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  5. Unavowed – Review of the new adventure from Wadjet Eye Games

Unavowed – Review of the new adventure from Wadjet Eye Games

Unavowed – Review of the new adventure from Wadjet Eye Games

Only two years ago Wadjet Eye Games amazed the entire gaming world with Shardlight, a title set in a dystopian and sick society, …

Just two years ago Wadjet Eye Games amazed the entire videogame world with Shardlight, a title set in a dystopian and sick society, enjoying, also thanks to an impeccable narrative method, an incredible success among critics and audiences. By proposing an even more accurate pixel art, the New York-based studio wanted to raise the bar of the “possible” even more, giving the lovers of graphic adventures Unavowedwhich, while maintaining its standard point and click mechanics, proves to be innovative in an incisive way, especially for a genre from which we thought we had already seen everything.

The man, the woman, the demon

“It was a dark and stormy night”. Who has never heard this incipit in the stories that were told to us as children? This cliché only partially reflects the course of events in Unavowed, because the rain that soaks New York will be present for the duration of the game (apart from closed places) and not for a single night. Our story begins on the terrace of a small building in the American city, where our avatar is struggling with two strange individuals who are there … exorcising. Answering the questions of Eli, the fire mage, we will choose whether our character will be a man or a woman, but above all we will even get to create (and live) the background! That’s right: how many times in a graphic adventure have you found yourself being able to choose your character’s gender and story? And how many variables were they thought of by Wadjet Eye Games for this preface and even for the continuation of the story? The key word is this: variable. From the moment of our first choice onwards, crossroads will unfold, and our decisions in really tough situations will have drastic consequences as the story progresses, especially in the final chapters.

Once we have chosen the character and our background, we will come to find out who are the two figures who exorcised us: they are part of a secret organization called “Unavowed”, forced to live in complete anonymity, and with the task of protecting the world from what is simplified into “supernatural”. The two have in fact investigated us for a long time, because possessed by a demon.

Under his control, many heinous crimes have been committed, and consequently there is no longer the possibility of returning to normal life due to the police. Thanks to a kind of “veil” and to the rediscovered humanity, our avatar (which we will have chosen the name ourselves) will become part of the organization, and will investigate everything that the demon – still on the loose – has plotted and implemented during the his stay. Also thanks to this veil, people who have not been touched by it will see in our face a completely different person from the one on the wanted posters.

If you can’t beat us, join us

The second great peculiarity that characterizes the New York title is that as we solve “cases”, some people with whom we will have to deal will join our cause, becoming in effect teammates. Before each scenario it will be up to us to choose the two of the organization who will follow us, also on the basis of their skills, different for each one. This brings us back to the question of variables: the scenarios are created so that whatever combination of characters we choose, there will be a way to accomplish our purpose; clearly there is not one simpler than the others, and whatever our choice is we will have to press our brains to complete the chapter. Even our avatar will have special skills, but they are related to dialogue, in which we will exploit things like the talkativeness of a bartender, or the cynicism and knowledge of the law of a cop. All this ensures that, without affecting the general narrative vein well rooted in a precise course of events, the characters of the story and the exploitation of them will be in our hands. The title has an average longevity, but also a very high replay value, conferred not only by the incredible amount of variables given by the choice of the character, but also by the inevitable multiple ending, where this too will be determined by the very important moral – and not – choices of your avatar. The difficulty of the game in fact lies not only in the puzzles (these too are not excessively complicated, but which still require attention and logic), but above all in being able to read situations to exploit them in the best possible way.

History within history

After each mission is over, it will be possible for us to have some nice chats with our companions. All of this lends even greater depth to Unavowed, where the characters are able to reveal themselves to be much more than a cluster of pixels, but people we seem to know seriously, and to whom we love. So take the time to exchange words with them, and don’t get overwhelmed by curiosity as you continue the fascinating main storyline. Another point in their favor, which will bind you inextricably to them, is their incredible dubbing, which we can define perfect for each of them, marrying with a ring to the vivid facial expressions recreated in pixels on the silhouettes during the dialogues. Will their safety be important to you? I really think so. Speaking of pixels, art is the host and friend in the game, where even the less accustomed to the retro style ‘that this can bring to mind. The backdrops have a magnetic beauty, which take full advantage of the dark night colors of the city that never sleeps, while the lights, the neon lights and the persistent rain release the right aura of sadness and melancholy that accompanies those streets. The love of the developers for their city is palpable, having portrayed it in this alternate reality with all its pros and cons.

The new in the old

We then come to the gameplay, last but not least. The guys from Wadjet Eye Games have used many interesting tricks, which added up to give a solid structure to the game despite the very high risk of forgetting something due to the variables. As already mentioned, this unfortunately also affects a not very high complexity of the puzzles, which makes it more usable to players less accustomed to the genre, but which drastically reduces the level of challenge for those who are passionate about it. Inventory management is simple and very intuitive, where even our companions are present to be exploited with their skills. On a technical level, there are no flaws to report, without even problems related to pointing. For sure, a job well done. The only note that could be out of tune for players is the lack of localization for our language, also given the use of some not too common words.