Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy review: Something special and hidden

Gather around the fire, rogue fans and rogolike lovers. In a moment of lofty folly, and perhaps arrogance, Unexplored 2 arrives in these lands to herald the benefits of novelty and digging into dungeons. This is the chonker of a roguelike RPG, where long-held assumptions about how the genre is designed are discarded, while others are strictly complied with. The designers of this colorful game rubbed their chins and decided to see what randomly generated tales of death would look like without two sacred cows: money and meters. Folks, it looks kind of good.

Before I get into what makes it look special, let me just get an idea of ​​what’s going on. You are a little guy on a mission to destroy an old stick. You have to walk your way into a deadly area called the first valley and find a big hammer where it can be destroyed. Moment by moment that means slowing from top to bottom through beautiful pockets of forest, desert, mountains, snow, badlands and swamps, which might fend off monsters. Then he wandered across the world map as an increasingly exhausted female.

The journey comes with small obstacles or encounters. You might get wet while traveling through a storm, and then become unable to stand the cold of the night. You might get lost and find your maple tossed sideways to another location entirely. These condition rates (cold, wet, exhausted, injured) accumulate and lower your level of hope. Which in the end threatens to permanently separate the pleasant passive bonuses that you created in your character at the beginning of the game (faster running speed, improved health complex, etc.). I plunged headlong into a lake to see what would happen, say, and then traveled through an autumn forest, making my fairy tale so cold and wet that it lost its high-level hope. In this case, extra luck on the “Lucky Tests” in the lucky undo style.

Fortune Quiz is basically a smart probability mini game that is developed with flavor text. Let’s say you come across an inscription on the stone but you can’t read it. A dialog box appears with a group of floating disks inside. You get limited chances to go fishing in this set of colored tokens until you come out a successful puppet, but you can also catch a failed ball. New tokens are added all the time, increasing (or decreasing) your chances of drawing the right green disc. This happens to all kinds of interactions, from picking out locks to convincing townspeople that you’re a decent frog person who definitely isn’t planning to kill them. When the game first explains the tabletop-inspired mini-game of chance, it sounds cumbersome (why not do a simple skill check?) but soon the process becomes second nature. It’s a neat and vibrant mini-game that somehow feels crunchier and more satisfying than rolling a regular-sided dice.

Where the “feel” of the game falters, to me, is the combat. And that’s something more of a taste than a definite fiasco for Unexplored 2. It’s a long way from the stabbing stumble I usually like. Put aside any ideas for smart sword play. It took hours to stop myself from trying to run or roll on instinct, so I was spoiled with RPGs like Tunic and Death’s Door. This has a similar perspective and style, so my idiot brain keeps trying to figure out where the hell is i frames.

They are not here. This is a fierce rogue messenger due to its three-dimensional shape. Attacking is a matter of slow and deliberate timing, to keep the pointer trained on the right opponent and clicking at just the right moment. The great sluggishness of the weapons governs that you may not pierce them lest they be cut, and most weapons are used to the best of their ability – recoil-effect swords, fire-sticks, and an armor-piercing pickaxe. Later, I used my bow to keep things at a distance, and made my peace with slower combat by being a jerk of a sniper.

As in all good roguelikes, your health bar becomes your economy, your personal GDP decorated in crimson red.

In many cases, fighting is a bad idea anyway. You don’t get much spoil from a kill, and it’s often better for you to sneak past with some light stealth, or talk your way out of a robbery with a lucky dip for short conversations. The real loot is hidden in vats at the bottom of damp dungeons, or after a few bewildering rooms in an abandoned temple. Or even in the pockets of a merchant in a neighboring town. With the combat being a bit grumpy, it’s smart in the game not to over-reward your fists. As in all good roguelikes, your health bar becomes your economy, your personal GDP decorated in crimson red. Why would you invest in a startup knife fight with four dangerous men when you could deposit into a savings account by sneaking in from behind?

