If I can classify the experience I had playing Omen of Sorrow into one word, that word would be monstrous. Not because of how hype inducing or fun a fighting game can often be, but for the horrible time I had trying to enjoy a game that felt halfway done in many areas. The concept of having characters inspired by classic myths and legends fighting each other is nothing new, you can find that in a few other fighting games, but not many do so in a way that feels underwhelming. The dark, edgy tone and visuals of Omen of Sorrow can be great in some moments, only then to be overshadowed by gameplay that feels buggy, unbalanced, and not very fun to play.
The roster of eleven fighters in Omen of Sorrow has some loose inspiration from classic movie monsters, like the Wolf Man and Hunchback of Notre Dame for example. All of them have ties to myths and legends (mostly books) in some form, but whether due to rights issues or other unknown factors they lack any sort of personality or charisma to the legends they take an example from. I didn’t find any real personality or standout characteristics to any other fighter in the roster that would make me want to play them. Vladislav III is definitely a nod to Bram Stroker’s Dracula, but his personality and fighting style seems rather dull compared to other incarnations of characters inspired by him. The same can be said with the rest of the roster, all of which have their own fighting styles that do stand apart from each other, but how fun they are to play with is an entirely different story.
It’s here when Omen of Sorrow has many, many problems that nearly kill the fun of playing it. Fighting plays out in standard 2D mechanics, with half/quarter-circle inputs similar to what you would find in a Street Fighter 2 style game. However, many of the special moves and attacks at your disposal seem unbalanced and inconsistent in some way. Many attacks can be abused frequently (at full screen too) without any means to get around or fight against, leading to dull and seemingly unfair matchups. It doesn’t help either that animations for every character look very stiff and jagged as you fight, making it difficult to tell how certain attacks will land or follow up with something else.
While some of the special moves do look good visually and the super attacks have a cinematic camera, matches usually become projectile battles from afar and end with very dull endings. I found it much easier to just abuse my ability to shoot fireballs with Gabriel from afar in every match and win, rather than use anything else that was available to me and take a better risk. There was no incentive to change out of this play style since it worked so easily and effective against everybody.
Fights can be rough, but I wasn’t prepared for how dull the various game modes in Omen of Sorrow could be. There is a standard Arcade mode, Survival, and Story mode to play through, with additional local and online versus modes. Playing any of them will have you staring at a lot of lingering loading screens before getting into any sort of matchup. Arcade and Survival modes are exactly what you would expect if you’ve played a fighting game before, but they offer little reward for playing them outside a few unlockable Gallery items and Player Icons for the online modes.
My least favorite of the bunch has to be the Story Mode, which not only has a shallow plot for the cast but lacks any excitement to play through. The presentation of Story Mode feels like an afterthought and drags on for longer than it probably should. There are three main paths to play through, but you have to play and unlock each additional one instead of choosing which to start with. It’s boring and doesn’t provide many interesting details about the roster.
The only multiplayer mode feels busted and has many problems that I found incredibly annoying. There are Ranked and Casual Lobbies that allow you to play against others, but good luck finding a stable matchup online. In all the matches I was able to get started against others in Ranked and Lobby, very few of them ever went to completion without the other person leaving the match or the game booting everyone back to the main menu.
At some point, it became incredibly difficult to start a match online as the game would randomly display a message that I couldn’t enter the online mode. Whether this was due to a busted system to prevent people from constantly rage quitting matches or cheating is unknown, but it became a huge problem that stopped the online experience dead in its tracks. Creating a lobby for others to join was easy, but getting the matches to start and finish normally became a frustrating and difficult task.
Omen of Sorrow is not a great fighting game to play. There are so many issues that prevented me from enjoying it, let alone wanting to become competitive with others online. The characters aren’t that interesting, the game modes feel lackluster in different ways, the online modes are terrible, and the gameplay offers very little for fighting game fans to rally behind. If you were looking for a dark toned fighting game with enough value to keep you busy a long time, you’re better off leaving this for dead and looking somewhere else.
This review was based on a digital review code of Omen of Sorrow for the PlayStation 4, provided by SOEDESCO.