The Unspoken - PC / VR Review

The Unspoken is arguably the best example of how much fun a game on the Oculus Touch can be. With a little more single player content, this would easily be my favorite Rift title so far. As it stands, it is still highly entertaining and makes some of the best use of the Touch controllers so far.

Right out of the gates, there is an evident level of polish to The Unspoken that reminds you of the pedigree that Insomniac Studios has. Virtual Reality has prompted a lot of smaller development teams to churn out indie titles that try to tackle this new medium in creative ways, but there have not been a ton of big, highly polished titles coming out off AAA studios. Here Insomniac Games puts their experience to good use as they deliver a game with all of the things you look for: excellent audio design, engaging visuals and intuitive controls. I just wish there was a bit more content to it.

The premise behind The Unspoken is a pretty simple one. Your character's right hand winds up flaring up unexpectedly, giving an indication that they have access to some arcane magical power that they should should better control. A mysterious woman shows up in your apartment to explain that there is some sort of a supernatural police who would probably wipe you out for your reckless use of that power, but she decides to hide you for reasons never made incredibly clear. There is some cool premise here, sort of a hidden world of magic not unlike Harry Potter presents.

In fact, if you want to take the wizard dueling to all new levels, I suppose you could say the premise here is a sort of Harry Potter meets Fight Club, and if that sounds a little strange, that's because it kind of is. Once you get through the tutorial portion, your mysterious benefactor suggests that you remain hidden in your apartment with her minion keeping watch over you and practicing your skills in an underground arena against other arcane powered characters such as yourself. There is some nice progression in terms of learning new classes and powerful abilities along the way that can be unlocked, but at its core The Unspoken is basically a 1-on-1 magical combat game against other players or computer AI for practice.

I really do wish there was more story here, or some sort of a single player campaign where you could unlock more of the content. There are people playing online, but right now this is a new and shiny game for a device that has a somewhat limited installation base. Will anyone really be playing it in six months? I hope so, but few games that rely almost exclusively on their online modes have that kind of shelf life, which is a shame because The Unspoken is awesome.

I already touched on the visuals (pretty incredible), and the sound design (excellent and essential for survival in an action game with a first-person perspective like this), but the controls really make this an incredible experience. Your right hand is the fiery, aggressive one where you build up fireballs to hurl like fastballs at your opponent. Accuracy here really matters, and if you noddle arm it, your throw will loft and possibly be inaccurate as well. Your left hand is for defense, allowing you to craft a small, temporary shield to help block and deflect opposing attacks. The longer you pull the trigger on your right hand, the larger and more powerful the fireball becomes.

There are also powerful stones that can be picked up as you teleport from platform to platform (you use a teleportation system to move around the arena, no actual walking. This system does take a bit of getting used to, but it was similar enough to other shooters like Damage Core that I picked up on it pretty quickly. Bonus, no VR sickness at all here), adding a layer of strategy to the proceedings. One, you have to be on the move and also keep an eye out on your opponent as they move about the arena. Secondly these stones can be used to help trigger different kings of powerful attacks. Cross your arms over your body to charge it up and then spread them wide to create a powerful force barrier to protect you for a time. Put your hands in the middle of your chest and push out to create a single, slow but powerful flaming skull attack. Quickly zag your arms about and trigger smaller magical rockets that home in quickly on your opponent.

Adding even further depth to all of this is an on-the-fly crafting system. Early on the process is a simple one, with a few hammer strikes you are forging a javelin that can better pierce magical defenses than your typical fireball. Or you can unlock and build a golem that slowly marches forward to maul your opponent. But these more intricate attacks require some concentration and pull you out of the typical flow of attack and defend, making them quite the risk versus reward proposition that makes battles fast, furious and highly entertaining.

The production values here are outstanding, and the Oculus Touch really gets a chance to shine as this is a game that would simply not work nearly as well with a typical controller. The different stages have a grimy, grittiness to them that I really appreciated and complimented the music and sound for great overall production values. I just wish there was more meat to dive into here, as the premise around this sort of magical arena was interesting and it feels as though there is a whole world being built up around here so that this title could be expanded upon. Some more single player content could go a long ways towards that goal. The Unspoken is one of the best Oculus Touch games to date both in terms of entertainment and making the most out of the shiny new hardware.

Game Information

PC - Oculus Touch
Insomniac Games
Insomniac Games
Single Player
Online Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick

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