Unearthed: Episode One Review
Not all ‘games’ are born great.
Taking inspiration from popular video games is not a crime. In fact some of the best games this generation have been heavily inspired from the gems of the past. Take the example of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted. When it was first released back in 2007, many thought it was simply a rip off Lara Croft’s adventures in Tomb Raider. But eventually it became the PlayStation 3’s pinnacle franchise. That’s because Naughty Dog took the best elements from Tomb Raider and added some of their own magic to make a highly entertaining experience that spanned three games.
However some developers go overboard in terms of inspiration and forget the original vision for their games. Semanoor and its game Unearthed unfortunately fall in this bracket. When I first saw Unearthed about a year ago, I was intrigued due to being a big fan of games that involve exploring mystic places or looting for some ancient king’s treasure. That is primarily the reason why I got so involved with Uncharted 2 and the recently released Tomb Raider. But after playing through episode one of the game, I feel dejected, disappointed and to an extent, cheated.
Episodic content seems to be the norm these days. Last year’s The Walking Dead had five episodes but each of them were priced quite moderately compared to the amount of content they contained. The first episode of Unearthed lasts only a mere 60 minutes and retailing at $9.99 is a big no in my book. Half of the time you will be watchingcut-scenes or coming across some of the most awful hand-to-hand fighting mechanics ever conceived. Semanoor have implemented a fighting system where you will face your opponent in an arcade style camera. During this sequence,the controls are a joke and some of the buttons don’t even register. It’s a shame that this was a good idea but turned out to be such a mess.
The animations of the characters are torrid. While switching from cover to cover, the movement of the main character Faris was extremely unnatural. The combat in the game is decent and nothing out of this world. You take cover, pop out, fire and pop in again. Rinse and repeat. The game also has some stealth elements which were pretty well implemented but alas, lasting only 2 minutes. The game also features a sequence where you need to drive a vehicle and stay out of the way of police patrol. I was unable to control the vehicle due to unrealistic physics, which easily is the most frustrating set piece in the game. The enemies in the game have laughable AI and none of them will honestly be able to intimidate the player.
There are several puzzles in the game and all of them are absolutely lame. Some involved just kicking off pots to find hidden items or doing some basic platforming to pull levers. There was some promise in one of the puzzles where you have to use an RC car to get your way across, but that’s about it. This game is a major technical mess with absurd level design.
There was just one sequence which showcased the game’s potential. Faris needs to escape the desert with her sister driving the ATV, while the enemies and a helicopter chase you. This chase sequence is perhaps the game’s sole brightspot – and it ends too fast.The main characters in the game sound intriguing, and the very least, they help move the story forward.
Unearthed is an unsuccessful first attempt by Semanoor. If you’re going to blatantly rip off from a very popular franchise, at least it should be fun. From the terrible puzzles to the awful driving controls, Unearthed is a game that you should run away from.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
Good voice acting and music.
Animations are poor, bland graphics, fighting mechanics is horrible, and the game is a technical mess.
Semanoor’s Unearthed is a disappointment. The game does no justice to the action adventure genre. Unearthed shows a lot of promise at times and things can hopefully get better in the next episode.
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