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Wadjet Eye Unavowed - Dave Gilbert's RPG-inspired urban fantasy game

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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Area man vows not to play another WEG game until another WEG game released. :smug:
 

asfasdf

robot
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Insert Title Here Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut
Technobabylon was pretty bad, and Shardlight was awful. Unavowed, however, is quite good. It does not have much in terms of puzzles and is pretty weak gameplay-wise, but the plot is interesting.
 

taxalot

I'm a spicy fellow.
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Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
I have completed it and....

I don't know. It was both very good, and also very disappointing.
There is a lot to like in Unavowed. From the art (although I much prefered the one in Blackwell which had greater variety and didn't focus purely on variations of red and brown.), to the characters who are likable (Kaykay :hug:), to the story that manages to be fairly interesting. I cannot say I had a bad time playing it, truly. The ability to choose your team at the start of each mission is also nice.

But there are other things that pull the game down, and when I think of these, they outnumber the good. The puzzle design is very poor, and it's the first thing I noticed while, in the prologue sequence where you had to open a stuck door, I actually started doing things to solve a problem that hadn't occured yet and my actions didn't make sense. As you go through the game, there is no difficulty, but sure a lot of walking around different screens where the required items, NPCs, and object to interact with are all scattered. Nothing produces remotely a challenge, whatever character you decide to take. The advantage of having someone who can interact with ghosts, for example in a mission where ghosts are visible, is rendered pointless because even if you don't have it you will have zero trouble completing said sequence. And yes, you can't have that guy for "reasons" and characters refusing to return to the hub or to the metro station.

Why does the entire team take the metro if only 3 ever make it to the destination ? What the hell ?

The plot twist felt extremely easy to guess, and I had it from the very first minute of the game ; that may be, however, because the last game I played before this one was

Doki Doki Litterature Club

and therefore I was possibly in a frame of mind that rendered this very unsurprising. I have no idea how you guys felt about it.

But more importantly, while the rest of the game design can be improved upon (and I am sure Dave Gilbert will, his Blackwell games have improved episode after episode), what worries me the most is...

Aren't we just done with this universe ? Urban fantasy is nice, but it might be just possible I had my share. This felt extremely uninspired and far-fetched compared to the overall simplicity of the Blackwell games (yeah, I know they're the same universe). I don't know, but having all kinds of different supernatural entities every five minutes kinda ruined it for me. For the first time, I finished Unavowed with no desire to see more of that and hoping Gilbert, whom I still believe to be one of the best adventure game developers around at this point, would move on to something, very, very different.
 

Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
Why does the entire team take the metro if only 3 ever make it to the destination ? What the hell ?

We need MRY 's take on this, for sure.

Aren't we just done with this universe ? Urban fantasy is nice, but it might be just possible I had my share. This felt extremely uninspired and far-fetched compared to the overall simplicity of the Blackwell games (yeah, I know they're the same universe). I don't know, but having all kinds of different supernatural entities every five minutes kinda ruined it for me. For the first time, I finished Unavowed with no desire to see more of that and hoping Gilbert, whom I still believe to be one of the best adventure game developers around at this point, would move on to something, very, very different.

This is the greatest disappointment of the game. As I've said earlier in the thread, the fact that it was the same universe, but with supernatural creatures around every corner, tarnished the simpler appeal of the Blackwell story.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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You can always ping DaveGilbert himself -- I don't need to be the roving, second-hand defender of Unavowed!

This criticism strikes me as something of a weird point since it is endemic to party-based RPGs, where you are inexplicably unable to take more than a couple friends with you, even though more are willing, even though other squads are larger. Who knows? I guess it's a little silly that it's done in the subway, since it means they all either bought tickets or jumped the turnstile rather than staying at home and throwing fireballs against the wall or whatever, but many reviewers specifically praised the subway UI, so it's not all bad. Maybe they're heading out to do smaller missions not worthy of the chosen-one's attention?
 

Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
I wanted to ping you because the reasonable take is that it's just an aesthetic choice made by Gilbert. You can be counted on to be more creative in your defense. :)

Also, as some missions involve (rather forced) switching of party members, there's also an argument for them to be keeping back, laying low etc. so as to not draw additional attention. I do think an alternative could have been to do the choosing in the briefing room, though.
 

MRY

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The subway UI looks pretty cool to me. The aesthetics seem good, and ultimately there's no actual logic underpinning it. Maybe the protagonist's charisma is too low to get more than two people out of their comfortable subway seats?
 

taxalot

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Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
The subway UI looks pretty cool to me. The aesthetics seem good, and ultimately there's no actual logic underpinning it. Maybe the protagonist's charisma is too low to get more than two people out of their comfortable subway seats?

But it feels pretty arbitrary.