Which brings me to what I like most about undiscovered money. Or rather, its complete absence. There are a lot of merchants, blacksmiths, alchemists, and healers, but they all trade on the barter system. A pair of scales weighs the value of items for each trader, and you basically have to stack things on this to see what you get. Like the look of that spear? Well, toss a ring, some shoes, and a bit of stale bread on the scale to see if the merchant will think it fair. number? All right, good trader. Take my shoes, why not? It’s not like I’m going to need shoes when I have a big spear, haha.

(You will need your shoes. Under no circumstances should you sell your shoes.)

I love this medium for bargaining. It’s not new to video games (the wave of envy over Pathologic) but it fits the roguelike format well. It forces you to think about what you truly value, make influential decisions about what you are willing to live without, and what opportunities you cannot afford to miss. Who knows when you’ll next see a fur-lined cloak that will keep you from getting cold in winter climates? Is this worth an axe? Likely to be. This is a stock RPG arrangement that encourages thinking in terms of conditions and real value, rather than approaching each shopkeeper with the mind of a banker’s abacus.

It’s not the only novel development that’s happening either. Roguelikes love it when you die. A common trick is to give you XP, new abilities, or some limited resources that cross your deadly gap, slowly making you stronger even with the frequent fervor of seasonal weeds. These principles aren’t completely ignored here (there are “old” items for example that you can keep from character to character) but Unexplored 2’s design doesn’t care much about inheritance and more about how the history layers themselves after each kick in the set.

When you die, years will pass and clans will falter, settle in new cities or be trampled upon by bandits. Meanwhile, the empire (the coal-black spot on the map and the good bad news) is spreading like the threat of an oil spill. All of this is executed in an in-between sequence, like Maple’s adorable little moves on the grand map. And then you go back to things, and build a new character to explore the same world. The only way your world could end (aside from clearing the save file to create a new one) is if you died in the last area. That tough final area is called Valley One. Eat dirt anywhere but Mordor, basically.

I think you’re now starting to see why Unexplored 2 feels a bit special. It may come as no surprise to those who followed Adam’s recommendation for the First Unexplored. But this time, those put off by minimalism will have to find a new excuse. Here it’s amazing stuff, alternating between complementary color palettes with each shift in the day and night cycle, tracing a well-defined ink line around the silhouettes (you may have seen a similar artistic trend in hoverbike ’em up Sable and in the future robotics manufacturer Mars First Logistics ).

It’s a pity that tall trees, rocks, and other things can block your view while exploring or talking to local strangers. You can hold the Shift key to change perspective but I’ve never found an ideal camera setting that balances a good overview with perfect clarity. I ended up switching between the different zoom options quite often. This may be the intended solution but I have a crap hand. Poor pinkie tensed.

It’s not my only complaint. Tradition is cumbersome, and eventually it all turns together into an amorphous mass of proc-gen nonsense (hope you like learning Fantasy Place Names) and there is a great deal of error. I couldn’t leave the area because there were invisible enemies nearby. I put an empty quiver in a jar in a dungeon, then took it out again, and refilled it with arrows. I couldn’t rest in a hostel because the game thought I was under attack so I could never sleep. I am willing to tolerate these things. A game of systemic depth is bound to have a lot of quirks. But it’s also been in early access to the Epic Games Store for a year now, so I also expected it to be a lot cleaner.

Regardless, there is great depth and brilliance in the design. I didn’t have time to mention half the cliched things. Unlockable character classes, caves full of traps, magical diversion of weapons, clan diplomacy… It’s a chonker, an RPG where the letter “R” stands for Rogue. At least you get another sweet tale creator. I had to run away from the angry farmers because I helped myself prepare the turnip without asking. I passed a couple of bandits lazing by the fire and they scolded me for not having food to steal, so I grabbed a bunch of padlocks from their bag and ran like a pungent goose. Who is worthless now, scum? not me.

You’ll likely have similar dust removals, of course, given the component parts of any procedural machine. But dynamically, Unexplored 2 makes the player feel adventurous and unique. Even when you have no money, no XP, and no shoes.

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