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Unavowed – A nice (re)introduction to adventure games

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Following my lack of will to play RPGs at the moment and given my very positive experience with the (survival-esque) horror adventure game Detention, I decided to dwelve once again into the world of adventure games. No, not the typical, super vague action-adventure tag that a lot of games just put there. The classic kind of adventure games, point and click, 2D or not.

Following a few recommendations I settled for Unavowed. It's not a scary game like Detention, but it has a very strong fantastical horror theme. If you're fine with not being scared and still enjoy horror creatures and plots envolving sacrifice and whatnot, this might be a good start.

Obviously I'll be comparing it to Detention since, as it stands, it's my point of reference for everything adventure. Well, that and Road to El Dorado and Secret of the Lost Cavern, all fun titles within the genre I believe.

I don't think I need to mention much about the art direction and soundtrack: they do a great job atmosphere wise and everything is good on this front.

The plot is… quite surprising to say the least! I'm not saying it's the "best out there", but it did surprise me quite a few times as I thought the plot was going left, it actually went right up. Hell, at one point I even thought I was facing the consequences of my choices and was severely confused as to what was happening: I was even more confused than the protagonist, even less inclined to believe. Took me reading a walkthrough section and a YT playthrough to realize I was indeed going through a normal part of the story. Guess the later missions finish off with a very quick fade in and out, almost makes you think you're still finishing the mission. So yeah, a great thumbs up for the plot, it's really good.

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I loved the characters. I may not remember ALL of them, but if you name them I'll probably recall immediately as they were all pretty interesting in that regard. The artwork illustrating their mood and the voice acting really brings these characters to life and it's awesome to hear them interact with each other as you try to solve the mystery.

But it is indeed the mystery part that disappoints me a little. The game works in a very detective-esque kind of way, as in you talk to people, probe them, then probe other people with the newly acquired info. And I wasn't ready for it. After the puzzles of Detention I was also expecting… well, survival horror-esque puzzles. And indeed there are puzzles and things to combine with in Unavowed, but most of the game is more about "talk with person X, so now you can get info that will allow you to get more info out person Y, who you just spoke to like 5 minutes ago". So I'd say the pacing of the gameplay wasn't exactly my style: way too much time spent checking and rechecking whether NPCs had something new to say, always going different areas, rechecking everything. That was the… unfun part of the game for me. I'm not exactly a fan of just unlocking new lines just because I've already exhausted every single line of dialogue. With no consequence to it, or actual puzzles to it, the game becomes a bit of "going through the motions", which isn't exactly what I'm looking for in adventure games but to rather get this brain working.

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And when the puzzles did come they were either pretty straightforward, or so goddamn simply I was again overthinking everything and forgetting exactly what was right under my nose, probably being tired of going here and there constantly, which would result in me being so numb and dumb, only to then suddenly go "OOOHHHH… I'm a goddamn moron". So yeah, make time for some pauses in between sessions. The puzzles ARE very easy and your companions really do tell you, even if not always clearly, what you need to do next. So don't be afraid.

Regardless of this, the payoff would be slowly unveiling what happened in each area, starting to put the pieces together. That was the fun part and no single mission let me down in that regard: you'd always learn a bit more about the world around you, as well as the characters.

As a gateway game, I think this turned out pretty damn good. However if you're a fan of puzzles, you might feel slightly disappointed by this one. This is all about the writing, the characters and ultimately revealing mysteries and surprising yourself, which was what really impressed me in this.


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