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

fantadomat

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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.
Not butthurt enough,the game is mixed bag,therefore people don't bother writing a negative review. It is one of those games. Most such games have massive positive rating from its fanbase. Also believe i saw a few complains similar to the codexian ones,mainly the easy puzzles and being predictable.
 
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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.

Just passing by (got the game, but haven't played it yet), BUT you are bending backwards in order to avoid calling it like it is, pandering to casuals and streamlining product is not something Gilbert invented, nothing remarkable about it, just call spade a spade.

And as far as reviews are concerned, Life is Strange is overwhelmingly positive too, go figure. What steam got in terms of ratings is a tiny bit broader version of your upvote/downvote culture, vast majority won't bother doing game design dissections in reviews that two and a half people will see, especially for a game they DIDN'T enjoy (or thought it was alright). Not to mention how many will just partake in a massive circlejerk just to feel like they belong. Take Artifact as an example, about 95% of negative reviews are bashing the payment model without a second thought. Even though the problems with the game run much deeper: questionable and unfun design of certain aspects, ABYSMAL UX, especially in terms of social possibilities (and that's in a card game), initial refusal to balance the damn thing, because the prices of cards on second market will go down etc. But who's gonna bother listing all of that shit and backing it up with some examples? (except me of course, because fuck you Valve). Huge chunk of people just moved on, and as fantadomat mentioned above - it requires a certain level of butthurt to commit to shitting on a game, especially in a constructive way.
 
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Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
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.

Are you sure you looked at the right place?

Thanks, Dave, for ruining the Blackwell setting. Blackwell's charm lay in the combination of regular everyday surroundings with the supernatural element. Unavowed turns this into a constant flying circus with a random bunch of Avengers various magical creatures zapping each other with spells.

The main problem is that everything is so rushed and over the top. The game tries to be convincing with its setting and the characters, and the next moment it looks like one giant spoof. Turning Bestowers with their waaailing ghosts into a spoof as well.

The mind control plot device is used at least twice, in two different ways. Not to count the main possession-related plot line. That's like having three main characters in a story each have amnesia.

The merfolk general's story is preposterous in every way -- the premise, the execution, the dialogs. Not counting that part, the dialogs are quite good overall, but some are... "The rain washed away most of the blood from your hands, but it will always be there." Pause. "Whether you can see it or not."

Part of the issue is the mission structure, not letting any particular story develop properly. The separate stories don't come together in any meaningful way, and the main characters aren't given detailed stories either.

The "consequences" are done in a very ham-fisted way. If a magical creature is still alive, you'll be able to call on it -- only during the -- regardless of whether or not you parted on good terms. A fire creature will be able to melt something. That's about it.

Other puzzles show very little creativity as well. This is really in contrast with Blackwell, which had a variety of interesting puzzles based on observation, on overhearing something, on gathering information (not just finding random codes), on Joey's interference ability, on interacting with the environment in other ways.

This review is more or less in line with the Codex criticism. I've voiced a very similar complaint to that written in the first paragraph:

The almost blasé appearances and discussion of such fantastical beings as djinni, fae, spriggans and elementals, complete with the implication of their own hierarchies and societies do not just serve to turn the Gilbertian universe into Harry Potter (with mundanes instead of muggles) but also undermine the proceedings in the Blackwell series. Gilbert has chosen to expand on the mythology of his universe but that expansion inevitably comes at the cost of watering down his existing stake in Rosa Blackwell's story. Whether this was a choice worth making is for him to decide but a less fanciful worldbuilding should have been considered.

The second, second-last, and last paragraphs are more or less parallel with Roxor's own opinions.
 
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I liked Unavowed a lot (although my playthrough did fall by the wayside and remains unfinished due to Kingmaker-related reasons); certainly a lot more than most of my fellow codexers, but calling it "one of the greatest adventure games ever" is just pants-on-head level of stupid, and belies either a complete lack of knowledge about the genre, or some of the most blatantly cynical and sensationalist clickbait I have seen this year.
From what I saw of Unavowed (roughly 3/4s of it I think?) it was a cool Jim Butcher-esque Urban Fantasy game with very nice art, little narrative coherency, hammy dialogue and characters, very easy puzzles, and an impressive amount of cosmetic C&C, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of that - I mean, shit, I've read like 15 Jim Butcher novels and enjoyed them all as silly brain candy, but I would never argue that The Dresden Files is the apotheosis of fantasy literature because that is a ludicrous assertion to anyone with an iota of intelligence about the subject matter.

