So, it’s very rare that I talk about moderngames; not because I don’t like them but because I mostly like to wax nostalgic anddiscuss things I grew up with, so when I do talk about something modern it is becauseI am either legitimately excited or feelin’ really salty about something. It’s mostly because I’ve found somethingthat I am eager to talk about, and this is the case for Unavowed, the new adventure gamedeveloped by Wadjet Eye. Wadjet Eye has been pretty consistent in makingvery high quality and atmospheric adventure games; Unavowed takes place in the same universeas The Blackwell series which is a set of games released from 2006 through 2014; I won’tbe comparing this game to those as I never fully got into them; I’ll be discussingthe things
I like about Unavowed by comparing it to adventure games past, and explaininghow this title manages to stay modern while being reminiscent of the classics. Also, I have a cameo! (this epi-fish trackis tight) Perfect, A+ performance. Let’s run over a few important things; Unavowedfalls into the Urban Fantasy category; it’s set in New York, and follows the story ofa character, the one you will be playing as, who has been possessed by a demon. For the past year, you have been murderingpeople and causing chaos all over the city. You can choose to be a man or a woman, andyou can choose their former occupation; Actor, Police Officer, or Bartender. I of course went with the police officer becauseit plays like a detective route, and I have a love for all things mystery. After a cutscene, which will differ dependingon what occupation you choose, you are brought back to present day where we are being restrainedby one character, and being exorcised by another. When you regain control of your body, youare told about the violent crimes you committed while under control of another being, andit becomes apparent that you will never be able to go back to society as yourself. These two characters, Eli and Mandana, offeryou a place in the Unavowed, a group that is described as the Supernatural police; theirjob is to take care of disturbances in the supernatural world and issues that occur acrossthe void. Each character is different and has uniqueabilities; Mandana is half Jinn, half human, who is great with a sword and can sense falsehoods. Eli is a mage that can manipulate fire, andthere are other characters you meet and add to your party as you progress in the game;Logan is a bestower who can communicate with the dead, and Vicki is a steel hearted copwho can offer her knowledge to solve the crimes that have been happening across New York. The game is split up into missions, and forthe majority you can pick your party. This idea is obviously not new, especiallywhen it comes to urban fantasies; the idea of a supernatural police squad reminds meof Men in Black or R.I.P.D, perhaps even The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It’s an idea that has been used a lot, butwhether an idea is unique or not is not what makes it a good or memorable story.
The one thing I took away from majoring infiction writing is that there exist no unique ideas, only the execution of them. And when I say it’s the only thing I tookaway from that major, I mean it, cause instead I went into the wonderful world of non-fiction. SURE AM GLAD I SPENT ALL THAT MONEY ON COLLEGE Anyway, adventure games stories are typicallysupported by dialogue, character development, and world building, so even ones that don’thave the most thrilling plot are still enjoyable for me. Quick example: Did you love King’s QuestVI because it had a great story? No, of course not. You liked it because it had a lot of heart,personality, and it was fun. It felt like a fantasy adventure. I’m not necessarily saying the plot of thisgame is bad; quite the opposite, I enjoy it, but the reason I DO is because it exploresexisting tropes, takes inspiration from other stories, and executes them very well, notbecause it’s a totally fresh, unexplored idea. This is a very successful urban fantasy tome. This game is definitely a fusion of differentthemes and cultures you see in fantasy stories of all kinds; We have Jinn, fire mages, elementals,mer folk, dragons, dryads, fae and ghosts; you’d think squashing this many ingredientsinto a blender would just result in something confused and muddled, but it works REALLYWELL, I am impressed. I think it helps that the missions are alldone separately, but there is a link that ties them together so the story isn’t interrupted. I’m also reminded of the many adventuregames I’ve played throughout the years. Because there are some RPG elements in thisgame, including tough decision making that has an effect on how you play, and it alsoincluded things like the Jinn and elementals, I got some light Quest for Glory II vibes. They even use the term Trial by Fire in thegame, and I could be totally wrong and off base, but that’s where my mind went regardless. It’s like if Trial By Fire were a much bettergame. I’m also reminded of Callahan’s CrosstimeSaloon in that you get sent on different missions, sometimes with different party members
whoare also various breeds of fantasy characters. You take care of whatever conflict there isand you head back to your central location; in Callahan’s, it’s the Saloon. In Unavowed, we have this cozy little housewhere you’re character is staying. I also got some minor Dagger of Amon Ra vibes,but those are minimal and it’s probably just my imagination; it’s mostly these closeup shots of corpses, heh. I compare it the most to Gabriel Knight: Sinsof the Fathers, in the way that it relies on dialogue to move things along, and there’sa lot of interrogation and investigation; comparing evidence also comes into play inthe form of inventory object puzzles. I loved it, I was interested the entire waythrough, and even though not every character was created equal, meaning some were fleshedout more than others, I find that I liked all the characters. Eli and Mandana have the most personalityby far, leaving Logan and Vicki a little under written, but I still found all of them entertaining. Eli Beckett was my favorite and I always madesure to have him in my party; I also very much enjoyed his voice