
Coming from a sorely keyboard+mouse player, I found the game quite simple setting up and changing the basic controls. Doing this meant going to the settings and binding the keys I wanted for the basic moves. Doing this makes pulling off some of the character moves and combos a little easier such as when playing with Adam and Vladislav III.
Additionally, the developer has tried to optimize the game for many PC systems, especially the low-and-mid range PCs, requiring minimum specs of the NVidia 750ti. However, one has to contend with reducing the graphics to achieve a smooth 60fps. Doing so makes the character movements more fluid, and makes the game more enjoyable.
Despite the lack of an active online community and use of written dialogue, Omen Sorrow Omen of Sorrow is a fascinating game worth trying for lore lovers, as well as for casual gamers and beginners into fighting games. The characters’ movements and combos have a unique feel to them compared to mainstream titles such as the Street Fighters and MK franchises. The background music is varied across environments, adding some excitement and variation to the fights.