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Unavowed review
by JustCozzie

Art is generally pretty nice, bodies and in-world paintings especially, but the animations are stiff and janky as all hell - the walking animations in particular look like everyone has a plank shoved down the back of their trousers. Background art is atmospheric and colourful but nothing amazing technically, and misses lots of opportunities to have movement (especially in the final area). Prologue story set-up is quite absorbing but there's some very clunky exposition and both the characters and world-building don't seem to have any depth to them for the first part of the game. You've got truthful genie, and fire guy (even though it makes more sense that the jinn should have the fire powers, what with being made of smoke) that are nice, but pretty on face level, and your character has no personality to speak of. Magic is just a kind of "It's there, it works how it needs to at the current moment," sort of deal.

Some conversations are "ambient" in that you still have full control while they're playing out. The first time this happens is a good showcase for that tech, although the subtitles desync from the voicelines, but interacting with certain objects when one's happening cuts it off, with no way to replay the dialogue you've missed so you just have to wait awkwardly for it to finish. The pause menu also for some reason DOESN'T pause these conversations. Mouse control feels bad - by default it's set to go way too slow, but after being cranked up it seems to have a bit of a delay from when you start moving the mouse and has a form of 2D aim assist that is more of a nuisance than a help. Screen tearing happens whenever the camera pans.

The first big moral decision is a good one, not because the choice is an ethically hard one, but because of the strain it'd put on the character ENACTING your choice. Which was a good sign, meaning that I was already caring about a character that early in. It does take quite a lot longer than it should but right around when you get a few more characters to talk to the original 2 start gaining a bit of fleshing out, rather than just repeating their main character traits. Hearing the (now very varied) perspectives on different things is cool, and the later additions are all really interesting characters. The moral choices are almost all NEARLY as strong as that first big one too.

Being able to choose which 2 characters to take with you on cases feels good, giving some variation in dialogue and how puzzles are solved to arrive at the next plot point. This isn't enough incentive to be worth replaying cases (the differences are very slight) but it does help keep the game fresh being able to spend time with whoever you feel like at the time, and having their different tools at your disposal. The team switching mechanic isn't flawless however: because all puzzles must be balanced around having anyone in your party the game cheats a bit - saying you must always have one of the original 2 team-mates, so there are only 5 team combinations (but that is plenty). More annoyingly the game will sometimes say "No, you need this guy." for reasons that aren't justified to the player, or just switches out your party mid-case if needed. Sometimes this switching is well justified in-universe and sometimes it's too transparent ("Oh, you're here now, how did you get here? how did you know you were needed?" "I just did." "Okay."). That said it's impressive how smoothly this system is handled overall, especially with all those fully voiced conversations. Dialogue only once felt out of place despite all those variables (Logan forgetting his lengthy conversation with a Wall Street ghost) and that was after one of those mid-case forced switchups.

Puzzles are more straightforward than the average point 'n' click game but if anything that really helped my enjoyment of the game: there are no obscure "combine the rubber duck with the elevator" solutions and with your team-mates normally being very helpful you probably won't have to reach for a walkthrough once, which is great. Only one case had me looking for a guide and that was half because the second half of the game can be completed in any order, so by dumb luck the abilities I had to use hadn't come up in quite a long time and I'd forgotten they were a thing. Overall I think they got the puzzle/difficulty balance pretty bang on.

In traditional adventure game style it seems like whichever choice of people you take will always somehow be the wrong one. This was particularly annoying when one of the characters tried to make taking the ghost-studying fire mage to deal with a ghost and wood spirit retro-actively seem like a bad decision because she was a better fighter. Fire mage. Come on. The game's ending also falls into the trap of reeling all your choices back to you in a big twisted-negatively list. It's a tired trope that hasn't been effective since the first (AKA good) season of Telltale's Walking Dead, and that helps contribute to the game not quite nailing the landing. It's a serviceable conclusion but not quite a great one. That said the third act way twist is very good and hinted throughout by almost none of the supernatural entities you encounter being pure evil - they all have some sort of relatable, or at least understandable, motive. I was disappointed the worldbuilding and intricacies of its supernatural systems never got too in depth, even by the end of the game. It's got tone-setting and atmosphere but when it leaves things unexplained it doesn't fell like it's doing so to preserve a sense of mystery, more like it's just saying "We're doing Urban Fantasy, you know how it goes by now." where it could've had details that built it apart from that.