Bluntly, MRY I admire your optimism about the genre, as well as your bon homie toward your fellow creators, but I just don't get how you don't have more of a chip on your shoulder about this stuff.
 
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MRY

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I hadn't seen that review.

I guess I still think that's the exception that proves the rule, rather than the exception that disproves it.

WEG basically made the most old-school adventure games out there -- deliberately designed to look like 90s adventures, in an engine explicitly developed to make games like 90s adventures, etc. -- and had a player base that grew organically out of the most devoted old-school adventure game fans. WEG's primary press agents, like Richard Cobbett, are ostentatiously attached to old-school adventure games. So it just seems like if, in fact, Unavowed were an outrageous betrayal of the core values of adventure games, you'd hear a loud hew and cry, the same way you would if Styg suddenly made a popamole nu-RPG. Instead, the same core fanbase and press agents declare it to be one of the best adventure games of all time. It is hard for me to reconcile the two positions. That one or two players complain isn't that surprising to me (even the best games always fail to appeal to some percentage of fans); what I don't understand is why you don't see dozens or scores of reviews echoing the Codex's points, if those points are right.

Maybe fantadomat has the right of it, which is that adventure game fans are basically forgiving, and this game looks great, sounds great, and has a lot of dialogue, and so maybe that gets you to thumbs-up even among people who are annoyed about puzzles. But I dunno.

<3sRichardSimmons I would have more of a chip on my shoulder, for sure, if Primordia had bombed. As it is, it's hard to be too upset about GameJournPros saying that your game is a monstrosity when players tell you that it made their lives better. Also, a faint hint of struggle in my life lets me feel more like Gattaca's Vincent than Gattaca's Anton.

--EDIT--
Like, is comparison to getting a tweet like this:

it's hard to really care what a game journalist has to say about Primordia.

It would mean a lot to me if someone I really respect in the field -- like, say, Brian Moriarty (who, incidentally, said that Dave Gilbert was one of the only people he'd trust with a LOOM sequel) or Avellone or Emily Short -- said something nice about Primordia. And it might mean something if some kind of legitimately impressive critical organ, like The New Yorker, took a close look at the game. But while I like game journalists and think they are generally hard working, nice people, they average game journalist is probably not as sophisticated as the average Codex troll along any metric (knowledge of games, knowledge of literature/art, educational attainment, professional attainment, intellectual rigor). It may sting a little when a middling community college English minor says that Primordia's themes are shallow, but I'm pretty good at the self-defense mechanism of brushing such criticism off. By contrast, it's always meant a lot to me (maybe irrationally a lot) that the Codex took to the game so much. And it means even more getting stuff like:
Primordia was a game about finding oneself. Going through that experience during a tough time, when one is lost, allows them to think for a bit and go to sleep differently.

After finishing the game, I was haunted by Leobuilt's words, "Know thyself, then return." At random moments I would say those words and it would remind me of a person that I must find again. These words have high meaning to me.

You questioned my ideas, beliefs, religion, humanity, hunger for improvement, what we are willing to sacrifice to achieve and defend ideas, the value of life... so, so many things to say but cannot say! I hope I remember the lessons you taught me.

Just wanted to let you know that I love this game and some of the ideas that this game has given me is starting to improve my life. That is no joke.

Honestly, for as many walls of words as I can and do write, I can't really capture what it means, as a person constantly crippled by self-doubt, to read something like that.
 
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V_K

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WEG basically made the most old-school adventure games out there -- deliberately designed to look like 90s adventures, in an engine explicitly developed to make games like 90s adventures, etc. -- and had a player base that grew organically out of the most devoted old-school adventure game fans. WEG's primary press agents, like Richard Cobbett, are ostentatiously attached to old-school adventure games. So it just seems like if, in fact, Unavowed were an outrageous betrayal of the core values of adventure games, you'd hear a loud hew and cry, the same way you would if Styg suddenly made a popamole nu-RPG. Instead, the same core fanbase and press agents declare it to be one of the best adventure games of all time.
It's largely the same with the latest Daedalic titles though. I guess by this time adventure game fans just expect to be betrayed and don't make a huge deal of it.
 

Alpan

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Pathfinder: Wrath
Maybe fantadomat has the right of it, which is that adventure game fans are basically forgiving, and this game looks great, sounds great, and has a lot of dialogue, and so maybe that gets you to thumbs-up even among people who are annoyed about puzzles. But I dunno.

Yes, he is correct in his assessment. Adventure games, old school or not, are so rare in general that the initial feeling upon seeing a new game developed or released by Wadjet Eye is invariably positive, and that is not a bad thing. I jumped into Unavowed with the warmest of impressions, and my opinion (comparatively) soured only after being done with the game. It's also the reason why Roxor, who I'm sure is genuine in his critical assessment, will doubtless play, if not cover, Gilbert's next game.