acting, but honestly,the entire game has very consistent performances. As we know from previous fantasy games, itcan be hard to get the voice acting just right; these characters are talking about elementalsand poltergeists, and supernatural stuff and making it sound real, and trust me, you risksounding cheesy when you write fantasy fiction dialogue. It’s not overly serious, though; in factone of the missions, which involves meeting a spirit guide, had me laughing out loud. That being said, the serious parts are justthat; the developer took some inspiration from BioWare, the developer responsible forthe Dragon Age games, and includes some very tough decision making. It doesn’t affect the big picture, but itdoes change character dialogue on top of just playing with your emotions. Even when I knew the bottom line wouldn’tbe changed, with each playthrough I really struggled with these choices: Who should Ispare? Who should I not? What kind of person does that make me? Instead of drastically different endings basedon those choices, they more so provide for very tense moments that you don’t commonlysee in adventure games, and speaking of not common, the game has 4 endings. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s as complexas it is, because I am really not used to it. I can tell a lot of work went into this. The graphics, as you can probably see, arestunning. I LOVE them. Every background is amazing looking, the portraitsare masterful with their expressions; hell even this RAIN looks great. It’s just beautiful, I wanted to exploreevery screen, I couldn’t wait to get to the next location, shit. I know I am gushing but I can’t help it,settings like these are what made me fall in love with adventure games. You’ll probably see a lot of reviewers sayingthe game has a great atmosphere and simply describe it as atmospheric, which I feel istoo vague and could mean basically anything so I want to briefly explain how the settingsmade me feel; I’d describe the entire feel of this game as simultaneously bleak and cozy;though I wouldn’t call the game a noir mystery, I certainly felt like I was in one with howdramatic each location looked. Even though the plot deals with the supernaturalworld, I still felt the atmosphere was most comparable to a neo noir, like Blade Runner. The music is also lovely as well; it again,gave me some Gabriel Knight vibes, but as much as I compare all these titles, know thatthis game is very distinct and it IS quite different from everything I’ve mentioned;being reminded of all the things I love about this genre is just a bonus. It’s also designed very well; I wouldn’tsay the puzzles are difficult; you won’t get stuck for very long, but they do requirea bit of thinking to solve. The more familiar you are with adventure games,the easier the puzzles will likely be for you; if you’re new to the genre I thinkit could provide a light challenge and would be a great introduction. How you solve puzzles in each mission changesdepending on who you have in your party, which also means the dialogue will be different,giving the game some replayability. Instead of controlling each character individually,a mechanic I have never really liked, they instead show up as actions in your inventorybar. For example, when you need to talk to a ghost,you’d click on Logan to use him. The UI is very clear, I NEVER mis click anything. You’d think it would be hard to screw thatup, but you’d be surprised; I’ve played plenty of adventure games that are needlesslycomplicated. You simply mouse over something on your screento get a clear and concise description, and the cursor changes when you can interact withan item or talk to someone. And there are SAVE SLOTS. SO MANY SAVE SLOTS, Oh thank the heavens Ilove them ALL. The writing is one of the strongest elementsin the game; it immediately draws you in as soon as you begin playing, and each missionis interesting, with a lot of engaging dialogue. Sometimes as you are looking around a screen,the other characters will start talking to each other; I really like this, though I dowish that it would transition over to the next screen, because a lot of the time I hadto wait around to let them finish their conversation. Not the biggest deal to me, it’s not likeI am in a rush or anything, but sometimes I did accidentally cut them off. The only negative, if you could even call it one,is that the character YOU play is not voiced, and doesn’t really have a personality; Theycome across as a CRPG character, like Quest for Glory, it simply appears that you, theplayer, is encouraged to attribute your own personality to them. To be honest,
I didn’t even notice becauseI’m used to that being the case for voiced RPG games, like Quest for Glory 4 and 5, oreven games like persona, where other characters have full performances and the one you playdoesn’t. Can’t say I was bothered by it. I feel like this is the type of game thatSHOULD have been released after 2D games like King’s Quest VI, around the mid 90s. You know how developers just kind of threwthemselves into 3D and FMV with reckless abandon? I feel like had we not done that for adventuregames, this is where we could have gone; a beautiful point and click with advanced techand more detailed art; this would have been a better segue, I could see something likethis bridging the gaping hole between 2D and 3D; but I am glad we have it in the presentbecause the style really does bring me a lot of joy since it does have that retro feelto it. I do like this game on its own, but I’dbe lyin’ if I said I didn’t assign some of my enjoyment to nostalgia and the gamesability to evoke good memories. So yeah, I don’t really have any negatives,here. Not saying other people would feel the sameway I do, but I personally don’t have any major criticisms; I just really, really enjoyedthis game and wanted to tell you all about it. If you liked the things I described in thisvideo, then you might like Unavowed. If you hate everything I mentioned, then maybeyou wouldn’t. My first playthrough lasted around 12 hours,so I think it is priced very fairly at 15 dollars. Let me know what you think of this game ifyou’ve played it, and as always, I’ll see you guys in the next one.