The game is fully voice acted (a rarity in the genre and a first for this developer) but there's only one BAD bit of voice-acting in the game: it's a low quality, crackling recording for Chipman the baker who, Luckily, plays a very small part. All the other voice acting is good and the main characters' grew on me until I REALLY liked them by the end.

Other reviews4

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Product received for free Unavowed is a Point-and-Click adventure Set in the same Universe as the Blackwell series and sometime after the Events of Blackwell Epiphany. If you hope that one of the remaining Storylines this Series will be dealt with here, I have to disappoint. There are a few Connections thematically, but it is neither a direct nor an indirect Sequence, even if there are a few interesting Eastereggs (which you probably don't notice if you don't have the Blackwell series in Mind so closely anymore). Instead, this time it's about the Unavowed, a Group that acts as a quasi supernatural Police force. In other words, they try to protect the World of Mortals from creatures from beyond the Void. Ghosts are weakly but not part of their Field of application, whether they are lost Souls or Poltergeists. This may make some Sense, as the Unavowed cannot communicate with Ghosts, but one might think that there would be Ways and Means. But It doesn't matter, because you can actually change their Approach in the Course of the Game. One of the Characters you later join is, coincidentally, a Bestower of Eternity, that is, the same Kind of Person you were already allowed to play in the Blackwell series. But placating Ghosts is still only a secondary Aspect of the Game. And since you can only control this Character indirectly, you don't get a full-fledged Glimpse into the Spirit World either. --> The Rest of the Review can be found on my Blog []
Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
As a Point of The click enthusiast, you can simply buy Wadjet Eye games blindly. And anyone who has played through and loved the Blackwell series and understands English will be spoiled here with a really wonderfully thought-out Masterpiece! Which makes this Game even better-or perhaps better worded-more enjoyable to play than Wadjet Eye's old Games? The Controls are good and you have a consistently fair Level of difficulty. The Story is served almost in Morsels, so that the playable Space is never exuberant, always clear. Working out The Plot in this Way in individual "Cases" is really worth Gold for the exhausted worker, who may spend only 2 Hours at the Computer in the evening! Frustration never comes up. What I particularly liked is that for every "Case" you put together a Party from the Main Character and 2 other Heroes and so you can always take different Characters with you to the Crime scene. How many times have I bitten myself in the Butt that I left the Ghost Expert on the S-Bahn when a Ghost appeared at the Scene! But what is good is that Each Case can be solved with all Combinations of Party Members, but only not always in the same Way. The Main Character's background story also changes the Storyline Massively. My Background as a Barwife opened up different Conversational Possibilities than the Actor's Background. That actually makes the Game highly interesting for a Rerun. And in the next Pass, instead of the Bar woman, I will surely choose the Policeman as the main Character and just take the Ghost Fuzzi with me everywhere! ;-) So: Conclusion is This: The Game is great! Story, Atmosphere, Voiceover are simply top. If you've only FOUND IRGENDINES of the old Wadjet Eye Games good, then you've come to the right place! Edit: For me THE Game 2018.:-) So I'm nominating it for the Steam Awards!
Favorite Thing: Having multiple ways to solve puzzles based one which characters you are using is pretty cool.
Least Favorite Thing: I got stuck a few times because I could find the pixel wide objects.

Date Completed: 2019-04-07
Playtime: 8h
Enjoyment: 8/10
Recommendation: It's another solid Wadjet Eye adventure.