I've already mentioned to you that Primordia occupies a special place in my gaming history. Perhaps it would help, in moments of self-doubt, to remember that your accomplishments (both at night and during the day) speak for you.
 

lightbane

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nstead, the same core fanbase and press agents declare it to be one of the best adventure games of all time.

When people are hungry, they don't discriminate much.

which is that adventure game fans are basically forgiving, and this game looks great, sounds great, and has a lot of dialogue

They're forgiving indeed. Also, lots of dialogue doesn't mean good.

"Hi, I'm ex-alcoholic and that's all I talk about. I'm also the token black but you could swap me with a white guy and few things would change. By the way, did I tell you I am an ex-alcoholic yet?"

Had not hired help of SJWs and certain individuals like Hamburger Helper, things would have gone quite differently.
 

Vorark

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"Hi, I'm ex-alcoholic and that's all I talk about. I'm also the token black but you could swap me with a white guy and few things would change. By the way, did I tell you I am an ex-alcoholic yet?"

Wish you could just deal directly with Kaykay, she was the only reason I woud take him at all.
 

baud

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RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I helped put crap in Monomyth
I hadn't seen that review.

I guess I still think that's the exception that proves the rule, rather than the exception that disproves it.

If you want some negative reviews or reviews raising negative points, the wikipedia page for Unavowed has some links:


some criticizing the difficulty as too easy and some characters as underdeveloped.

Slant Magazine on the other hand found the characters limited, especially the character of Vicki who was considered one-dimensional as well as the lack of focus on Logan who was only noted for being a recovering alcoholic with no other life outside his addiction.[20] It also chided that interesting character narrations are interrupted by mundane quests.[20]

[20] Scaife, Steven (August 9, 2018). "Unavowed". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.

PC Gamer and Adventure Gamers both offered minor criticism on some voices.[4][9][12]

[4]Rayfield, David (August 8, 2018). "Unavowed Review: Dressed To Possess". GameSpot. Archived from the original on September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
[9]Kaharl, Jonathan (August 8, 2018). "Unavowed". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
[12] Hoover, Richard (August 8, 2018). "Unavowed Review". Adventure Gamers. Archived from the original on September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
Several reviewers bemoaned that quests are too easy and can be easily solved, such as by exploring the environment.[5][9][13][19]

[5]Walker, John (August 8, 2018). "Wot I Think: Unavowed". Rock Paper Shotgun. Archived from the original on September 9, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
[9]Kaharl, Jonathan (August 8, 2018). "Unavowed". Hardcore Gaming 101. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
[13] Schütz, Felix (August 21, 2018). "Unavowed im Test: Im Bann der Dämonen". PC Games (in German). Retrieved September 10, 2018.
[19] Wöbbeking, Jan (August 9, 2018). "Unavowed - Test, Adventure - 4Players.de". 4Players (in German). Archived from the original on September 10, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
 

bertram_tung

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Insert Title Here
I've already mentioned to you that Primordia occupies a special place in my gaming history. Perhaps it would help, in moments of self-doubt, to remember that your accomplishments (both at night and during the day) speak for you.

i second that
I've purposely not played it again for a few years so that when I return everything feels completely fresh again... I may be getting to the point where I need to play it again.
Primordia is aces
 

alyvain

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I liked it a lot. But did you guys notice that the ending scene is a fucking Planescape: Torment ripoff, but with less choice and a supposedly 'human' angle? I'm not even kidding.
 

MRY

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Best story, best writing, best traditional adventure, etc, etc from Adventure Gamers. Seems to vindicate the game pretty resoundingly!
 

V_K

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Best story, best writing, best traditional adventure, etc, etc from Adventure Gamers. Seems to vindicate the game pretty resoundingly!
Well, let's not forget that the King's Quest remake won most of those too in its year.
Also, the Best Traditional Adventure for it is pretty ironic. Maybe even sarcastic - like, your attempts at innovation suck so much that they don't even qualify you for the Best Non-Traditional award.
 

V_K

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The greatest WTF moment is, of course, Unavowed getting the readers' choice award for - wait for it - best gameplay. You can literally feel the pain of the person forced to write the text justifying that.
 

MRY

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What about just acknowledging that many devoted adventure fans love the game and that Dave has a close relationship with the adventure game community and figured out what people want? It’s not like he’s selling to casual mobile players using F2P addictive model, or making a visual novel with anime zaniness. He may not be making games for everyone, but he’s making them for devoted, serious players.

