Omen of Sorrow Review — Horror Fighting Game Feels Lifeless in the Wrong Way
Omen of Sorrow brings horror back into fighting games, though it doesn't seem to bring too much else to make it stand out in the crowd.
In my time playing Omen of Sorrow, I played as all sorts of ghouls, creatures, and monster slayers. From training mode, to the story, to multiplayer, Omen of Sorrow has the setup for a fighting game with plenty of potential: I just wonder if it is something worth coming back to again.
Omen of Sorrow is a 2.5D fighting game from AOne Games. The fighter uses characters from myth and lore to create a horror-centered fighting experience. You have a werewolf, a mummy, vampires, Mr. Hyde, monster slayers, and more to fit the overall spooky theme. The character models are quite impressive in fact, as I could see the fur on the werewolf character, Caleb, clearly along with minute details of Imhotep, the mummy character. AOne definitely did these characters justice in their overall look, as they all have high-quality detail and design while still fitting them all together in one game.
The stages also fit in well with surprising detail. Of course, pretty much all of these stages are dark centered and have a lot of grit to them. This all makes sense, however, since this is a horror fighting game after all. Stages never really caused any frame drops or lag during my time either, so it was definitely refreshing to play some stages other than a training grid.
The music, however, is kind of lacking, though it is thematic with the game. You’ll mostly be hearing strings and more horror-focused soundscapes in Omen of Sorrow while playing, which fits with its tone and vibe.
Omen of Sorrow comes with a story mode which is centered around telling a narrative to tie in all of the characters. It’s a pretty brief story, though it is a way to get to see the two secret characters, Arctorious and Thalessa. Some of the issues that I had with this story mode were the lack of diversity in encounters. I think the first three to four matches I fought were against werewolves only. I wasn’t sure the story was going anywhere for a moment after fighting the same enemies so many times.
There are also some fights in the story that are meant to be lost, though the difficulty was rather easy and I could keep fighting an opponent forever without getting hit. In fact, I had to literally stand still in order to get killed and progress in the story. I get the concept of an “ultimate boss” that you can’t beat, but it would probably have been wiser to just make the boss actually difficult to fight rather than give it unlimited health. I also found the text dialogue to be a little bland and the overall story forgettable.
But most fighting games are all about the gameplay, and Omen of Sorrow does deliver on that. The cast of characters provides a diverse set, giving something for everyone. From zoning, to setups, to rush down, AOne really thought out this cast and gave us a solid roster to play with. There are, of course, supers and decimation moves that give you some pretty detailed and cinematic attacks that can be performed raw or out of a combo.
There is also an implemented Fate and Fortune system in the game. If a player is getting beat down and has been guarding for a long time, they build up Fate which basically eliminates all specials, throws, meter, and guard breaks. The opposite of that is Fortune, which is awarded if you are playing offensive primarily during the set. Building Fortune makes you “Blessed” which gives you the ability to cancel out specials and lengthen combos for more damage. I like to compare this to maybe a toned down V-ism from Street Fighter Alpha 3.
These systems in Omen of Sorrow are a little complicated to understand primarily because of the lack of a proper tutorial. Omen of Sorrow only gives players a text tutorial for the game. Though I understand fighting games well enough to figure stuff out, new components like Fate and Fortune and special canceling are things I can’t imagine a new fighting game player getting the hang of so easily.
The training mode is a very important aspect of fighting games. Players, including myself, use it to try out possibilities and combos in the game. Making training mode as accessible as possible is extremely important for a game to last. Omen of Sorrow mostly gets it right with some features like enemy positioning or switching them to AI or player 2. You can also edit all of your status bars and damage/input displays as well. The only things missing are player recording modes and hotkeys to instantly reset players.
Now for the matches themselves, they do come out to be pretty fun for a bit, especially online, which has some pretty impressive netplay. I played people from the east coast (as I reside on the west coast) and found myself experiencing very little lag at all. There are abilities to rank up on a leaderboard as well as just enjoying some casual play in the quick play mode. Rounds go by relatively quickly and there was a decent amount of online matches for the time I had to dive in.
Omen of Sorrow gets a lot of things right with its solid gameplay and online mode, as well as solid cast of characters. This game, however, just fails to really stand out in any specific area that makes it worth picking up over any of the other big-hitting fighting games on the market right now like Dragon Ball FighterZ or Tekken 7. Even if you compare it to smaller market titles like Fighting EX Layer or Guilty Gear, I feel that Omen of Sorrow is a hard sell against all of these that have better features and characters that really make it stand out.
I’m not saying Omen of Sorrow is a bad game in the slightest, I just think it definitely is missing a real personality to make it worth paying the $50. There still is some fun to be had with it and I think someone could get a kick out of some matches, but I think that’s as far as Omen of Sorrow can stretch out its stay.