This is very very low on my list of criticism of the game, but seriously, the idea that this you are on a world changing mission with vast consequences but "only 3 out of the whole team will come, because. And you know, we'll just all take the subway, but 3 will come out.". It's bad. It looks cool, but it's not being nitpickish to say that it doesn't make sense. Why can't they all decide at headquarters who come ? It'd be easy for the rest of the team to find excuses about having something to do in connection with the story while you are gone.

Again, this is hardly the worse thing this game, but it exemplifies well that this game might not have been too well thought out.
 

Tigranes

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Eh. You can say that about Final Fantasy 6, for instance. It's a video game thing. I thought everything I saw in the Unavowed LP was terrible, but this really isn't worth spending any time thinking or complaining about.

Would we feel better if there was some convenient excuse why only 3 could come? I don't think it makes much of a difference.
 

visions

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Aren't we just done with this universe ? Urban fantasy is nice, but it might be just possible I had my share. This felt extremely uninspired and far-fetched compared to the overall simplicity of the Blackwell games (yeah, I know they're the same universe). I don't know, but having all kinds of different supernatural entities every five minutes kinda ruined it for me.

Thematically, New York with ghosts in Blackwell felt a lot less contrived than the kitchen sink fantasy approach in Unavowed.
Oh hey look, a merfolk, did you know fey are real? Hey look a dragon, hey look, a dryad.

You can have your real world based setting filled with supernatural threats in theory but such kitchen sink approach in one game is jarring. It would be better to concentrate on one supernatural thing per game and develop these themes in more detail in each game. Like Gabriel Knight 1 being about voodoo, GK 2 about werewolves, GK 3 about vampires.

Basically, he should take a supernatural theme and concentrate on it like he did with ghosts in Blackwell, instead of throwing everything at the wall in one game and hoping something sticks.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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The zaniness *is* the theme though. The idea is that it’s funny to have a giant merman in New York harbor of all places. Ghosts aren’t as funny because they aren’t as out of place.
 

lightbane

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to the characters who are likable (Kaykay :hug:

One of the few, you mean. :lol:

"Hi, I'm ex-alcoholic and that's my entire character motivation!"

don't need to be the roving, second-hand defender of Unavowed!

Even though you basically stalked the game's lp and defended the increasingly inane scenes with increasingly forced arguments?
 

orcinator

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It feels like they were trying to make an RPG. A bioware RPG but still a RPG, or at least something that would put "RPG" in the steam description.

Like in the artistic hipster area when you're walking forth between NPCs looking for the one that has new lines of dialogues but if this was a real bioware game you would be fighting graffiti monsters along the way (it's still a bioware game so it might just be the basic enemy you've fought before but with a new skin) and eli would cast fire and mannana would use ninja skills and whatshername would use her gun and the black guy would use kaykay as a stand and you might have a reason to pick one or the other instead of going black since ghosts seem like a more interesting thing to interact with than BURNED NOTES and whatever the fuck mananachio does and you can use any combination for most of the "puzzles".
Which kinda highlights one of the more glaring flaws of modern (and not so modern) RPGs, in that the parts where you're not fighting shit are completely braindead and boring gameplay wise. Usually this flaw is tolerated if the gameplay or at least the story is decent but WEG said fuck that noise and just gave us some pretty backgrounds and nothing else.

It's like they took Hamburger Helper quote about taking all the combat out of Dragon Age and used that as the design document. No surprise she's actually involved, thought it is a surprise she left the team or whatever.
 

Boleskine

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https://www.pcgamer.com/unavowed-is-one-of-the-best-adventure-games-ever-made/

Unavowed is one of the best adventure games ever made
By Fraser Brown 4 hours ago

Fight monsters and find your humanity.
rwUQkiBEXZumuHUozUfPBP-320-80.jpg


Alongside our team-selected 2018 Game of the Year awards, each member of the PC Gamer team gets to champion one favorite from the year. We'll continue to post new personal picks until the end of 2018.

In 2018, one of the best point-and-click adventure games was conjured into existence. Unavowed leaves you picking up the pieces after you were possessed by a demon for a year, kicking off the strongest story Dave Gilbert’s written, so far. And, as always, it's accompanied by striking art from Ben Chandler, who manages to capture New York while simultaneously transforming it into somewhere otherworldly and magical.

It’s urban fantasy with pulp noir undertones, but instead of devolving into gritty, detective cliches and hard-boiled cynicism, it’s an empathetic story full of complicated, believable characters who learn and forgive. There’s a lot of humanity in this game about stopping monsters.

z5YjNmCT8VUke26reJwabY-650-80.jpg


The world they inhabit is just as fascinating and well realised. Instead of a tour of internationally famous landmarks, it’s a quieter, smaller vision of New York. I felt like a local in a city I’ve only visited once for a few days. And it feels old. The titular Unavowed, an ancient order determined to stop evil, have called it home for centuries and share some of its secret past. There’s always the juxtaposition of the magical and mundane, from djinn riding in subways to monsters lurking in the New York harbour.