It doesn’t change what I want to do with my own games, but I’ve got to respect someone who honed his craft and built the relationships Dave did. He really loves adventure games and the AG community.
 

taxalot

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Codex 2013 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
What about just acknowledging that many devoted adventure fans love the game and that Dave has a close relationship with the adventure game community and figured out what people want? It’s not like he’s selling to casual mobile players using F2P addictive model, or making a visual novel with anime zaniness. He may not be making games for everyone, but he’s making them for devoted, serious players.

It doesn’t change what I want to do with my own games, but I’ve got to respect someone who honed his craft and built the relationships Dave did. He really loves adventure games and the AG community.

Dave Gilbert gained legitimity by doing actual, quality games : The Blackwell series whose value is not under-appreciated in this forum. Yet somehow, people are a bit more reserved here when it comes to Unavowed. What is questionable is the direction he took with his last game. Is this a deliberate decision to dumb down the design so much or is it just development troubles that resulted in something that feels, somehow, "unbalanced" and incredibly easy for an adventure game ? It is obvious, and appreciated, that he tried new things but they resulted in a broken gameplay. I'm more willing to admit than to make what basically amounts to be small "Maniac Mansion" episodes which must be completable for every character combination is a tough task to both design and program. But in that case, game design wise ? It didn't work.

Now, it's hard to jump to conclusions right now. Accidents happen. But if his next game retains the same issues without much effort to adjust, then it will be obvious that it is a deliberate effort off his part to streamline his games and reach a broader audience.

There is nothing wrong in doing that. Plenty of people like it. He also has a company and is trying to run it and nobody expects him to be on a holy crusade to save old school adventure games. It's fine ; he sounds like a perfectly nice guy. I won't mind.

But he will lose me, and a fair number of Codexers as an audience. Defending that he did Unavowed for hardcore adventure fans is also dubious, considering the final result. It certainly doesn't look or play like that at all, although again, yes, accidents happen. And despite what you say, there appears to be a certain casualization of the story. It's hard to put into words, but the "new things" Unavowed try in this story are counter balanced by what you deny : there is a certain zaniness in meeting new kind of fantastical creatures one upping each others in terms of super powers at each encounter. Blackwell was supernatural, but it had a simplicity that was charming. Unavowed enters dangerous teenager fiction territory.

Again, his next game will clear all doubt. But I'm not keeping my hopes too high.
 

MRY

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Defending that he did Unavowed for hardcore adventure fans is also dubious, considering the final result
Well, "hardcore adventure fans" are hard to define. But it seems reasonable to me to suppose that between the AGS community, the Adventure Gamers editors, and the Adventure Gamers readers, you have a fairly good sampling of that population. And they all adore Unavowed. I agree that he did not win over the Codex, at least not entirely, though reviews here seem a mix of positive and neutral.
 

alyvain

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Dave Gilbert gained legitimity by doing actual, quality games : The Blackwell series whose value is not under-appreciated in this forum. Yet somehow, people are a bit more reserved here when it comes to Unavowed.

I've only played Legacy and Unbound and I honestly can't see how they're better than Unavowed. Especially Legacy which has "an amateurish attempt" written all over it, with Dr. You-Gotta-Eat-Your-Backstory and even devils outta nowhere. Unavowed seems more mass-effecty, but much better crafted, even in the terms of story and dialogues. Does Blackwell gets better or this appreciation you mentioned is just a good ol' established conclusion that no one cares to revisit?
 

fantadomat

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Dave Gilbert gained legitimity by doing actual, quality games : The Blackwell series whose value is not under-appreciated in this forum. Yet somehow, people are a bit more reserved here when it comes to Unavowed.

I've only played Legacy and Unbound and I honestly can't see how they're better than Unavowed. Especially Legacy which has "an amateurish attempt" written all over it, with Dr. You-Gotta-Eat-Your-Backstory and even devils outta nowhere. Unavowed seems more mass-effecty, but much better crafted, even in the terms of story and dialogues. Does Blackwell gets better or this appreciation you mentioned is just a good ol' established conclusion that no one cares to revisit?
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Clearly your opinion is invalid!
 

Shadenuat

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Hope this gets better after 1st mission because I almost died of boredom and thats being drunk IRL
 

Shadenuat

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It took me few hours to finish anyway.
Art was ok, story and characters could have worked in an RPG with some combat, considering how much effort went into them and conversations.

Design wise it's impotent though, like a Telltale game wrapped in a oldschool packaging.
 

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