Unavowed begins with thunder, lightning and an exorcism. A man in a
fedora and trench coat holds a shadowy figure by the neck, while a woman
with a sword stands poised to attack if necessary. The man speaks an
incantation, blasts the shadowy figure with lightning for good measure
and then asks the figure a question, “Are you man, woman or demon?”
It’s here the player can begin creating their own protagonist. They
can choose the gender (hint: demon doesn’t work but can produce some
amusing results), name and former occupation. Among the backgrounds are
actor, cop or bartender. For the purposes of this review, I completed
two playthroughs, one as a female actor and another as a male cop. I
also played a little of the bartender route just to see the opening and
a bit beyond that. In the two complete playthroughs, all paths for my
character’s personal journeys felt “correct” and inevitable.
Once the character creation is complete, there will be a playable
flashback with the chosen background story. No matter which of the three
unique scenarios is chosen, it will end shock and horror. When the game
flashes back to the present, you learn that your character has been
possessed by a demon for a year, leaving a trail of destruction and
death in its wake. You can’t go back to your old life, as you’re now
a wanted criminal. Your only option is to join the Unavowed, a team
dedicated to taking on the forces of darkness.
In the beginning, the team only consists of three members besides
your character – fire mage Eli, who performed the exorcism, half
jinn/half pirate Mandana, who stood ready with the sword, and Mandana’s
father, Kalash, the leader of the group, a blue jinn who like his
daughter, sleeps in a bottle every night. Eli and Mandana will accompany
you on the various missions you will take part in. Later, two more
companion characters will be added, Logan the bestower (along with his
spirit guide, KayKay), and Vicki, a former cop who was kicked off the
force for a truth only she could see. Each character has skills that
will be helpful on the missions you will go on, and you can choose two
for each mission once the other characters join the team.
These missions are essentially clean up projects for the havoc your
demon has wreaked, as well as steps to lead you closer to finding the
demon, who seems to have a larger plan it still intends to complete.
Each mission takes place in a different part of New York, and all areas
are intriguing and provide nice contrast from one another. There are
also several fun references to other Wadjet Eye games fans of the
company can discover throughout, particularly references to the
Blackwell series. For example, during the Chinatown mission, Blackwell
fans may recognize a familiar detective. Later in the same mission,
there is a sequence with KayKay the ghost, a fantastically written
character fans may also recognize. Even if you have not played the
Blackwell games, the KayKay section is a standout, providing a lot of
fun along with some of the best puzzles in the game.
Speaking of puzzles, all are relatively easy to solve. They were fun,
particularly the KayKay section, but never very difficult. The focus is
primarily on the terrific story, characters and choices. There are
different ways to solve the puzzles, depending on which companion
characters are taken on each individual mission. Also, your protagonist’s
background will play a role as well. The actor is good at deception, the
cop at detective work, and the bartender at empathy and getting
characters to open up. Those that desire more of a challenge may be
disappointed, but I felt that the puzzles were interesting, worked well
and kept the story flowing nicely.
The choice system in this game is handled very well. There is the
choice of companion characters, of course, as well as different dialogue
options you can choose from. There is the occasional dialogue tree,
often showing up in between missions when getting to know your
companions. However, most dialogue has you choosing between responses
you feel would best suit your character or the situation. Then, there
are the larger moral choices you will have to make, generally at the end
of each mission. None of them were easy to make, and I found myself
agonizing over several, weighing the repercussions of every outcome.
This was a definite highlight, and I appreciated each decision felt
wrong in some way. The decisions made along the way won’t be forgotten
and will have consequences later in the story.
The characters are all varied and interesting. Eli was the most well
developed of the companions and had the best arc of the group. Mandana
was also very interesting, and I wish her backstory could have been
explored more, as she has 400 years of history to draw from. Logan and
Vicki were less developed, but they were still well written and likable.
In fact, I would gladly play an entire game focused on any one of the
four on their own individual adventures.
Strangely enough, I found the player character the least interesting
of the cast. The fact that the character was unvoiced may have something
to do with this. I understand the reasons for the voiceless protagonist,
and it did help with a certain intriguing development later in the game.
However, it prevented me from feeling the same “bond” with the
character that I experienced with Rosa and Joey in the Blackwell series,
for example. On the other hand, there is the advantage of making the
character feel more like the player’s own due to the various choices
that can be made, so it’s something of a trade off.
The voice acting in the game is strong across the board. Several
actors are recognizable from previous Wadjet Eye games. The dialogue is
terrific, and one feature I really enjoyed was the inclusion of
conversations among the companion characters that would spontaneously
occur when changing screens or on the subway. The jazzy soundtrack
compliments the mood of the game beautifully. The backgrounds and
character portraits are stunning. This is the best looking Wadjet Eye
game yet. I especially enjoyed the different color themes in different
locations, some with red skies, some orange, pink or purple. They gave
each location a unique mood, ranging from noir to mystical to
Before playing the game, I wondered how the missions would serve the
story as a whole and whether or not they would feel too unrelated to one
another. I’m happy to say that it all flowed together beautifully, and
the story worked well as a cohesive whole. They also stand well enough
on their own that an individual mission could be played in one sitting
and the next could be picked up later. Both complete playthroughs took
around 12 hours each, and there is a lot of replay value. There are
multiple endings, and none will be closed to the player during the final
scene, so it’s easy enough to load that scene and check out the
Overall, Unavowed is Wadjet Eye’s most ambitious, well realized and
beautiful game yet. Highly recommended.