Overview – developed by AOne Games and published by Eastasiasoft, Omen of Sorrow is a traditional fighting game with a dark horror twist. Engage in battle with monsters and beings inspired classical horror literature, folklore and mythology to see which being is the strongest. This title is available for all on most platforms, with a link to each version of the game at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Omen of Sorrow that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own. (please note, images are taken from official press kit, so they may not match the chosen version)
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story aspect of this release, as there are numerous plot threads and I want them to be experienced first-hand. So I will be going straight into discussing the gameplay of Omen of Sorrow.
Gameplay – Omen of Sorrow is a traditional 1 on 1 fighting game, featuring a roster of characters inspired by the horror stories of old. These include creatures based upon Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman and Count Dracula, along with a few unique characters that are exclusive to this release. Players will fight their way through these monsters in several game modes both online and locally.
Here is a breakdown of the modes that players will be able to access in this release;
- Arcade – play through 8 stages as a chosen character, with a unique ending scene for each member of the roster upon completion.
- Versus – play against another in local battles, here players can battle the CPU or each other to see who is the top dog of their coven.
- Story – play through a winding narrative, where characters will meet and battle to progress the story forward. The story takes place over several chapters with characters changing during the course of the narrative.
- Survival – take on wave after wave of monsters in a war of attrition, where there is no chance for the player to catch their breath. There are different settings offering several levels of challenge for players to take on.
- Training – practice the different characters and get to grips with how each of them play, with a quick guide for the unique mechanics of the game.
- Online – take on players from around the world in battle. Challenge players on the same system server or branch out and take on players from across the world on all platforms supported.
- Extras – in records, players can look at their best scores and leaderboards. In options, players are able to change different settings within the game. The gallery contains artworks that can be unlocked during play, clearing different conditions to access them.
Now, while this is a relatively traditional fighting game on the surface, there are aspects of it that are far from traditional. Even though the game uses a four button system for attacks, split into light and heavy punches/kicks, some of the characters will break the rules. Such as Caleb the Wolfman, a vicious beast that uses their claws and teeth to attack, then there is Erzsebet Bathory, the countess who wields the power of a blood dragon to attack for them.
These different character gimmicks make this a unique fighting game experience that is quite different from the norm, as players may expect something akin to Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. The action of battle flows at a smooth pace, with inputs and combos that can be easy to pull off, with special moves that can verge on the ridiculous (which is a good thing). There is likely a character that will fit any play style, letting all players take part.
However, this game does have a couple downsides to it unfortunately. There is a mild imbalance between some of the characters, which can make battles feel one sided. This is most prevalent with random battles, especially when a character with ranged attacks is matched against one who lacks similar skills. This can lead to frustration where one character can pin down another, essentially locking them out of play all together.
Another issue is the lack of tutorials for the game mechanics unless the player goes searching for them, which can be a stumbling block for newer players. There is also a slight issue when it comes to inputting special moves, as inputs can be missed during combo attacks which are a frustration that all players can suffer. These minor issues may be off putting to some, as they can interrupt the flow of combat especially when playing online with others.
Now with the gameplay covered, it is time to move onto the other aspects of this release, starting with the controls.
Controls – the controls for this title are laid out on traditional controllers in a comfortable way, as well as the ability to remap the controls freely. There are some minor issues when it comes to the use of thumbsticks for input motions, this is due to the way that sticks can move past the needed movement leading to missed attacks. The way I would recommend playing this game is by using either a solid D-pad or Arcade Stick.
Difficulty – the difficulty of this title will depend on the player, as those who have played a lot of fighting games will likely adapt faster to the games mechanics. However, this title has adjustable difficulty settings that allow players to alter the game to fit their own skill level. It is important to be aware that some characters have specialised inputs, this can make the game more difficult for those who may not be able to pull of these inputs.
Presentation – this title has a dark horror aesthetic to it, providing an appropriate atmosphere that the game wants to portray. The resolution is lower than the other versions, so there is some fuzz to the character models due to the hardware limits of the switch. But the game still plays very well even with these limitations imposed, providing a smooth and fluid fighting experience, while not compromising the overall product.
The sound design has a very oppressive feeling to it at times, with heavy and haunting audio utilizing different thematic elements, like piano melodies that have an unsettling feel to them. These different elements increase the overall atmosphere that is presented, especially during the story mode where characters interact with each other. There is some limited voice work for the fighter roster, along with a narrator/announcer who pushes the story mode along.
Final Thoughts – this is something that I have been aware of for a while, as I saw the PlayStation version a few years back. When the game was announced for other platforms including the Nintendo Switch, I was very excited to get my hands on it and I was pleasantly surprised when I got to play. While there are some flaws to the game due to the system limits and sadly the online mode doesn’t appear to be very active, I had a very good time with this game.
The roster of fighters is varied with each of them being distinct from the others, with a solid fighting system that is a little complex at first, but can be picked up relatively quickly. I can recommend this to fighting game fans who are looking for something different from the other fighting games. The work that has been put into this game, with the monster designs and the environments is excellent, with a tone that brings it all together.
In the end, I give Omen of Sorrow a final score of 4/5. This is a solid fighting game with a relatively unique premise, using classic literature and folklore to create something that can stand on its own away from the other titles in the genre. If you want to check this title out for yourself, a link to each version of the game will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation version (HERE)
Link to Xbox version (HERE)
Link to Steam version (HERE)