Puzzles are elegantly woven into the story and avoid classic pixel hunting frustrations and faffing around in your inventory. They’re not especially tricky head-scratchers, but they’re usually inventive enough that solving them is just as satisfying. That's a tricky balance to find, and Unavowed rarely slips. And you're not solving them alone. The Unavowed are all about teamwork, and the one conundrum that really gave me pause was figuring out who to take with me on my adventures.

Companions can help, or at least offer guidance, acting like an unobtrusive hint system, as well as potential solution themselves. They otherwise function a lot like BioWare companions, grounding you in the world by giving you friendships to hold onto. Bringing specific buddies opens up new dialogue options and solutions, and the system fits as comfortably with an adventure game as it does an RPG. Better, perhaps, since their most important attributes aren't combat related (though one of them has a sword that comes in handy), it's their expertise and insight.

2vJTTyxEA3DqTWsntqrRcm-650-80.jpg


Another arguably RPG-like trait is the importance Unavowed places on the choices you make at key points throughout the game. Sometimes it can be a bit too obvious that you’re making a Meaningful Choice™, but I’m still thinking about them months later. I was agonising over the final moments of the game again yesterday, replaying my last decision and the closing seconds in my mind. It wasn’t really a decision, though. My choice was inevitable, based on my version of the protagonist, developed over 10 hours of supernatural crises. Despite starting out as an amnesiac—a tired trope that’s used surprisingly well here—I knew exactly who I was playing by the end.

Unavowed isn’t a love letter to traditional adventure games or trading in nostalgia—it’s an adventure game with forward momentum. Sure, at times it’s evocative of games like Gabriel Knight, but it also feels new and novel. When it plays with the familiar, it subverts it, dragging us along in an unexpected direction. And it knows when to end! How many games know that, these days? It clips along at a reasonable pace, ramps up towards the end and then boom, big finale and then it’s done, probably in a few sittings. I’m ravenous for more but don’t feel short-changed. A compelling yarn doesn’t need to take 60 hours.

Not that I wouldn’t happily play 60 hours of Unavowed.

I still need to play Unavowed to see if it lives up to the hype. Reactions here on the Codex aren't as glowing as in the gaming press.
 

Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
Fraser Brown said:
Sometimes it can be a bit too obvious that you’re making a Meaningful Choice™, but I’m still thinking about them months later.

This man must be living quite the life.
 

Darth Roxor

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Puzzles are elegantly woven into the story and avoid classic pixel hunting frustrations and faffing around in your inventory. They’re not especially tricky head-scratchers, but they’re usually inventive enough that solving them is just as satisfying.

Sometimes it can be a bit too obvious that you’re making a Meaningful Choice™, but I’m still thinking about them months later. I was agonising over the final moments of the game again yesterday, replaying my last decision and the closing seconds in my mind.

fucking lmao :lol:
 

Egosphere

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Sometimes it can be a bit too obvious that you’re making a Meaningful Choice™, but I’m still thinking about them months later. I was agonising over the final moments of the game again yesterday, replaying my last decision and the closing seconds in my mind.

giphy.gif
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It's not like it's just prestigious game critics calling this the greatest adventure of all time -- it's also continued to put up extremely impressive player numbers, and and is at 96% positive ratings on Steam, approaching the 500 review threshold. When it breaks 500, if the reviews don't change, it will be WEG's second "Overwhelmingly Positive" adventure (Primordia being the first). None of the the Codexian criticisms show up in the Steam reviews. That is remarkable to me.

Steamcharts says average players for its first four months are:
98.4
31.5
13.4
11.4

First four months of Technobabylon were:
17.0
15.6
8.0
5.7

First four of Epiphany:
41.5 [skewed because it was released late in the month]
8.4
6.3
7.0

Primordia:
45.2
14.8
7.4
5.7

That's why I think the Codex criticism are sort of tangential -- Dave isn't making adventures for the Codex. He discovered a different population, one that includes a huge number of people willing to play low production value quasi-adventure games and professional critics at all the leading press joints. For all some may miss the elegance of dirigible travel, he's jamming jets full of passengers.
 

fantadomat

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That's why I think the Codex criticism are sort of tangential -- Dave isn't making adventures for the Codex. He discovered a different population, one that includes a huge number of people willing to play low production value quasi-adventure games and professional critics at all the leading press joints. For all some may miss the elegance of dirigible travel, he's jamming jets full of passengers.
Doesn't really matter,people here ether like it or not,no need to connect it to player base or steam reviews. The game is not that bad to make people that dislike it write a review on steam. Ah,and no sane dev should make game for any internet pissing "community". Nobody here is expecting the game to be tailored to the codex's fetishes. Still,this doesn't make the levered criticism less valid.
 

MRY

Wormwood Studios
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fantadomat I just think it's weird when there is no appearance of the same criticism among those who bought the game. Normally even if the Codex's views are a minority, you still see those views among Steam reviews.
 

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