You’ll be wowed by Unavowed!
Platform: PC (reviewed), Mac
Developer: Wadjet Eye Games
Publisher: Wadjet Eye Games
Release date: August 8, 2018
TL;DR: A character driven, point-and-click adventure that tests your decision-making skills.
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You are on a rooftop, somewhere in New York. Someone grabs you from behind, while a man that you can’t quite make out through the driving rain stands a few feet away, shouting at you to remember.
But you don’t know who you are.
Small details come in slowly; your gender, your name, and lastly, your profession. Then it all comes flooding back. Flash back to a year ago; how you were possessed by a demon and the rather shocking events that immediately follow. Back to the present and you manage to regain control as the demon leaves your body, just in time to see the man collapse on to the wet ground.
This is how Unavowed allows you to choose the details and the origin story of the character you will be playing.
You soon learn that the man, Eli, and his companion that restrained you, Mandana, are members of Unavowed, an ancient organisation with chapters located all over the world. Their role is to look out for and stop any paranormal activities that may affect the Mundane world; that is, the world as a whole that is unaware of the existence of supernatural happenings. With your life in ruins and as a wanted felon for the crimes you committed while possessed, you agree to go with them.
The New York chapter consists of Eli, ex-accountant-turned-fire-mage, Mandana, a sword-wielding Jinn, and her father, Kalash. As you are no longer a Mundane, due to the possession, and the demon that was exorcised from you is still out there, you agree to join the Unavowed and help them track it down.
Unavowed is a point-and-click style urban fantasy that will see you go out on missions, taking you all over New York where you’ll need to talk to the locals, interact with objects to find clues, and try to figure out what’s going on. Having access to your companion’s unique abilities will help you with certain situations, with more companions unlocked as you go, though you can only ever take two with you on a mission. While choosing certain companions may make some puzzles easier, you’ll be able to complete all missions regardless of who you choose to have in your party, though the puzzles may differ slightly. If you do get stuck or feel like you’ve exhausted all options, talking to your companions will yield a clue or two, though these can often be as ambiguous as the puzzles themselves.
The conversations you have with people out and about on these missions will almost always have multiple choice answers, and the end of every mission will see you given an often difficult choice of how you want to deal with what has been uncovered, all the while making you very aware that every choice you make could have severe consequences.
Don’t let the retro-style graphics fool you – Unavowed doesn’t shy away from the darker side of human (or inhuman) existence. It is littered with violence, F-bombs, and some of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in a game in a long time. This is largely due to how well the characters come to life. Unavowed does a great job of balancing out its darker tendencies with some well-placed, subtle humour. If you spend too long idling, your companions will start talking amongst themselves, giving way to some often hilarious conversations.
The voice acting is spot on and breathes life into the characters being portrayed. I became attached very quickly to both Eli and Mandana, enjoying their comfortable banter and embracing their differences. While Eli is a bit of a joker and does his best to put you at ease, Mandana is more to the point, favouring a more pragmatic approach to things. You will recruit more members to Unavowed during the game but both Eli and Mandana remained my favourites. The people you encounter during missions are equally as well voiced, making them really feel part of the story, rather than just person-shaped objects you’re required to interact with to progress the story.
Unavowed reminds me (somewhat) of the TV show, Supernatural, though more in structure than content. Like Supernatural, each mission (episode) is like a mini story/mystery, with an overarching story that runs through the whole thing. While it may not appear to be the most original, the combination of the attachment you form with the characters as well as the sometimes heart-wrenching decisions you’ll have to make are what drive it forward. And it’s not necessarily as clear cut as you’d think.
The main campaign took me around ten hours to finish, however, there are multiple ways to play through the story, depending on what profession you initially choose for your character. There are also a number of different endings, again based on what decisions you make throughout the game, so the replay value for Unavowed is high.
- Wonderfully crafted characters
- Genuinely tough decision making
- High replay value due to decisions/multiple endings
- The sound stuttered very occasionally
Rated: Not yet rated; lots of violence, dark themes, and plenty of F-bombs make this game unsuitable for children.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.