Omen Exitio: Plague claims right off the bat to be “inspired by the gamebooks of the ’80s and ’90s,” which means that it’s right up my alley. Granted, I was too young in the 90s to appreciate anything but the most simplistic of choose-your-own-adventure books, but they really stuck with me to the point where my favorite parts of games like King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame were the text adventures with stat-driven decisions. The fact is, however, that I haven’t had a huge amount of experience with such games, and that’s a shame because Omen Exitio is enthralling. That’s not a word I use lightly, either—I had intended to play for maybe an hour to get a feel for how things work, only to power through an entire 2.5 hour playthrough to see how my decisions ultimately played out. This game is absorbing.
Some gameplay and back story
It’s difficult to describe what makes Omen Exitio such an enjoyable adventure, so I’m including the full video of my first playthrough (my plan is to play through it a few more times to see how much impact the choices have). Obviously watching to the end means having certain plot developments spoiled, so be wary about that, but merely detailing the back story wouldn’t suffice as an explanation of the intriguing mix of paranoia, human connections, and supernatural elements on display here.
You play as Jake Huntington, a British doctor/academic who joined the army in part to escape the pain of being unable to save his wife from a sickness, but that’s merely the beginning of his story. Eventually he finds his way into the center of all kinds of conspiracies, unable to tell who can be trusted or what plans various mysterious figures have for him. It’s a story told in several segments that initially seem disconnected, but that are eventually linked together by the titular plague and recurring characters who may or may not know more about it than they let on.
The writing is mostly free of problems
Scouring Omen Exitio’s Steam discussion page, I noticed that there was a complaint about the writing’s quality. I was distracted by another game over the past week, though, so my first experience with this game was with a patched version that supposedly polished up the writing. It’s difficult to say whether this patch was hugely substantial or if the original writing wasn’t that bad to begin with, but I only noticed a small handful of minor errors that didn’t detract from the atmosphere at all. It’s actually fairly impressive considering how much text is in this game; even if there aren’t actually significantly branching paths, my full playthrough required a pretty significant chunk of time, and I’m a pretty fast reader. The fact that I also ended up with something like 1,700 to 1,800 screenshots further hints at the amount of text.
I’m hesitant to claim that this is a fantastic game before I’ve experimented with possible reactivity and tried a bunch of things (killing off the main character/other plot-important characters, going in a totally opposite direction with decisions, etcetera), but it’s safe to say that this is quite a bit more enjoyable than I expected.
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