Unavowed

SA­CRED VOW

PC & Tech Authority - - REVIEWS INTRO - JAMES O’CON­NOR

There is a se­quence, late in Unavowed, where ev­ery­thing nally clicks to­gether. The choices you’ve made thus far are drawn into sharper con­trast, the story turns a fas­ci­nat­ing cor­ner, and the rea­son­ing be­hind nu­mer­ous de­sign de­ci­sions is sud­denly clear. The scope of the game’s am­bi­tions is brought into fo­cus, and it’s a won­der to wit­ness. This is not a spoiler, but it’s worth know­ing up front that Unavowed – a game that some­times feels con­strained by its fo­cus on choice and nar­ra­tive over puz­zles – has tremen­dous pay­off. It’s a good ad­ven­ture game that be­comes great if you stick with it.

Unavowed opens with you choos­ing the gen­der and pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pa­tion of your char­ac­ter – choices that will af­fect how the game plays out – dur­ing an ex­or­cism. Your pro­tag­o­nist is the one be­ing ex­or­cised; for the past year they’ve been in­hab­ited by a de­mon and have left a trail of death and de­struc­tion be­hind. The de­mon es­capes and you’re promptly en­listed into the New York chap­ter of the Unavowed, a team of ‘void-touched’ he­roes that ghts back against sin­is­ter su­per­nat­u­ral forces.

Wad­jet Eye Games is best known for the Black­well se­ries, and Unavowed is a sim­i­lar point-and-click ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s a sim­pler game than many oth­ers in the genre, di­vided roughly into chap­ters that don’t ne­ces­si­tate much back­track­ing or pixel hunting. As you move be­tween lo­ca­tions, try­ing to undo the work of the de­mon, you’re un­likely to be stumped; many puz­zles can be solved sim­ply by talk­ing to ev­ery­one, or by in­ter­pret­ing ob­vi­ous clues. Your abil­ity to in­ter­act with the en­vi­ron­ment is parred right down: few items on any given screen can be di­rectly in­ter­acted with, and it’s rare to nd your­self with a par­tic­u­larly stacked in­ven­tory, or hold­ing an item that doesn’t have an im­me­di­ate, ob­vi­ous func­tion to serve.

But the real plea­sure comes from see­ing how the mem­bers of the Unavowed bounce off each other, and nd­ing unique so­lu­tions based on your char­ac­ter load-out. By mid­way through the game you have a party of ve, but only three can go on each ‘mis­sion’, and puz­zle so­lu­tions will change slightly de­pend­ing on who you take. Some­times this is largely cos­metic, but at other times a mis­sion will be changed enor­mously by your char­ac­ter choices. This also ex­tends to your back­story – my char­ac­ter was an ac­tor, which be­came such an im­por­tant, or­ganic part of the story that I can’t imag­ine it hav­ing been any other way. You could play the game through a sec­ond time and have quite a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence.

It’s hard not to grow at­tached to Eli, Man­dana, and the rest of the Unavowed crew. The script does a fan­tas­tic job of build­ing up the world they live in, and each char­ac­ter is deeply de­vel­oped through your con­ver­sa­tions with them. The wider world of the su­per­nat­u­ral is es­hed out enough that you feel like a part of some­thing big­ger, which is an impressive feat for a small-scale in­die. Unavowed isn’t the most chal­leng­ing ad­ven­ture game, but the tale it weaves is per­sonal, sur­pris­ing, and quite de­light­ful un­der all the blood­shed and damna­tion.

KEY SPECS De­vel­oper: Wad­jet Eye Games • Pub­lisher: Steam Plat­form: PC www.wad­jeteyegames.com/games/ unavowed/

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